In May 2016 1,148,716 Londoners voted to make Sadiq Khan Mayor of London. In line with his duties as mayor, he promised to fight crime, reduce strikes on TfL services and solve London’s housing crisis. One month later in June 1,513,232 Londoners voted to leave the EU. That means that 364,516 more Londoners voted to leave the EU than voted to make Sadiq Khan Mayor, enough people to constitute the second most populated borough in Greater London.
The duties bestowed on Sadiq Khan by the Greater London electorate are rather comprehensive, as you would expect for the mayor of the greatest city on earth, tasked with overseeing waste management, planning permission, TfL, fire and emergency planning, economic development and policing. Khan came into City Hall having promised 65.000 new homes built a year, building a Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf bridge, an end to strikes on TfL, completing Crossrail, “ensure the restoration of real neighbourhood policing” and “implementing a tough new knife crime strategy”.
Yet, none of this has happened. Not even one thing. We’re building a third of the houses London needs, less than the previous mayor was building, the new pedestrian bridge has been scrapped, TfL strikes are on the rise and Crossrail is embarrassingly over-budget and behind schedule, yet all of these pale in comparison to the tragic reality that 110 people have been murdered this year alone. the 22 months with the most violent crime in London in the last two decades happened since Khan was elected mayor, knife crime is at a record high of near 15,000 reported crimes and offences involving a knife have risen to 169 offences per 100.000 inhabitants, the highest in the country.
The sobering reality of these statistics, families without homes, commuters without proper infrastructure, young people without opportunities and hundreds being lost to knife crime, couldn’t be more paradoxical with what we hear and see from City Hall. Week in and week out, Sadiq Khan seems to be obsessed with one thing only: Brexit. He has written a dozen pieces in the Standard on the topic, he takes any opportunity he is presented with to wax lyrical about a second referendum and even broke his own rules on political campaigning on TfL to put up posters supporting a second referendum at Westminster station in March.
All this from a man who has a democratic mandate to deal with many things, none of which being Brexit. The most shameless example of this obsession (aside from the hours worth of avoiding questions on Mayor’s Question Time) is when on Sky News in March 2019, he rolled his eyes and said “I’ve done all I can” when grilled on knife crime, before launching into his responsibility to stop Brexit. Maybe there is hope though? With a crunch Saturday in the commons approaching, it seems like Brexit groundhog day is finally grinding to a halt – potentially putting an end to Sadiq’s Brexit neurosis.
I wouldn’t bet on it. Sadiq Khan has proven that his only concerns are his own political ambitions and that he will stop at nothing to pursue them. He’s hell-bent on becoming the leader of the Labour party and dragging them into a dark age of identity politics and the blame game. For the next decade Brexit will be his ammunition, be it deal, no deal or nothing at all. He will ensure to beat the metaphorical dead horse til its last drop of blood.
Fundamentally, Sadiq Khan places blame above accountability and in turn politics above the lives and livelihoods of Londoners. We can’t stand by as he continues to disregard Londoners, meaning we can’t stand by during the next London Mayoral Election. Discover the other candidates and register to vote, it’s your duty to this city as much as anyone else’s.