Is Sadiq Khan Mayor for all Lon­don­ers?

Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don’s poll re­leased found that Khan’s pop­u­lar­ity was at an all-time low. Ap­par­ently, ‘more peo­ple still thought he did a good job rather than a bad job over­all’.

The Sunday Guardian - - World -

As Labour in­tro­spect about their dis­ap­point­ing re­sults in last week’s lo­cal elec­tions, ob­servers can draw some con­clu­sions of their own— namely, that the brand of Marx­ist so­cial­ism cul­ti­vated by the Cor­byn team has no com­mit­ment from Labour vot­ers and that the en­demic anti-Semitism within Labour has taken its toll on the pop­u­lar­ity of the party. Per­haps it is time to ex­am­ine the per­for­mance of the cur­rent Lon­don Mayor, Sadiq Khan, the wannabe Labour leader in wait­ing, who has all but failed to de­liver his 2016 Lon­don man­i­festo.

Khan’s pri­or­ity was to tackle the hous­ing cri­sis. There are not suf­fi­cient af­ford­able homes for Lon­don’s fast-grow­ing pop­u­la­tion ( now scratch­ing 8.8 mil­lion). Khan points his fin­ger at de­vel­op­ers only con­struct­ing for the wealthy but his own record for com­plet­ing af­ford­able homes is not com­pet­i­tive with the pre­vi­ous Mayor. Ac­cord­ing to the Greater Lon­don Author­ity Hous­ing sta­tis­tics, only 6,833 af­ford­able and open mar­ket hous­ing was com­pleted be­tween April 2017 and March 2018 and 5,355 of these were clas­si­fied as af­ford­able, but Khan him­self has claimed that 66,000 homes are needed an­nu­ally and 65% need to be in the af­ford­able cat­e­gory. The Coun­cil tax in some Labour Bor­oughs is higher than the Coun­cil Tax in the neigh­bour­ing Con­ser­va­tive Bor­oughs.

Khan vowed to be probusi­ness and the green­est Mayor yet, to keep Lon­don Trans­port ef­fi­cient and af­ford­able and to keep Lon­don­ers safe whilst keep­ing Coun­cil Tax low. Khan’s cam­paign was that Lon­don was open for busi­ness. He told Bloomberg last month that 40% of the world’s com­pa­nies have their Euro­pean HQ in Lon­don. The GLA’s ap­pro­pri­ately trans­par­ent web­site has in­for­ma­tion about every­thing, the April Lon­don eco­nomic overview states: Busi­ness ac­tiv­ity growth at Lon­don pri­vate firms for March was lower than in Fe­bru­ary. Lon­don has seen the sharpest fall in an­nual house prices since the start of 2011 and Lon­don has reached the low­est un­em­ploy­ment rate in his­tory while em­ploy­ment grew by an an­nual rate of 3.4% in Lon­don and Lon­don’s an­nual out­put growth re­mained at 1.6%. So far so good for busi­ness, per­haps this is less to do with the Mayor than Lon­don’s con­ducive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

En­vi­ron­men­tally, the cur­rent Mayor is aim­ing for a 90% re­duc­tion in emis­sions, off­set­ting and car­bon cap­ture to reach “zero car­bon”. The re­sponse from the Lon­don As­sem­bly(LA) sug­gests that he has over­promised. Their con­cern is that by re­lax­ing the 60% tar­get to 52%, it im­plies an es­ti­mated 17 mil­lion tonnes of ex­tra car­bon could be emit­ted be­tween 2016 and 2025, and a fur­ther 46 mil­lion tonnes of ex­tra car­bon by 2050. Many ini­tia­tives re­gard­ing green in­fra­struc­ture, noise, waste and cli­mate change are wel­comed by the LA but only at con­cept stage, the devil is in the im­ple­men­ta­tion. The LA were dis­ap­pointed that the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion’s 25% tree cover tar­get has been re­duced to 22%.

Trans­port for Lon­don has ex­pe­ri­enced strikes in March and April and the frozen fare prom­ises only af­fected a small per­cent­age of pas­sen­gers while most of the other fares have in­creased.

Khan’s prom­ises to lower crime in the cap­i­tal and keep Lon­don­ers safe is where he has let Lon­don down most. Be­tween June 2016 and Fe­bru­ary 2018, crime is up 6.40% with 1,666,118 to­tal crimes in Lon­don and fig­ures rose again dur­ing March by 7.57%, com­pared to Fe­bru­ary 2018. Vi­o­lence against the per­son ac­count for ap­prox­i­mately one third of to­tal crime with 507,135 crimes listed on the Met Po­lice Crime Dash­board, with West­min­ster, Cam­den and Lam­beth be­ing the high spots.

The Stop and Search fig­ures for the past year zig zag be­tween ten and eleven thou­sand per month and Taser de­ploy­ments were up 8.65% in first quar­ter of 2017. Homi­cide is up +44% in the past 12 months, faith crime has risen +8.25% and fright­en­ingly +79.39% over the last month, Is­lam­o­pho­bia is up + 31.52% in past year and alarm­ingly +162.30% in the past month. Knife crime is up +21.17% with 1108 crimes listed in March 2018, re­sult­ing in 63 fa­tal­i­ties in Lon­don so far this year. In the year end­ing 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, in Lon­don and other met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas there was a dis­pro­por­tional in­crease of +22% in of­fences in­volv­ing knives or other sharp in­stru­ments and an 11% in­crease in firearms of­fences. The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice have a bud­get of £3Bil­lion, with a re­serve of £240 mil­lion and since the be­gin­ning of 2018 the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment have made avail­able a fur­ther £43 mil­lion, and yet acid at­tacks, knife and gun crime is in­creas­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ately in the cap­i­tal.

Khan is the most se­nior Labour elected fig­ure in UK, with the largest man­date. In 2017-18 and also in 2018-19 Khan ap­proved a bud­get of up to £1 mil­lion for mar­ket­ing and PR; in 2017 Khan vis­ited In­dia on his way to Pak­istan, mak­ing the most of op­tics at strate­gi­cally cho­sen lo­ca­tions, Am­rit­sar, Bol­ly­wood and Wa­gah but ac­com­plish­ing lit­tle in the way of sup­port in UK.

In 2015 he was one of the 35 MPs who placed Cor­byn on the bal­lot pa­per to lead the Labour Party and he fre­quently cam­paigns to re­main in the EU. Pre­vi­ously, the Mayor had op­posed Pres­i­dent Trump’s visit to Lon­don and even en­cour­aged protests, but this week Khan told the BBC he was happy to meet the Pres­i­dent and to in­tro­duce him to Lon­don’s di­ver­sity to show “it is pos­si­ble to be a Lon­doner, a Westerner and a Mus­lim. They are not mu­tu­ally in­com­pat­i­ble.”

The Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don’s poll re­leased on 1 May found that Khan’s pop­u­lar­ity was at an all­time low. Ap­par­ently, “more peo­ple still thought he did a good job rather than a bad job over­all”. When asked whether Khan was do­ing well or badly as Mayor of Lon­don, 52% said he was do­ing a good job, with 30% of Lon­don­ers be­liev­ing he was do­ing a bad job, a net score of +22. This was the low­est net score since he took of­fice in 2016. Pro­fes­sor Cow­ley added: “The Mayor still has the sort of sat­is­fac­tion rat­ings that most British politi­cians would kill for, but there is a clear de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in his stand­ing. When Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don first ran one of these sur­veys, in March 2017, he polled +35 sat­is­fac­tion, and was pos­i­tive with al­most ev­ery de­mo­graphic—even, nar­rowly, Con­ser­va­tive vot­ers. He is now clearly neg­a­tive with Con­ser­va­tive vot­ers (-32) and only marginally pos­i­tive (+5) with work­ing class Lon­don­ers.”

To be a Mayor for all Lon­don­ers Khan must de­liver the prom­ises and poli­cies that ben­e­fit all Lon­don­ers, re­gard­less of so­cio-eco­nomic back­ground and Leave or Re­main per­sua­sion. All Lon­don­ers need the same se­cu­rity, houses and re­li­able trans­port that they can af­ford, sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­men­tal goals and the ma­jor­ity would pro­mote an hon­est wel­come to the “Leader of the Free World”.

Sadiq Khan

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