David Lammy says Twitter is too sneering of the working class – ‘It’s really s*** to be honest’

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2 min read

Watch: David Lammy says writing book was 'therapy' amid death threats and abuse

Shadow minister David Lammy has said Twitter is too sneering of working-class people – and that it favours people “who have got lots of degrees”.

Labour MP Lammy, speaking to Yahoo UK’s White Wine Question Time podcast, also rounded on “cancel culture” as a reason why the social media platform can be “really s***”.

The Tottenham MP has received vile racist abuse and death threats on the medium, and despite being a prolific tweeter – he has posted more than 22,000 times in the past 12 years – he told host Kate Thornton he wouldn’t use the platform if he wasn’t an MP.

“It’s a great way of communicating with your constituents and to some extent the Westminster village,” he said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Labour politician David Lammy arrives at Number 10 Downing Street on April 1, 2019 in London, England. British Prime Minister Theresa May hosts summit on knife crime in Downing Street with community leaders, politicians and senior officials today. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
David Lammy (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

“But it’s toxic. Really, if I lived a different kind of life, I would never be on it. I just wouldn’t be interested.”

He went on: “I hate the prejudice. I really mean this, I hate it. I grew up working-class in Tottenham.

“I am very proud of my parents, my mother – she didn’t go to university or anything like that – who raised me. The folk, white and Black, who I grew up with. I’m blessed in some ways to have gone to university, got two degrees, got to Harvard Law School.

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“But I hate the way that these mediums really sneer at working-class people sometimes. They favour folk who have got lots of degrees.

“Cancel culture is a bit that. You jump all over someone because they’ve made one mistake and it makes you feel empowered at that moment. It’s really s*** to be honest.”

Earlier this year, Lammy released a book, Tribes, about tribalism and division in British politics and society.

Referring to the abuse and threats he has received, Lammy said writing the book provided “therapy”.

“You just have to look at some of the things that are said after the tweets that I write, and in which for the first time in my life, in a really profound way, people were saying: ‘Why do you hate Britain so much?’ Questioning not just my Britishness but my Englishness.

“So writing about this new tribalism in our society was therapy. It was sort of soul food for me.”