Lord Alli talks about equality and politics
"A lot of business people don't really
succeed in politics, they play about with it,
they have a pretty bad time,
but I've managed to work quite well
balancing both business and politics
- touch wood -
and part of that is that grounding in
understanding the political arena
from a very young age, and it is one
of the most important things
that happened to me at school.
It was not what I learned,
but it was those moments when I decided
I was going to be part of that
And so if you can see that one moment
in time, being at school in Norbury
and joining that School's Council led me
into a political life that I would ever have
ever thought of before.
Growing up in London and growing up
in Norbury, under a Conservative
government, made you much more
political than I think I would
have been otherwise.
Because you had Norman Tebbitt,
again who's here, who I speak to now,
who was talking about
voluntary repatriation, and you felt
if you were black, if you were gay,
there was no place for you in the
Conservative party, there was
no place for you in society
because they were in government.
And it did inform my politics
from then on in, and I remember
it gives you a passion, a different kind
of passion. And the thing which I found
most interesting is, at the time,
people were much more accepting of
my race than my sexuality.
And that took a lot more work.
It wasn't until I go much more politically
confident that I felt able to talk about
That confidence comes from being in
those forums where you can
challenge people, you learn to
challenge them about race,
and once you've challenge them
about race you can talk about sexuality.
But that was a two tiered,
a two speed process.
What was really interesting is that
the Council, and I think it must have
been a Conservative Council at the time,
the Council created a safe haven
within that process that allowed people
to talk about that,
and I thought that was pretty impressive
for the time".