Samson Dada

Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’

Exclusive: Samson Dada talks to Tony Lloyd

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 at 11:33 am

International development is a very important issue that is close to your heart. Can the country realistically afford to set money aside for international aid when the country is in so much debt?

Obviously at a time of global financial crisis there will be pressure on all manner of spending but international aid is still vitally important. We know that we pay a much higher price in countries like Afghanistan when things go wrong and military intervention takes place. Development assistance is a long term cheaper option. We know that issues like climate change require everyone to play a role and that is why Britain must continue to for practical reasons as well as moral or humanitarian ones; to be a key supporter of international development.

Do you believe that a place like East Manchester that statistically has high levels of crime and unemployment can be seen as a place where people can get a good job and get onto the property ladder?

Many people in East Manchester do get on to the property ladder and work hard for themselves and their communities. Crime has been going down in East Manchester although unemployment is still a massive issue, particularly for younger people. But even in the present recession East Manchester is still a great place to live and will only get better as new institutions like the new secondary school come in to being.

One Advertiser reader commented “that some local councillors and you see no problems within East Manchester and everything including employment is rosy.” Has there been a serious acknowledgement of the seriousness of the recession among you, other councillors and Greater Manchester MPs, and that voters cannot be smooth talked about jobs being created when unemployment is so dire?

I don’t know where the quotation has come from and certainly never said anything like this myself. At a time of global recession, we know that unemployment will increase; and it has increased. The action that the government is taking has diminished the very worst impact of the global recession but not done away with the problems. The Work Guarantee that the government has announced includes a guaranteed offer of work or training for every 18-24 year old at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. The government will also fund 250,000 jobs in the public and private sector with more than 150 companies and organisations having already signed up. We need to make sure that we fight for existing jobs and create new ones. No one can pretend that it isn’t a serious issue.

A problem with the recession is that skilled workers have to take on unskilled work that does not make the most of their skills and qualifications. Does Manchester Central have enough skilled jobs to be competitive?

The centre of Manchester is the economic capital of the north of England with many skilled jobs. The future of the economy in Manchester and in the UK is not in long term unskilled jobs but in upskilling the work force.

Seen as the leaders who are setting lengthy emission targets will not be in office, or even alive, are these targets truly realistic?

Setting targets for 2050 is important to making long term and sustainable reductions in carbon emission and it is important that the UK is the first country to introduce the idea of a legally binding target. A target for 2050 is not a way of putting off changes but of making sure that they form part of a long term plan. The Climate Change Bill which the government has laid out contains not only a target for an eventual 80% reduction in emissions, but crucially a carbon budgeting system to set out the trajectory to 2050.

The Guardian newspaper revealed that up to 120 Labour MPs will step down at the next election. As one of your constituents, will Tony Lloyd be standing for Manchester Central at the next general election?

I will be standing for re-election in Manchester Central at the next general election.

Do you have any ambitions to become a minister again?

I have never had particular ambitions for office apart from doing my best for the people of Manchester and the country.

Are you one of the more rowdy MPs in the chamber who likes to shout ‘Hear, Hear’? Who are some of the more rowdy MPs in the chamber, or what party has the more rowdy MPs?

I don’t tend to take part in the parliamentary noise!

Can you give me a sense of how a Labour Parliamentary Party meeting works and how it feels to chair the party?

Obviously meetings of the PLP are by its very nature private but they do vary enormously. Given the great variety of issues, they can sometimes get heated but it is always a great privilege to chair a meeting of the Parliamentary Party.

Do you tend to send the odd ‘tweet’ during sessions in the chamber like some of your colleagues?

No I can’t say that I’ve ever used Twitter in the chamber!

How did you spend your summer recess?

Most of the time I was working in the constituency but I had a short holiday.

Are you a football fan? What are your views on Manchester City’s spending this summer?

I am a lifelong Manchester United fan although I have always wanted to see Manchester teams do well. United have always been regarded as a rich club and certainly can’t cry foul when Manchester City spend. For all of us however, maybe football today is taking leave of reality for normal people with the ridiculous sums of money involved.


Exclusive: Samson Dada talks to Nick Clegg

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

What does Nick Clegg plan to read this summer?

I’ve got a few books in my suitcase. I’ve got Gilead by Margaret Robinson that lots of family and friends have recommended. A bit of political reading too – The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. And I’m hoping to get the chance to re-read The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, one of my favourite books of all time.

Do you think England can regain the Ashes?

The less said about Headingley the better, but I still believe that the team that played so well earlier this summer can regain the Ashes at the Oval. Having Freddie Flintoff back in the team will certainly help!

Apart from Vince Cable, who likes to dance in your cabinet?

I’ve seen a few of them shaking their stuff on the dance floor at party conference!

Will you be committing the party to any new policies at the Liberal Democrat conference?

It’s a democratic forum, and I can’t be certain what will or won’t be voted through – but I hope we’ll be passing a lot of important new policies. We’ll be looking at ways to protect consumers from greedy banks and businesses, at generating electricity from tidal energy and at protecting our civil liberties. There will also be policies on stopping MPs abusing their expenses, improving our rail network and better supporting our armed forces.

In no more than 140 characters, what are your thoughts on MPs who ‘tweet’ during sessions in the House of Commons?

Prefer to concentrate on the debate. Twitter better when you’re out and about. Parliament’s on TV if people want to know what’s happening.

Was there a period and any issues during the year when you thought “Yes, my party was at its highest point”?

Actually, I feel more than ever that we’re continuing on the way up. There have been highlights in the last few months – winning citizenship rights for the Gurkhas, standing up against the abuse of expenses, speaking out for our troops in Afghanistan. At every step, more and more people are seeing something in the Liberal Democrats they believe in, and supporting us. And I see that trend continuing all through the year until the General Election.

What is your response to Gordon Brown’s continued mantra in PMQs that the Liberal Democrats have no policy for jobs, no policy for growth and no policy for housing.” Is this the case and is the Prime Minister telling the truth when he says this?

The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a clear plan to get British people back to work, rebuild the economy and build the homes people need – because we’re the only ones ready to do things differently, moving away from the mistakes that got us into this mess. We want an economy that’s not just centred in London and financial services, but strong throughout the country. And we want to build growth and jobs out of going green, so we can stop dangerous climate change.

Out of Labour and the Conservatives, which party is closer to the ideals and values of the Liberal Democrats?

I think they’re closer to each other! Both are fundamentally parties of the establishment who won’t change anything fundamental about the way our country works and that’s why nothing ever really changes when they’re in government. Liberal Democrats are different – we want a fresh start, a better way of doing things and an end to the same old mistakes.

Why are the Liberal Democrats opposed to renewing Trident when this will send people to work? Fewer people will be on unemployment benefits are less likely to suffer from mental health illnesses such as depression that your party have highlighted as being one of the effects of the recession on the unemployed.

We do not need the comprehensive Trident nuclear weapons system to protect Britain – and at a cost of up to £100bn, it is far too expensive for our needs. The government should make strategic defence decisions on the basis of protecting the country, not to make jobs for people. A far better way to create jobs for unemployed people is to invest in building new homes and renewable energy, so that we can build a new, green economy. That’s a better and more sustainable solution.

Do you believe we will still be in Afghanistan in 10, 15 or 20 years?

We could be if we don’t sort out the political strategy for building up the Afghan government, police and army. That’s why I’ve been so outspoken in arguing for better coordination between international forces, governments and aid agencies, so that the work our troops do leads to long-lasting peace. If we are to stop Afghanistan from being a haven for terrorism and drug traffickers, all nations need to work together.

Do you get a lot of young people visiting your surgeries?

I get a whole mix of people with all sorts of questions and problems. It’s a great way to really keep in touch with what matters to people, and often help get their issues sorted out, too. Sheffield has two big universities, so I often meet a lot of students locally, in particular.

Many teenagers, including me will be voting for the first time, in a general election that carries huge importance for the future of this country? How can Nick Clegg ‘get down with the kids’?

I’m in my early 40s, and I don’t think it’s any use pretending otherwise. And I think it’s pretty patronising to teenagers when politicians or whoever try to be ‘cool’, as if teenagers don’t have the intellect or capacity to engage with them on adult terms. I spend a lot of time out and about in the country, and my favourite thing to do is hold an open forum meeting where people can ask me any question they like. Some of the best discussions have been when we’ve done these public meetings at schools or colleges and got young people along. It’s corny to say, but young people are the country’s future and I think engaging with them is one of the most important things I can do – and that means taking people seriously, not trying to be “down with the kids!”