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London has become a vanity project Like every Mayor before him, Sadiq Khan views the city as his stage

London is his stage. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

London is his stage. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


April 30, 2021   4 mins

The most tedious thing about next week’s London Mayoral election isn’t the depressingly low calibre of the candidates. It isn’t even the overwhelming likelihood that Sadiq Khan will be re-elected. No, the most tedious thing is the fact that it needn’t have to take place at all.

In 1998, voters in the capital were given a referendum on whether or not we wanted to have a Mayor of London. It was the first time I voted — and I was delighted to be in the distinct minority of people who said “no”.

But we lost, and we lost bad. We made up just 28% of the vote, among a measly total turnout of just 34%. And yet, given the opportunity again, I would vote the same again.

Back then, the likely candidates to lead the nation’s capital ranged from Jeffrey Archer to Ken Livingstone. It did not require a clairvoyant to know where this was heading. In the end Jeffrey Archer went to prison and Ken Livingstone did not. So Ken Livingstone became Mayor.

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Two embarrassing terms later, it soon became clear that the trouble with City Hall lay in the same problem that distinguishes all superfluous offices in government. People always equate expanding layers of government with increasing accountability; but the truth is that the more there are, the harder it is to hold people to account.

During Livingstone’s reign, for example, whenever the underground service ground to a halt there was always a fight over whether he was responsible or not. It was the same with every budgetary issue.

And yet, somehow, the most memorable feature of Livingstone’s time in office was the way he managed to impose his own outlandish foreign policies on his fiefdom. For example, while Westminster looked somewhat askance at Hugo Chavez’s regime as it set about crashing Venezuela, Livingstone made special alliances with it. Similarly, while the Government was distinctly pro-Washington, the Mayor of London, by contrast, was not; when President Bush visited the capital in 2003, Livingstone declined to meet him and denounced his arrival by calling him “the greatest threat to life on this planet that we’ve probably ever seen”.

Now the reason I believe it’s worth returning to Livingston isn’t to justify my vote in 1998, but merely to point out that the problems at the heart of London’s mayoralty are endemic. The powers that come with the position are too unclear — or have, at the very least, the potential to be made unclear. And then there is a more obvious pitfall: that the position attracts  — possibly requires — figures who believe that London is merely a stage to stand on; a means to project themselves on to the wider world.

To that extent, the problems of Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty are no different from those of his predecessors. Just like those before him, Khan has been able to jump from one photo op to another, looking the other way as his city burns.

For instance, take crime in the capital. Under Khan, knife crime in London has remained at near-record levels, while rape prosecutions have slumped. But whenever the mayor is challenged on these issues, he avoids taking responsibility for them, preferring instead to prevaricate over “institutional racism” or talk about how London’s crime wave is caused by cuts ordered by Whitehall. The message is clear: it’s not my problem.

Like Livingstone before him, Khan has also decided that he can make up for what he lacks in actual power with narcissistic grandstanding. His time in City Hall has coincided with a number of major events on the national and international stage, into all of which he has tried to interject himself.

When, for example, the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, Khan didn’t seem to care that it was a national plebiscite — or that 40% of Londoners voted for Brexit. Instead, he sought to weaponise the result, using it as an opportunity to present London as distinct from the rest of the backward country. He continued to parade the EU flag at every opportunity, up to and including turning the city’s 2018/19 New Year’s Eve celebrations into a tribute to Brussels.

Emulating Livingstone, Mayor Khan has even tried to make political capital by opposing an American President. In fact, he arguably took things one step further during President Trump’s visit to the UK in 2019; before the President had even touched down at Heathrow, Khan fired off a newspaper article comparing him to the “fascists of the 20th century”.

Yet there are, of course, no prizes for guessing which of Khan or Trump went on to establish a totalitarian-sounding “Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm”. Put to one side the fact that one of the activists hired by Khan to review London’s landmarks was sacked within a fortnight for being anti-Semitic; far more striking was the decision of the Mayor’s office to announce the findings of the Commission in advance — a move seemingly taken straight from the Stalinist playbook.

Naturally, it is easy to scoff at such a fatuous approach to politics. But dismissing Khan in this way forgets that while he has busied himself with his “progressive” agenda, it has all been at the expense of addressing the genuine political issues that concern his constituents. Public transport in London has never been more expensive or inadequate — a reality made all the worse by the introduction of a new Green “ultra low emissions zone” that has made car-travel eye-wateringly expensive. Meanwhile house-building, which is so badly needed to address the shortage of affordable property, has actually gone down since he assumed office.

So what has Mayor Khan done? Well, one part of the Mayor’s budget has rocketed enormously: his PR budget, which has risen by a third since he took office. And perhaps Khan’s lead in the polls justifies the spend; it certainly seems to confirm the fact that, even if you do nothing very well, you can still succeed by spending on self-promotion. Either way, it’s a grim sign for the future of democracy in the capital, and a late — if pointless — vindication of the 28% who saw this coming over 20 years ago.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Sue Julians
Sue Julians
2 years ago

It’s depressing how poor the choice is. Kahn has behaved like a public sector unionist throughout Covid, when public sector workers have been amongst the most privileged. Where was his campaign for small businesses who have had very little support? (Andy Burnham managed it.) In fact he extended congestion zone hours instead.
And where was his campaign for low paid workers who couldn’t afford to isolate and so avoided being tested? Disproportionately BAME too, you’d have thought the one in 7 of his staff who are diversity officers may have had something to say about that.
All i saw of him was his support of restrictions, and of tube workers and the NHS. Is the NHS even under his remit?
He made his allegiances very clear, and they are not in support of the vast majority of Londoners.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

Khan is very cunning. He is a Trojan Horse for Islam using the naive Labour platform just like Lutfer Rahman.

Last edited 2 years ago by Clem Alford
John Smith
John Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Well Lutfur Rahman was removed from office for election fraud and banned for running for office for five years. Why only five is beyond me as perverting the course of justice carries a maximum penalty of life; I would have thought that perverting the course of democracy would be an equally serious crime. In any case his ban is soon up and it looks like he is going to run again, which frankly is disgraceful.

Liam Purcell
LP
Liam Purcell
2 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

If Lutfur had White working class as his ethnicity he would be applying for parole in 2070

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam Purcell

Working class isn’t an ethnicity

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Neither is muslim

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

Yes what is the matter with London and frankly the UK with PC bowing down to these frauds. They must be laughing at us and all the way to the bank with taxpayers’ money.
Maybe that is the etymology of the word ‘dhimmi’ who pays the jizya tax to Islam.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

except All opposition United to dump & Give Court evidence Versus Rahman..

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Yes but was there any outcome. He is back again with his gangster Muslim mates. Criticise and you are branded racist. I don’t care the man is a ‘chutia’. If he did that in Bangladesh that is what he would be called but probably that’s all as he would have bribed the authorities and the police!

David Mallinson
David Mallinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Agree absolutely. And his goal is to be the first Muslim PM. You can be certain of that. A good springboard is ‘Kandahar on Thames’ of course.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago

I must remember that ‘Kandahar on Thames’. I will add it to my Londonistan vocabulary.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

GLA is a Blair sop to EU regionalism..needs abolishing…especially since 2016 we left EU..Khan merely poisons Capital Politics .when he’s Not hiding .he is responsible for Bankrupting London Transport, Turning London into Murder capital since his 2016 Mayoralty…..

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

He never even visited Camden when it had the highest black on black knifing in London.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Sir Kneel starmer Constituency!

Peter Dunn
PD
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

The whole mayoral thing AND the RDAs are an EU smoke&mirrors idea..with tricksters within in enabling roles..

Peter Dunn
PD
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Ps..Regional Development Agencies.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

I agree with you but you left out the narcissist in between Livingston and Khan.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Yes – good article but BoJo missing is conspicuous.

David Boulding
David Boulding
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Knife crime was cut by 50% under BoJo. Perhaps he ought to have been mentioned.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Interesting – did not know this thanks.

Clem Alford
CA
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Khan doesn’t care about the black-on-black knife crime. South Asians don’t get along with the black communities. Cultural differences. Camden (Starmer’s constituency) has the highest rate of knife crime in London.

Last edited 2 years ago by Clem Alford
Jonathan da Silva
JS
Jonathan da Silva
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

London has one of the lower rates of growth of knife crime but I bet you know that?

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago

Not in Camden, Starmer’s borough. See the Camden New Journal local free paper. It had regular front-page reports and even had a big march through Camden by the parents and worried citizens, to try to get the authorities and Mayor Khan to do something about it.
Did you know that?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Ironic ”Camden New Journal” Founded by A Communist who died a fortnight ago..

Clem Alford
CA
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Yes that’s right. I knew him quite well. Lived in China for a few years. Had a Chinese wife. The community adored him.

Last edited 2 years ago by Clem Alford
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

So now a person who thinks it the responsibility of an MP to reduce knife crime in his constituency

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Well it bloody well is. He is elected to represent his constituents. If he doesn’t then abolish the post and save us money.
Starmer is a career politician who did nothing about the Pakistani Muslim rape gangs in Rothrham, Oldham and elsewhere while he was Director of CPS. He knew about Savile also but used some flimsy excuse of not enough evidence.

Last edited 2 years ago by Clem Alford
J A Thompson
J A Thompson
2 years ago

Is that because it is so bad further growth looks small by comparison?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago

You are A Nutjob..two Teens murdered last weekend….Stop& Search necessary ..

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago

So thats ok then?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Ethnic minorities are the most prolific racists. They hate each other as much as they hate Whitey.

zac chang
zac chang
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

YOU Jon Redman are a prolific racist.

David Mallinson
David Mallinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Spot on! Indians and Pakistanis hate each other, Bangladeshis hate them both and all three hate the blacks.

J A Thompson
JT
J A Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

No-one who is shouting about the plight of black people is interested in the problems some of them (not all by any means) cause for themselves.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

Agreed.

Jonathan da Silva
JS
Jonathan da Silva
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

It’s been rising across the UK and faster than in London and as even the writer alludes to whether this is a facet of the Mayor’s purview is a question. Nice try BTW.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fcommonslibrary.parliament.uk%2Fresearch-briefings%2Fsn04304%2F&psig=AOvVaw1r9GlEgyMxFA-XX5WO9CX6&ust=1619873096752000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCLjrkdX_pfACFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
2 years ago

I read your link. Did you notice that the stats for Greater Manchester had to be omitted due to undercounting by the corrupt GMP, for which Andy Burnham is of course responsible?
Knife crime isn’t really rising “across the country”. Many parts of the country have very low knife crime. It’s rising in the urban areas with Labour Mayors.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/06/birminghams-knife-problem-the-city-has-become-unsafe

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

‘Knife crime in London has remained at near-record levels’ and people say Britain isn’t any good at things anymore.I used to enjoy visiting London for the day in the 1980’s and 90’s-usual tourist stuff-theatre and art galleries and always had a pleasant day out. Suddenly things changed in this new century-being followed by pick-pockets , tube too crowded-just not agreeable and haven’t been back for over 10 years-I wonder if other visiters feel the same?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I retired away to my midlands roots after 40 years. I noticed in late 1990s London suddenly wasn’t friendly anymore,Or had More Employment than Provinces,;it is deliveroo,Uber nothing made…,Manufactured.So yes I feel uncomfortable in the Capital..although in Semi-rural area .Tories greed,lax Planning laws,brushing aside any opposition, is turning Market Towns into concrete messes,youth tend to do illegalRaves,with Silver pellets of ”Laughing Gas”;; trash newly planted trees.Dump litter etc.. Its Mentality or lack of respect for Uk traditions..
Office Space is cheaper outside M25 Megopolis

Last edited 2 years ago by Robin Lambert
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

The difference is London is not only a capital city , it tries to sell itself as an international city. Khan’s politics mean that everything that goes wrong he will blame on the Conservative party. If Starmer became PM , Khan would be cleaning and clearing the streets as they do in Paris-but its not in his interest at the moment-so he is content for London to get as run-down & violent as possible.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

khan cares for no one other than his muslim brothers.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago

Who I think might break away from Labour and form their own party-an odd mix of left wing policies and very right wing attitudes.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Well George Galloway &Respect didn’t End prettily…

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago

Spot on and the naive Labour and other parties can’t accept that and call you racist. When their daughters get raped and a bunch of Islamists gang up and attack mob handed screaming Allah o Akbar then they will wake up.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Not even then I’m afraid-see German politician whose daughter was murdered

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Wow . Where was that in Germany? Well looks like multi culturalism is failing miserably and in death for some of us and were never asked. Look what Blair did according to Lord Green of Migration Watch.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

I meant that even though the most terrible thing had happened to this family they were still talking tolerance , kindness etc wheras the actual killers father didn’t like his son-they seem to be locked into something they can’t escape

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Its a total lack of respect by the youths for any kind of authority/traditions or other people’s property. They care for nothing and no one other than themselves and their own, or their gangs, instant and short lived gratification. I left school in 1972 when schools mostly still had the unwritten rule ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ Progressive teaching and ways introduced in the mid 70’s is Ground Zero for the fault lines with the youth of today. If we got a battering off our teacher and our parents found out we’d get another battering off them too. Kids often thought twice before going off the back then…..Call me old fashioned……

Peter Dunn
PD
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Its the country going to the dogs..and needs remedy.

zac chang
zac chang
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

I suggest another 50 years of Tory government

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

You do realise there are very little powers the mayor has to affect knife crime rates

Last edited 2 years ago by Jim Jones
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

I presume he does liase with Dame Cressida? At the moment they both seem to be fond of gesture politics-seen kneeling or clapping , which I’m sure is a great consolation to those poor people who have to live in these violent areas.

Andrew Thompson
AT
Andrew Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Or dancing at gay pride marches.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago

And the Nottinghill Carnival. I wonder if gay people might have an alternative -the drab gay pride march just for ordinary people who don’t usually walk around with nothing but a few bits of metal strapped to them?

Lex Pagani
Lex Pagani
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

brilliant.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

or Dancing on London Bridge for Nhs during Locdown in February?..

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Khan must be fuming having to deal with a police woman!! Goes right against Koranic teaching.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Khan is reknown for his superior powers of tolerance , so long as they don’t involve Trump or yellow bikinis.

zac chang
zac chang
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

It must be difficult living in your tiny brain Clem

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  zac chang

Ni hao? From your name you may be Chinese? Stop the ad homenums and address the issues.

David Boulding
David Boulding
2 years ago

Yes, Boris did a great job cutting knife crime by 50%. He ought to have had a mention

mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Its great that knife crime went down 50% when BJ was mayor but how did he manage it? Very interested to hear how this was achieved?

Jonathan da Silva
Jonathan da Silva
2 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Knife crime is mostly in line with national trends. It’s a Maguffin people grab hold of whether the Mayor affects it is a question? So much one could criticise Khan for selling LT land to have expensive new flats built on in prime locations and no council housing to keep fares down on his watch. It’s Brownian.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
2 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

He got rid of the hideously woke Sir Ian Blair and put an actual policeman in charge of the Met. I’m not a great fan of Hogan-Howe but he was so much better than his predecessor and successor.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
2 years ago

To say that Hyphen-Howe was much better than his predecessor isn’t to say much. Rather like saying that typhoid is much better than the Black Death.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago

I met Ian Blair ,he carried The guardian,& Arrogantly refused to show his Warrant Card to Security ..Popinjay To*** Whereas Sir John stevens was pleasant,said hello to everyone,VIP or Security Guard he also had a good sense of humour .ian blair like his Tony namesake was self obsessed

Last edited 2 years ago by Robin Lambert
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 years ago

Not initially he didn’t anybody who thinks the Mayor has a serious effect on knife crime rates is a fool

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago

You mean when he wasnt posing every fortnight for moody,”look,Im a serious policeman” pics with his buttons&medals polished?

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Stop and search those most likely to be carrying knifes might be a not half bad place to start.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

He employed the right people to turn lives of the gangster youths around ….

Peter Dunn
PD
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Ann Ceely

What film was that?

Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
2 years ago

Precisely. The legacy of Johnson is equal in its t**d like qualities.

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

Don’t tell me the word ‘toad’ is now on Unherd’s verboten list!?!

Hal Lives
Hal Lives
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Could have been “tu*d?”

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago
Reply to  Hal Lives

‘tund’, the archaic ‘yoof’ slang word much beloved of avid Scrabblers meaning to hit someone or something?

Could be, but it’s a verb so I don’t think it really fits……

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

I think Boris and Khan both had the same idea in mind.
When Boris ran for mayor in 2008 there was then no prospect of any better job for a Tory in politics. After 2010 he probably expected to use his mayoralty to position himself as an electable Cameron successor after the expected 2015 election defeat.
When no such defeat materialised, Boris was left a bit nonplussed until the Brexit referendum. Here he supported Leave to burnish his credentials as Cameron’s successor should Leave win. In the event, Leave did win, but Gove knifed him. It worked itself out for him by 2019.
Khan nominated Corbyn for the leadership in 2015, before the Brexit vote, possibly to ensure a Labour defeat in 2020. He then won the mayoralty and probably calculated that he could serve a term as mayor and then step in to succeed Corbyn after that inevitable 2020 defeat, much as Boris had probably intended to do. That there were elections in 2017 and 2019 instead put the skids under any such plan if it existed.
Sans COVID he’d still have been nicely cued up to succeed Starmer instead when he loses in 2024 – except that he’s now Mayor until 2025. Starmer will be replaced too soon after losing for Khan to be a candidate. He may have to wait until Starmer’s successor loses in 2028 for his own turn to lose an election as Labour leader, in 2032 or so.
Of course, as Labour only has white, straight, male, middle-class, selectively-educated leaders, he’s a poor fit for the leader template.
He has no agenda, vision or goal for London other than to signal virtue, impoverish a few people he hates, enrich his union buddies, and showboat. He can do all these while drawing £153k a year for which no results are expected of him.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I thought it is £182,000 pa?…unless its been rightly cut?.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Khan’s term will run until 2024 not 2025

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

With great power comes great responsibility, except when it doesn’t suit it seems, or when one can just place the blame elsewhere when things go pear-shaped, à la the SNP.

The Blairite New Labour inspired devolution experiments have really been an across-the-board disaster for the UK really serving only to fragment.

In Scotland’s case in particular, I suspect, it was not born out of a wider altruistic long-term aim to further democratise UK politics, but more out of a misguided, cynical expedient desire to try and secure a permanent bulwark of Labour general election votes for the future.

That obviously went well…..

David Boulding
DB
David Boulding
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Devloution was Blair splitting up the UK into regions to dismantle the UK state for the EU so he could be the new Euro president.

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Nothing surprises me nowadays, least of all what Tony Blair and New Labour were up.to back then.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

What about now?

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Nailed it.

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Agree 100%. The ego-maniac Blair saw the role of ‘Euro president’, as the most gratifying and affirming for his long term Globalist ideology of self-aggrandisement. Ergo, the replacement of Western indigenous peoples, by ignorant, uneducated, cheap labour, voters wallowing in unimagined ‘welfare’. He succeeded, to the great detriment of Western civilization. .

zac chang
ZC
zac chang
2 years ago

Do you mean those western indigenous peoples that originally came from Africa? because you do know thats where the human race came from dont you?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  zac chang

Bulls………………Humans originated on 4 Floating continents Gondwana land ..its poor bilge to say Everyone originated from one Area….people like animals evolved in various continents before plates settled down see wegener

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

I think Brexit is doing a better job of that than Blair ever did.

Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson
2 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

How so?

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wilson
Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Spot on…RDAs too.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Its ALL part of the globalist Plan..England was most opposed to rest of europe since 1556?….rejoiners wont give up EUSSR or 4th reich until they &it dies like USSR

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

He was pretty good at ‘things that went well’ our old friend Bliar.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
2 years ago

The same question applies to London as to most of the rest of western democratic world.-

Why is our culture now so inert that people of fine character and abilities do not offer themselves for public office (so that, as Douglas Murray says, the current candidates for the London Mayoralty are ‘of depressingly low calibre’); and why does the public keep voting for the worst options on the ballot paper? (In this contest, for instance, if most voted for Laurence Fox, at least it would give a hefty smack to the self-contentment of the established legacy parties.)

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The answer to your question is the media. What decent family man or woman wants to run that gauntlet?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

It’s just like academia; the bad people drive out the good people.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
2 years ago

I would have agreed till lately; but Donald Trump showed that one can have lots of real scandal attached to one’s name, run for high office, when lambasted by a wholly adverse media declare ‘I don’t care’, spell out issues and policies which the public wants to hear and see effected (he did not deliver on them!) and still be rapturously supported.
People are so desperate for real representation now that they will swallow everything except murder-for-gain and child-abuse on the part of someone offering themselves for election with a platform opposed to the priorities of the Davos crew.

Tim Ward
Tim Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

If you consider it for more than a few minutes, the choice of who should occupy these positions is incredibly complex, and we take short cuts. Unfortunately who you would like to sit next to in a pub is not always a sensible short cut to take.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Ward

I offered myself at 4 London General Elections & 8 Local elections,The electorate didn’t Vote for me enough,So I blame London Voters !

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

why does the public keep voting for the worst options on the ballot paper?

In London? Demographics.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

You’ve got to think an awful lot of yourself to want to even have your name on a ballot paper. People who seek power, in my view, are almost always the ones who should not be given it. Which, given the traditional political system, leaves us in a pickle.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
2 years ago

It’s difficult to pinpoint what I find most contemptible about Khan. The brazen arrogance? The sense of victimhood he encourages? The spunking up the walls of millions of pounds? The PR assault on London’s and Britain’s history and heritage he wages? His utter indifference to the stabathon currently going on between London’s teenagers? Or perhaps the cowardice which leads him to avoid all debate and conversation?
I don’t believe he cares about anything but himself and his own career.

Hammer Klavier
Hammer Klavier
2 years ago

Khan is an utterly useless poser with no apparent ability whatsoever.
But he is a race-baiting Muslim, and in today’s London that appears to be all you need to be in order to get a thumping majority.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hammer Klavier
JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

Islamo-gauchisme: UK Edition.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

I remember Livingstone’s anti-Semitic spat with a Standard reporter as well. Early foretaste of what was to come.

Tim Ward
Tim Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

That was interesting. He should have backed down, because he was causing a stink to no great purpose, but he didn’t know when to stop. I think if you remove all the emotion out of the complex statements he made, he may have been right, but no one of any sensitivity can ignore the frightful emotional legacy of the Holocaust, and he shouldn’t have.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Ward

He told a Jewish reporter that he was like a death camp guard. I’m not sure what valuable insight we missed in the resulting furore.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

It was a silly thing to say. You have said Ethic minorities are the worst racists. They hate each other even more than they hate whitey. Markle, a quarter black race hustler. These are things you’ve written here. Not valuable insights, either. But just two of many examples of your dislike for ethnic minority people en masse. You say racist things.

Last edited 2 years ago by Last Jacobin
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

They’re all true. Sorry if that bursts your bubble.

zac chang
zac chang
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Ethnic minorities dont think or behave in any particular way because they are an Ethnic minority.YOU are a Racist.

zac chang
zac chang
2 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yep Jon Redman is a MASSIVE RACIST

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago

We do not need a London Mayor or for that matter a London Assembly. They are yet another layer of greedy parasites, feasting on the decaying carcass of what is London today.

The fact they act as a Kindergarten for wannabe political pygmies is a national disgrace.

Lady T abolished that festering carbuncle the GLC, and London survived quite happily for years without the need for this abomination, that is, ‘the Mayor & Assembly’.
“For God’s sake go!”

David Boulding
DB
David Boulding
2 years ago

Livingstone was the man who told us that the Chavista revolution failed because he had not shot the oligarchs. Remember that before voting Labour what they would like to doto some of us (those that disagree with them)

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Antifa and BLM are already doing that not only here but in the USA

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
2 years ago

Full disclosure – I got a year’s suspension for a private comment about Mayor Khan. But I still believe that the problem is more than him. Douglas Murray is correct – the creation of this local government body was a mistake. “Greater London” is just too big.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Marks

Blame Blair,I voted against this woke Globalist monstrosity in 1999?.. &dont care for lib lab Cons Greens Candidates….

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

Khan spoke for a minority. “Trump’s vicious discriminatory ignorance.“…Obama’s, Trump just executed the plan and was well within his rights (and he was right) to do so. Of course if you actually wish to believe media hype and not what actually was done then carry on. I bet you think he said drink bleach too.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

Sb

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
joycebrette
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Have you never heard of sarcasm?

joycebrette
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  joycebrette

Only someone of very low intelligence would not see the humour behind the remark and take it seriously, oh gosh you try it did you !!

joycebrette
JB
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  joycebrette

That should have said didn’t in case you misunderstood that too.

joycebrette
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  joycebrette

Don’t get personal lol

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago
Reply to  joycebrette

yes,light travels faster than sound, which is why people like you appear bright—until they open their mouths.

joycebrette
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

Now now, don’t get tetchy, I like your reply though, which comic did you get that from?

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago
Reply to  joycebrette

very good response,
but I apologise profusely, i didnt aim that at you, I typed it too quickly and it back fired. As a matter of interest it was a phrase my old physics teacher was infamous for, and it has always stuck in my mind.... he did most probably get it from a comic though, as he didnt have an original thought in this chalky repertoire!

joycebrette
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

Lol ,I had one just like like that, it must be the damage that physics does to ones brain, it certainly scrambled mine.

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
2 years ago

So bl**dy true. I live in London. It’s depressing.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago

The “referendum” on it had a turnout of about 5 people and 50.00000000000000000000001% of them voted “yes”. How do we get it abolished?

Gorgia Verolini-Wright
Gorgia Verolini-Wright
2 years ago

Why I voted for Brexit – “People always equate expanding layers of government with increasing accountability; but the truth is that the more there are, the harder it is to hold people to account.”
Not just government, but also companies – when the IT group lives in palacial surroundings, with almost unlimited budgets you know that it is simply down to the Board self glorifying with the thought that they are ahead of the tech race. Reality will always be that such “growth” will largely be in teams which produce little of consequence but will increase the complexities of “life” with new sets of rules & regs to which everyone must now bow – in the name of progress.
Has never worked & never will.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago

Paid Mayors,GLA all unnecessary Costs, Police &crime Commissioners politicize the Police..

Tony Lee
Tony Lee
2 years ago

Given their lack of achievement and seemingly comparable levels of both self-esteem and incompetence; could Nicola Sturgeon and Khan possibly be related…….

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago

“From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so that we can check”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Raiment
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

London is too important as well as being the location of the national government for the national government to let Londoners face the consequences of electing Khan. That only leads to corrupt and inept government.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

The mayoral franchise should be extended to include those who work in London as well as those who live there.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

I am a huge admirer of Douglas Murray’s writing – in both his articles and books. Apart from his style and his erudition, what marks Mr Murray out is his fearlessness. His willingness, some might say enthusiasm, to venture into topics where others fear to tread.
So the fact he suggests (to my mind, incontrovertibly) that the post of Mayor of London is superfluous, without mentioning Boris Johnson’s two terms in the role strikes me as odd and very out of character.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Ah, should have read the comments below. Several have already made the same point.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago

At a time ”Green”Ken had five kids,if All able couples had 5 children ,12.5million Children would be added to 70million..Uk population

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Thats actually happer ing right now..demographics.

Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
2 years ago

This article does not mention Boris Johnson once – which is nothing but stupendously indicative of bias.
Like the author, I voted against there even being a Mayor of London, but the legacies of Livingstone and Johnson are far worse than anything the frankly awful also Sadiq Khan has achieved.
As for the current candidates other than Khan, Bailey is a bozo of inmmense proportions and the Lib Dems lady isn’t even worthy of a mention sadly.
I shall be voting for Max Fosh and Count Binface to register my protest against all of the above on 6th May – and for no reason other than there’s absolutely nobody else to choose from.

Michael J. McEachern
Michael J. McEachern
2 years ago

Back in the USA, New York City has mayor Di Blasio, always one to give the likes of Sadiq Kahn a run for their money. Big cities in the UK as in the US seem to be run by left-wing radicals (Chicago, LA, Portland and so on) while big business happily foots the bill. This is changing though, with businesses fleeing New York for lower taxes and less demonization by leftists in and out of public office. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, people get the kind of government they deserve.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 years ago

Khan will “go nowhere afterwards”. We can but hope. But I suspect a safe seat in south London; a shadow cabinet post, and even, whisper it, when Starmer goes….

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

That’s been said several times before, but hasn’t happened. Labour won’t elect a woman because all its women MPs arrived in the HoC not on merit but as part of a quota. They’re all totally useless bags of sand.

joycebrette
JB
joycebrette
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

As are many of the men

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Annelise Dodds makes my ”O”level Mathematics seem genius!

Stuart Y
SY
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

“Enough experience and talent” REALLY????? Where is this “experience and talent” you speak of?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I sometimes think that Yvette Cooper might be a plausible candidate if it hasn’t passed her by, but then I remember that she couldn’t even introduce that HIPS thing.
Outside of the current Derby Country squad and coaching team, it’s hard to think of a more hopeless and hapless bunch of individuals than the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Robin Lambert
RL
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Lib-dems,Greens, Some Rural Tories run them Close! VOTE INDEPENDENT May 6

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
2 years ago

” Discriminatory ignorance ” – examples please

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

s

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Trump’s original executive order affected only about 12 percent of Muslims in the world.- the ban included many other places that weren’t Muslim and Muslims continued to arrive in the USA

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

v

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I agree facts are a burden for some people

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Forgive me, I dont think it was a Muslim Ban and was not done to discriminate rather to ensure safety for US citizens ( but I guess you really know that to be the case). Rather, it was a ban on a number of countries that happened to have a large Muslim population? First pop, President Trump signed an executive order denying entry for 90 days to the US for persons from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. It is interesting to note that in 2015,Obama,the darling of the Liberal -Left, signed into law the Visa Waiver Improvement Program and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which designated Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia as areas of serious concern.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

w

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
George Stone
George Stone
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Yes, and examples of ‘vicious’ also.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
2 years ago

Is Douglas Murray in favour of a nation governed by 100% central control and 0% local autonomy? I suspect not. More probably we are talking about “local branch management” decisions that can be overridden by “head office” if those decisions unnecessarily or for no good reason stray from overall policy. Allowing greater autonomy or freedom than that may risk mutating into a personal fiefdom.
It seldom follows that a mayor with ambitiously thought-out policies is consciously seeking to create for themselves a personal fiefdom. Instead it may simply be that they are arrogant or autocratic by nature and have been given the considerable power to make decisions which they think are right and to regard protesters as misguided or wrongminded. From the standpoint of citizens, that distinction hardly matters; their lives become blighted irrespective of the mayor’s original underlying traits or ambitions. There is a fine line between morality and self-righteousness.
It oughtn’t be all that hard to hold the Sadiq Khan’s of this world to account. In the real world that lies outside government, a company’s HQ is able to exercise control over its subsidiaries and a recalcitrant head of a subsidiary may take his talents or ambitions elsewhere.  But for a mayor who wants to stay in politics that option doesn’t exist – either the mayor defies or rides the waves of a sensitive or indecisive central government and hustles successfully though the next local election or, if central government becomes intolerably unpleasant, holds a referendum about turning London – or some other county, conurbation, devolved pseudo kingdom or even an island (Scilly, Isle of Wight?)  – into an independent sovereign entity. (Good luck with that Mrs Sturgeon and don’t hold your breath.
One might argue it’s easier for a company’s HQ to exercise such necessary control because, unlike with government, there is no electorate to contend with. Not so. The company has shareholders or investors – domestic and professional. The difference is that central government paralyses itself by being more ingratiating if not spinelessly servile to voters, by suppressing or evading rational debate. The main rationale and burden of local autonomy is the unquestioning worship of democracy has leads to spinelessness in central government. As I see it, the only road to recovery is meritocracy. The usual argument raised by binary thinkers is that meritocracy is a euphemism for autocracy; a fiefdom by any other name.
I don’t see a way out of this. Douglas Murray is right. Local politics in particular is a great opportunity for chancers, deceivers, failures, narcissists and fanatics. With London specifically, with nearly half its residents non-white (mostly African and Caribbean), and a rapidly growing percentage of Muslims, and a significant proportion of working-class Londoners financially-struggling and resentful of London’s privileged classes, the two mayor contenders are about as good as London is ever going to get.   
I’d be, if not content, at least relieved, if practically anyone but Sadiq Khan becomes the next mayor, whether white, yellowy pale brown, black or green.  Shaun Bailey – or his advisers – at least have the smarts to promote some right wing sensibly authoritarian policies that are the antithesis of what Sadiq Khan represents or has neglectfully dumped on London.   I fear that London’s self-permissive, delinquent or feral working classes don’t want to governed or lectured by a black mayor. I also fear that Sadiq Khan has a complexion that can rope in a broader spectrum of colour shades. For me, it’s time to sell up to somewhere at least 50 miles away and 50 years behind the times.

Hammer Klavier
Hammer Klavier
2 years ago

Spot on.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
2 years ago

Elected representatives everywhere should be required to do a piece of business for their region for every bit of business for which they want in on the glory internationally or nationally.

James Moss
James Moss
2 years ago

Much criticism of both Livingston and Khan’s behaviours in this job, not a word about Johnson’s 2 terms. What a surprise. Surely using public funds to take your pole-dancing mistress on overseas trips and to prop up her business is worthy of mention here?

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  James Moss

is that worse than employing all your friends on large, tax-payer funded salaries?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
2 years ago

Such a shame. London was one of the greatest cities in the world. Same as New York. Now both have been ruined by incompetent leadership.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago

Anybody but Khan. I don’t want to be a Dhimmi after he has used the naive Labour backers and got his Islamic mates into powerful places. He did try a face on leadership bit but failed so biding his time as Mayor of London. Islamist have a long term perspective.
(1) Lutfur Rahman decision – Daily Politics, 23rd April 2015 – YouTube

Jonathan da Silva
Jonathan da Silva
2 years ago

To be fair I also voted no to a Mayor. Nonetheless you seen who our PM is? Another self serving buffoon elected to buff his CV on London and try and put his name on stuff.
In many ways the London Mayoral position is pointless but I guess Murray won’t disappoint his fan base by critiquing something worth our time. Nor mention the position the one he missed out took as Mayor on immigration as Mayor! Nor his imaginary island airport nor his imaginary and expensive garden bridge nor his water cannons nor his ludicrous new routemasters.
I guess I just hypocritically came here to diss the writer to no purpose. C’est la vie.

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
2 years ago

Genuine question. What’s the alternative to a Mayor?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Nihil facere! – do nothing.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

The City of London has a Mayor as do 32 London boroughs why do londoners enjoy paying £330? for this farcical position.UkiP in 2004( when I was on the list) ran on ticket of Abolishing GLA &mayor .Frank Maloney got 12%

Tim Ward
Tim Ward
2 years ago

If you want to be informed on this topic, I suggest the London Review of Books 6 May article by James Butler !

John Schofield
John Schofield
2 years ago

I don’t think there is anything wrong in principle with having a London Mayor and Assembly. But having 33 Boroughs as well is a nonsense.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago

Cupid stunts.

Tim Ward
Tim Ward
2 years ago

The limitations of human knowledge (or human willingness to include this or that fact …)! An anti-Khan article, leaving out any good points (survival in the post as a Muslim without rancour is like Kennedy being accepted as a Catholic – and a good thing too), leaving out Johnson (check out that Andrew Neil interview for whether Johnson’s achievements measured up to the rest of the country), leaving out Livingston successful gamble on the congestion zone and his development of the bicycle scheme, leaving out the effects of cuts on police and local authority budgets, leaving out the pandemic. Slanted? Narrow? Impossible to tell which side you were on?