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“ 14


LIVE 24-SEVEN ANGER FOR ME IS LIKE ROCKET FUEL. FEAR SIMILARLY


DRIVES ME TO DARE TO KEEP GOING. PEOPLE OFTEN HAVE THEIR PRESENTATIONS OF ANGER USED AGAINST THEM BY POWERFUL GROUPS, INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS


every interview took place in an office or in a person’s home and the thing that was compelling about each of them was how ordinary they were. These brilliant people who had done amazing things were all just like any member of the public. Some of the things we talked about were difficult and painful and there were tears shed a number of times by me and them, but mostly when I listen back, we are laughing a lot and enjoying each other’s company. There was a lot of swearing, which you might expect when you ask people to talk about taking on powerful people. Since finishing writing the book I have listened a few times to the recordings; I find them very comforting.


Despite your own experience, did you learn from them and if so, what was the most important thing you learnt? I learnt a huge amount. I learnt that even for these amazing people they still very much felt part of a hierarchy that still controlled them in certain ways. I learned that for these people their job is never done. We might think that they have won the argument, fought their corner, but in fact it just gave them fuel to move on to the next thing, to making their change bigger, better able to help more people. I learnt about how lonely it can be if you embark on a big challenge without my fancy job title and how no one can truly achieve anything on their own.


'7 ways to call time on B.S.' – quite a strapline for your Truth To Power book, and you'll forgive me (I hope) for saying that it isn't particularly a line one would associate with MPs in general? Your book helps deliver tools to people who want to stand up to powerful people in their life, be it a boss, colleague etc. – what inspired Truth To Power? I was inspired to write the book by the thousands of people who contact me every year and say, “I want to do something to make the world better, but I don’t know what I can do.” We live in difficult times, people are activated by the fear of division and the rise of hatred, but they feel helpless to know where to start. People also don’t realise how powerful they are and how they can use that power. I wanted to help people realise that they can stand up and be counted.


You've spoken to some interesting people featured in the book, from a Grenfell survivor to Harvey Weinstein's PA; how did you find listening to their very emotive experiences and their methods for taking control? I found it to be truly inspiring, but not in a big grand way. Each and


People from the Midlands – and indeed further afield – will have seen you more recently standing up to angry protesters of same-sex education outside a school. How important is anger or frustration as a tool to standing up for something you believe in? Anger for me is like rocket fuel. Fear similarly drives me to dare to keep going. People often have their presentations of anger used against them by powerful groups, individuals and organisations. We are told that we are difficult to work with, or too emotional, as if showing real human emotion is a sin in a professional world. In any cause the thing people will be inspired by is the thing that they can recognise in themselves, everyone feels angry and desperate at times, so when they see someone else feeling it, they instantly understand it. My anger, although it sometimes can overload me, is pretty much the reason I get up each day.


There must be numerous times in your life, many of which could be in Parliament, when you just want to say,”Cut to the chase, quit the BS” as your strap line suggests; do you think at times being an MP might give you power, but also take it away? Yes indeed, my god sometimes the bureaucracy or the protocols in parliament drive me as mad as the problems themselves. I hate that the language excludes 90% of the population. I have learned not to let it get in the way and to just speak as I would speak, sometimes I get


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INTERVI EW J E S S PHI L L IPS MP





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