Sadiq khan

Sadiq lets the mask slip

Sadiq Khan had a jolly old time this weekend. First, the £152,000-a-year mayor got to watch Liverpool beat Norwich for free at Anfield on Saturday. And then, hours later, he received another complimentary ticket to watch the boxing at the Manchester Arena, where his friend and namesake Amir Khan was battered by northerner Kell Brook.  But while all eyes were on the ring, Mr S couldn’t help but notice in the excitement that the London mayor had removed his face mask to watch the fight, despite being in a crowd of some 20,000 roaring boxing fans. Ticket-sellers had previously told those applying that ‘face masks must be worn throughout the performance’ – a

Dick’s departure is Sadiq Khan’s victory

Sadiq Khan forced Cressida Dick out of her job as Metropolitan Police chief. Both made that very clear this evening, with Dick saying ‘the mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue’, while Khan said he was ‘not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response’ to his ultimatum for changing the Met’s culture of misogyny, racism, homophobia and bullying. The Met is clearly an institutional basket case The Mayor of London has played a political blinder on this. Unlike Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has the ultimate authority on the appointment — and exit — of the Commissioner, he has been quick to respond to last week’s report which revealed

Sadiq’s £1.5 million damp squib

London politicians are no strangers to seeing fireworks. But this year’s annual New Year’s Eve shindig was a somewhat more muted affair than usual, after mayor Sadiq Khan ordered the last-minute cancellation of events in central London in response to a surge in the Omicron variant, despite the NYE celebrations being, er, almost entirely outdoors.  Those who wished to see the fireworks instead had to make do with watching the BBC’s coverage at home, featuring a dreadful, trite opening monologue over an army of drones spelling out the letters ‘NHS’. The announcement was yet another blow to the capital’s much-damaged industries, as Khan himself noted at the time, when he admitted

Why legalising cannabis is safer than decriminalising it

I hate weed. Week after week, I see the tragic effects of this substance and how it destroys the minds of the young. I work on a mental health ward which, like many around the country, is home to some of the victims of our current lackadaisical attitude towards cannabis. This drug is particularly dangerous to the developing brains of young people and yet we know that this age group are the most likely to be experimenting with it. Despite protestations from the powerful pro–cannabis lobby, it has been proved beyond doubt that cannabis use is associated with depression, anxiety, psychosis and avolition (poor motivation). A third of psychosis cases

Fact check: are Sadiq Khan’s vaccination claims right?

Sadiq Khan is always on the lookout for any way in to national debate, and this week he has been starting – quite rightly – to focus on the benefits of vaccination. But the key to doing this effectively is not to say stuff that’s not true. Here, he struggles. After the No. 10 press conference, he tweeted out one of Chris Whitty’s graphs claiming that ‘at all ages – the vast, vast majority of people hospitalised with Covid have not yet been vaccinated.’ But is this actually true? In a word: no. Vaccinations reduce your chances of hospitalisation by 88 per cent: they work. But the idea – popular on

Sadiq surrenders on face masks

Throughout the pandemic, Sadiq Khan has been positively evangelical on face-coverings. The Mayor of London has waxed lyrical about their virtues throughout the pandemic, declaring that: ‘my mask protects you, your mask protects me’ that ‘if we don’t wear masks, the virus will spread further’ and calling such face-coverings ‘the most unselfish thing you can do.’ Ahead of Boris Johnson’s July 19 unlocking, Khan attacked his decision to axe the legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport. Instead the Mayor insisted that wearing a mask remained ‘a condition of carriage’ for passengers using public transport in London, with some 500 enforcement officers patrolling the capital’s trains and buses to eject the

Who is – and isn’t – welcome in Sadiq Khan’s London?

Right-wing Frenchman Eric Zemmour, who is expected to run for the presidency of his country next year, has been designated persona non grata in London by the city’s mayor.  ‘Nobody who wants to divide our communities or incites hatred against people because of the colour of their skin or the god they worship is welcome in our city,’ said Sadiq Khan in response to a question about Zemmour’s presence in the capital. A noble declaration, one with which few would disagree, but rather incongruous coming from the mouth of Khan. For this is the man who waxed lyrical about Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour party conference in 2017.  A legacy of

Sadiq Khan no-platforms Eric Zemmour

As the race for the Elysée hots up, presidential candidates are busy courting voters and raising funds. And with Macron’s poll ratings flatlining in Paris, all eyes are on Eric Zemmour, the right-wing talkshow host who is still yet to declare but is nevertheless third in the polls. So Mr S was intrigued to learn that Zemmour plans to come to London this weekend in light of the capital’s considerable French contingent, with the metropolis often cited as the sixth biggest French city. Unfortunately Zemmour’s plans have run aground, with successive venues cancelling on the anti-establishment candidate in light of his controversial past statements — some of which have put him beyond the pale

Who owns the language?

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is giving local residents £25,000 grants to enable them to change the names of the roads in which they live. Some Londoners, I believe, find it uncomfortable to live in a street which has a name redolent of colonialism. Fair enough. I hope, though, that Sadiq will also give grants to right-wing white neighbourhoods of the capital so that the residents there can change the names of roads to make them more redolent of colonialism — such as Cecil Rhodes Avenue, or Zulus 0 British Army 5 Crescent. Or perhaps install a name which commemorates the mayor himself, such as Vacuous Dwarf Close. This

Our confusing voting system has cost me £25

Some 114,201 ballots were rejected in the first round of the London mayoral election, approximately 5 per cent of the total votes cast. This wasn’t because people were deliberately spoiling their ballots to protest about the fact that no one standing represented their views. After all, there were 20 candidates in the election encompassing a broad spectrum of opinion. No, it was because they didn’t understand the supplementary vote system, whereby you’re supposed to put a cross next to the candidate of your first choice and a cross next to your second. According to official figures, 87,214 of the spoilt ballots were discounted because people had voted for more than

Sadiq Khan’s victory is good news for the Tories

Sadiq Khan is here to stay. London’s mayor has suggested he wants to stay on until 2040. But is this really good news for Labour? Or might the Tories be quietly pleased that Khan beat Shaun Bailey? In the coming years, one of Khan’s tasks will be to go cap in hand to the government asking for money. Transport for London (TfL), which Khan is in charge of, is in dire financial straits. TfL is desperate for cash: its fare revenues have collapsed by 90 per cent since the pandemic took hold. Even as commuters start to return to offices, London’s transport network will need money to stay afloat. But when Khan inevitably comes

Boris should be ashamed of his treatment of Shaun Bailey

What with all the excitement about Hartlepool and the understandable fuss about Scotland, there’s one aspect of the elections that seems to have passed everyone by, and that’s the result of the mayoral contest in London.  You may have missed it: Sadiq Khan won, with 1.2 million votes. But the Tory candidate, Shaun Bailey, did really unexpectedly well, with 977,601 votes. In some constituencies in outer London, he beat Sadiq comfortably; in other central London areas, he ran him really close, leaving the most predictably metrosexual or Corbynite areas to give Sadiq his majority. So Bailey got not far off a million votes. Just think what he might have done

The London mayoralty needs to be reformed

Who does a capital city belong to? In the case of London tonight, one answer could be ‘Labour’, now that Sadiq Khan has claimed victory, as the party performs disastrously elsewhere. And clearly Khan’s strong support among the left-wing, the middle class, EU nationals (who are permitted to vote for the mayoralty), and some of the largest ethnic minority communities, shows that his chippy ID politics goes down well among enough residents of the capital to keep the keys to City Hall securely in his pocket. London’s decision to return Khan, when Labour is at such a low ebb, is a telling one Indeed, London’s decision to return Khan, when

London’s mayoral election is an embarrassment

Count Binface, a man who claims to be a 6,000-year-old ‘independent space warrior’, is running to be London mayor. In the normal run of things, this sort of joke candidate would get little to no attention – but the 2021 London mayoral contest is not your average election. In fact, it is potentially the worst election of any kind ever witnessed in a liberal democracy. Londoners, desperate for something that has been utterly lacking from all the major candidates, have scoured Binface’s manifesto and found that amongst the joke policies, there are some not half-bad ones in there. ‘No shop to be allowed to sell a croissant for more than

Berlin’s failed rent freeze offers a warning to Sadiq Khan

Berlin’s rent freeze, hailed by some as a potential model for London, is already coming to an end after less than two years. In its final ruling this week, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court struck down the rent freeze as unconstitutional. In this sorry saga, there are plenty of lessons for those who supported rent freezes in our capital – not least London’s mayor Sadiq Khan. The rent freeze was passed in June 2019, and took effect in February 2020. It froze nearly all rents across the city at their 2019-level, supposedly for a period of five years. It was hugely popular in Berlin, and attracted a lot of attention beyond.

Our mental health is going up in smoke

As we creep back into the open, as the Covid wards empty and the mental health clinics fill up, how are we going to tell what’s driven people crazy: lockdown, or what seems to have been a favourite lockdown hobby — smoking weed? Last week Sadiq Khan, London’s goblin mayor, announced that if re-elected he’ll set up a commission to look into the case for decriminalising cannabis. It’s not in Khan’s gift to decriminalise anything — Downing Street has already issued a response which amounted to: ‘Decriminalise dope? You must be high.’ But Khan doesn’t care. This isn’t about the policy, it’s about the posturing. The race for City Hall

Sadiq Khan’s cannabis stunt is typical of his empty gesture politics

Sadiq Khan’s decision to launch a commission looking into decriminalising cannabis is a perfect advert for his time as London mayor. It shows all too clearly that Khan values empty gesture politics over getting on with his day job. Don’t get me wrong: legalising cannabis seems a smart idea. It is, after all, a waste of police time and effort stopping the trade of drugs which are widely used and cause comparatively limited harm. But is it any of Khan’s business to focus on this issue? ‘It’s time for fresh ideas to reduce the harms drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities,’ said Khan this week. ‘If re-elected, I’ll establish a London

Sadiq Khan’s victory could be bad news for Labour

Let’s take a look into a political crystal ball: it is Friday 7 May and a beaming Sadiq Khan is being held aloft by delighted Labour supporters celebrating his remarkable achievement of being re-elected Mayor of London on the first ballot. For the first time ever the second preference votes do not need to be counted because of the diminutive Khan’s round one landslide. Most of Britain’s London-based political media decides that this is the big story to focus on. Labour party activists are happy to believe their party is on the way back and that Khan’s brand of chippy identity politics points the way ahead. The trouble is that

Are the Tories trying to trash their reputation in London?

Shaun Bailey pulled off an amazing trick this week: he managed to unite Twitter. Left and right, Tory and Labour, Remainer and Brexiteer, all piled into a wondrously crass post by the Tory London mayoral candidate: ‘As a father and husband it breaks me to think that my wife and daughter have to live in fear in their own city. It doesn’t have to be this way. As Mayor, I‘ll ensure that we are working to deliver for the safety of women and girls in London.’ The message would have been in poor taste no matter what the timing. After all, why make crime in London about himself and his family? But

The problem with renaming London’s streets

In Taksim Square, the busy central hub of Istanbul, a large, viril monument stands. In the centre is Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, the father of modern Turkey (although, perhaps not the contemporary one). When Attaturk came into power, he immediately set about changing the country from Empire to Nation. This meant progressive Western values, the alphabet; a dismissal, in some cases, a blanketing of the culture and customs before it. Almost by accident, this sparked a nostalgia for the Empire that is potent in today’s Turkey. In the hotel nearby, the Kurdish receptionist gets to work. ‘Did you see the monument?’ he says to me bleakly. I ask what he thinks