Last week, David Lammy announced that he will enter the race to become the Labour mayoral candidate for the 2016 elections. If he is successful, he will run against Boris Johnson to try to secure a position as mayor.
Lammy bases many of his policies on his own experiences, and channels them into creating, what he sees as a better society.
He was instrumental in examining the causes and effects of the 2011 riots in London. His book, “Out of the Ashes,” explains the riots as a product of political failings that left a class of people living in poor circumstances, which gave them few opportunities, and resulted in many turning to crime in such a manner. He highlights the self-centred attitudes and greed of many that meant that whole communities were left to fail.
Many of Lammy’s policies focus on changing this situation. He is trying to give opportunities to young people to provide them with responsibility and lead them away from criminal behaviour.
Lammy calls for an end to job centres as they do very little to help young people into employment. Instead he suggests a more personalised system which helps the unemployed find jobs suited to them - sustainable jobs that will not result in a loss of talent.
He also slated the government’s claim of an increase in apprenticeships, saying that this was merely a conversion of some jobs, aimed at the over-25s, into apprenticeships. His intention is to make sure that young people are able to find jobs that are suited to their talents so that we are not left with a generation of unemployed or under-utilised young people.
Upon announcement of his decision to run for Mayor, Lammy declared that he would work to provide better training and facilities for young people, to help them into work. He lamented the cost of university and vowed to introduce alternative routes for young people.
Recently, Lammy has addressed the cuts to mental health facilities and the impact that this has on services. Writing in the Sunday Express, he highlighted the metal illness epidemic that is creeping through the country and demanded change to be made to stop it.
He launched a commission in London to understand further why the services are failing so many, which is causing huge human and economic cost. He will work with Mind, Young Minds, The Health organisation, and other charities and trusts, to failings.
Lammy is also trying to change the attitudes and policies relating to paternity leave, claiming that both the economy and families are being damaged by the outdated gender stereotypes. He states that paternity leave should be encouraged, as it is in countries such as Denmark, to allow greater gender equality in the workplace and to give fathers the chance to have stronger relationships with their children.
This policy relates to Lammy’s own experiences of his childhood, where his father was absent from a young age, and he was brought up without a father figure.
It is likely that he may try to get rid of the shared parental leave as he suggests that it is simply transferrable maternity leave and will not result in greater interaction between a child and their parents.
Lammy’s policies demonstrate a mayor who is looking towards the future of London. He focuses on what he can do to improve the situation of young people and to avoid the social disparities which have been growing for a long time.