Seemingly against all odds Labour Mayoral Candidate Sadiq Khan won in 2016. Now I’m not a Labour supporter but I’m not hostile to Corbyn’s Labour either and I’m very pleased that Sadiq won and here’s why:
My ideal choice would have been Sian Berry but I’m not from London, thankfully Sian is now part of the London assembly and will no doubt do great work for the city. In the run up to the elections, most commentators favoured either Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith to become the mayor. I’m glad Sadiq won because he was up against a nasty racist smear campaign headed by the Prime Minister himself. David Cameron didn’t just approve of Zac Goldsmith’s horrific ‘dog whistle’ tactics, he verbally endorsed them by adding his own rhetoric. He called Sadiq an ‘IS supporter’
But in the end, this unprecedented smear campaign had no effect. The people of London voted progressively. They probably didn’t want any more of the gentrification which has priced out and uprooted Londoners under Boris Johnson. Lets face it, the Tories are made up of wealthy self serving private businessmen, Sadiq is the son of an immigrant, one of 7 brothers who made it to the top through hard work.
Certain questions hang over the new mayor. Many are questioning his political stance. Does he support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or is he a follower of former leader Tony Blair? I reserve judgement bearing in mind the struggles Sadiq will face from populist media, the political opposition and far right groups. Already Facebook & Twitter is filling up with accusations that the mayor will ‘open the floodgate for immigrants/Muslims’ Here Sadiq would do well to follow in the footsteps of Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn has faced a constant stream of media abuse since his leadership began yet continues to win us over through his words and actions. The Labour leader has successfully forced U turns on a number of unpopular Torie policies such as cuts to tax credits and turning the UK’s schools into academies. If Sadiq does the same, the slander and hate baiting won’t touch him.
It’s a delicate balancing act being the representative of a hugely multicultural city like London. To accommodate the wishes of many different communities won’t be easy but as a former human rights lawyer, I hope Sadiq will do his utmost. Ultimately it’s up to the people of London to hold him to account and make sure he does not fall short of his pre election promises. In the end, only time will tell if London voted for the right man.