Tottenham Carnival Launched
MINISTER for Culture, David Lammy MP, gave a rousing speech at the launch of the Tottenham Carnival 2007 and spoke of its ability to bring the community closer together and overcome the "deep problems" which face the inner cities.
Mr Lammy, MP for Tottenham, appeared briefly at the event at College of North East London, leaving after 10 minutes to do an interview with the BBC to discuss the shootings of young men which have rocked parts of south London. 80,000 people are expected to visit this year's Tottenham Carnival
He told an audience: "It is really very wonderful to be here with you, but I have to go and speak on a difficult and tragic matter and speak on how do we solve some of the really deep problems of the inner city.
"One of the ways is community. It is a fivepronged thing. Education and aspiration, another is quality parenting. People need employments and I think the fifth prong is community. What is the Tottenham Carnival about? It's about the community, it is about culture, aspiration and celebration. "There is a moment in time every year towards the end of June, when the whole of Tottenham comes together and there is a wonderful spirit that infects the street. That is why, every year I have been MP, and every year I will be MP, I will support the Tottenham Carnival."
This year's carnival, on Saturday, June 23, will cost £60,000 to put on and is expected to attract up to 80,000 people as its reputation spreads. This year's theme is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, and Mr Lammy said that carnivals the world over were used to express triumph over adversity.
He said: "As a young black MP I am asked to speak to the 'angry young men'. They are from all sorts of backgrounds and races. When I speak to them I hear this thing 'Britain is a fair and tolerant society'. Where does that come from? If it comes from anything, it comes from our history and the abolition of the slave trade "It is why we say no to racism and discrimination today.
"When we get together for carnival it is a tradition coming out from the Caribbean and from Brazil - it is one of the ways people overcame... they overcame with a spirit of hope. They celebrated with colour, beauty and dance. They triumphed and they survived."
Mr Lammy said, The launch party also showcased a number of groups who will appear at the carnival, including Kids Ahead, The Green School a capella singers and Exquisite All Stars cheerleaders. Harry Tongue, 83, Tottenham's original pearly king, also joined in at the launch.