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Sadiq Khan’t Do Any More For London

Since Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London, its citizens have suffered. Under his reign, knife crime has reached a ten-year high, with the Met Police reporting 149 homicides as of 2019. His comments on terrorism has also left a bad taste in the mouths of Londoners, with him saying that the threat of living with terrorist attacks are “part and parcel” of living in a big city like London.

Despite the quality of life decreasing and becoming more dangerous in London, Khan manages to get into personal arguments on Twitter with Donald Trump, erect gender-neutral traffic lights in central London and wasted an estimated £13 million on a failed attempt to ban junk food adverts on the Tube. If we want London to improve we must vote Khan out, or risk an extension of his fraudulent behaviour.

Who is Sadiq Khan?

Sadiq Khan is the current Mayor of London. The Mayoral elections were due to take place this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been postponed until May 2021. Khan served as a Councillor for the London Borough of Wandsworth between 1994 and 2006.

He then served as MP for Tooting between 2005 and 2016. A member of the Labour Party, Khan was elected Mayor of London in 2016, defeating Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmiths.

Khan introduced the ‘Hopper’ scheme in London, which grants unlimited journeys on the bus and tram network within 1 hour for £1.50, aimed at lower-income people. He stood in solidarity with the LGBT community, following the Orlando nightclub shooting, and marched in the 2016 Pride parade.

He backed the proposed expansion of London City Airport, and urged then-Prime Minister Theresa May to support expansion at Gatwick Airport also (instead of Heathrow), saying that it would bring “substantial economic benefits” to London.

Every time there is a terrorist incident involving evil fanatics who abuse the name of Islam, ordinary, law-abiding Muslims pay a heavy price.

Sadiq Khan

Khan has also criticised foreign investors for treating homes in London as “gold bricks for investment”, and wishes to invest in affordable housing.

Khan is a practising Muslim. In 2016 he used the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to “break down the mystique and suspicion” surrounding Islam in Britain. He said he wanted to “get out there and build bridges” between communities, and condemned criminals who “do bad things and use the name of Islam to justify what they do”. He openly supports religious freedom.

Piers Morgan challenges Sadiq Khan on knife crime on GMB. Video credit: Good Morning Britain

London is a war-zone

Two of Khan’s biggest issues have been the significant rise in violent crime in the capital (particularly knife crime), and his misplaced priorities towards issues that affect people. Starting with the former, under his reign the streets of London have turned into war-zones.

The Met Police reported up to 149 homicides as of 2019. According to a report by Statista, the number of recorded knife crimes has been steadily increasing since Khan’s election as Mayor, reaching a record ten-year high of approximately 15,600 as of August 2020.

Few dare say it but knife crime is a fashion.

Matthew Parris, The Times

It’s interesting – and quite worrying – to notice that this significant rise in knife crime reversed the previous positive trend of decreasing knife crime, with numbers of reported cases falling steadily from approximately 14,000 in 2012 to just under 10,000 in 2016.

In fact, there was an immediate spike in knife crime in the first year of Khan’s reign, jumping from just under 10,000 in 2016 to just over 12,000 in 2017.

The same report also shows that acid attacks and moped crime have also grown steadily. In 2017, 465 acid attacks were reported by the Met Police, compared to just 77 in 2012. Moped crimes are even worse, rising from just over 9,000 offences in 2016 to almost 24,000 in 2017.

One could argue that police cuts are partly responsible for the spike, however the operative word here is partly; it certainly couldn’t be wholly. The significance of the spike cannot be wholly down to policing, so it’s no coincidence that Khan’s tenure is seen as the catalyst for the epidemic.

Police cuts happened under Boris Johnson’s reign, yet knife crime marginally increased. Under Sadiq Khan, it spiked. It cannot be wholly his fault, but he is partly responsible.

The BBC News team spends time in Royal London Hospital, with victims of knife crime. Video credit: BBC News

‘Part and Parcel’

The other issue that Sadiq Khan has is his casual – and somewhat defeatist – attitude towards issues that affect the day-to-day life of Londoners. There have been comments that he has made that certainly does not fill Londoners with confidence, and his somewhat seemingly misplaced priorities have angered Londoners to the point where even some of his supporters have questioned his suitability for the job.

One of his most infamous comments came in 2017, in relation to the New York bombings. Sadiq Khan, in response to this, said that attacks such as this were ‘part and parcel of living in a big city’. He told the Evening Standard, “It is a reality I’m afraid that London, New York, other major cities around the world have got to be prepared for these sorts of things.”

Of course, it’s understandable that the Mayor would encourage Londoners to be vigilant, as terror attacks have been on the rise in cities across the West. There is a hint of truth in his words, and it’s arguable that it would be irresponsible to give Londoners a false sense of security in the context of terrorism.

Nigel Farage discusses Sadiq Khan’s ‘part and parcel’ comments on FOX News. Video credit: FOX News

The indifference [of terrorist attacks] is having a numbing effect upon our society and will have a profound effect upon generations to come.  

Asa Don Brown Ph.D., Psychology Today

However, it does not make a person feel safer when their Mayor seems to openly accept the current situation. Citizens want to hear strong words from their elected leaders, not defeatist ones. The kind of barbarianism that terrorists commit has no place on London’s streets.

To have a Mayor that casually seems to accept these current conditions is to embolden potential terrorists, and to give them license to continue to commit atrocities in the capital.

To simply (and openly) accept this is to create an environment where people have to worry about potential suicide bombings and beheadings. Add this to the knife crime epidemic and you’re left with a city that’s in constant fear.

This kind of climate should not be ‘part and parcel’ of living in a metropolis like London; people have the right to feel safe and protected, not betrayed and endangered.

Misplaced priorities

Despite the aforementioned issues, Khan seems to be more interested in other things that have relatively insignificant importance when compared to them. It does not inspire the hearts of Londoners as a population to see these things come to fruition.

One example of his misplaced priorities was the erection of gender-neutral and LGBT traffic lights in Trafalgar Square. To celebrate Pride 2016 (the same year when the knife crime rate spiked), the traditional green man was replaced with two male, two female or a transgender symbol. It was ‘to show solidarity’ to the LGBT community.

The issue here is that, aside from the LGBT community, nobody asked or campaigned for these lights to be erected. One could argue that Khan’s priorities were misplaced, as the very real threat of being stabbed supersedes the unnecessary gesture.

‘Gay Pride’ traffic lights. Photo credit: On Demand News

Khan has also found himself engaged in an ongoing Twitter feud with US President Donald Trump. The Guardian has documented all the major talking points between Khan and Trump, beginning from as late as 2015. The longevity of their feud cannot be understated, as many feel as if Khan’s time could have been better spent combating knife crime and terrorism.

Indeed Khan, in November 2020, said in a tweet aimed at Trump, “The choice my American friends have is a continuation of a hate-fuelled President who believes in division, politics of hatred, divided communities or a new feature for America.” He received significant backlash for this. In 2019, he referred to Trump as a “six-foot-three child.”

One must ask themselves; what is he doing? Where does he find the time to argue with the US President when there are more urgent priorities at hand? What issues does he prioritise above others?

An example of Trump and Khan’s war of words.

Khan’s reign must end

Of course, not everything can be blamed solely on Khan. Ultimately people are responsible for their own actions and not politicians. Khan cannot be blamed for individual actions, and communities simply must take action to improve themselves and their quality of life. It’s arguable that the terrorist threat and knife epidemic is simply a symptom of a wider, cultural issue.

Even so, the man does not fill many Londoners with confidence. It seems as if he cares more about pandering to individual communities rather than dealing with issues that are clearly more important. As the quality of life in London decreases, Khan exacerbates it with his spineless attitude and careless comments.

From his infamous ‘part and parcel’ comment to his clear failure of handling the knife crime issue, to his public spats with the leader of the free world, one thing is certain; Khan is not the man for the job. His reign of fraudulence simply must end.

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Aaron Fenton-Hewitt is an aspiring journalist and political commentator. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Film from London Metropolitan University, and a Master's in Writing for Creative and Professional Practice from Middlesex University. He wishes to continue his academic career, with a PhD in Politics or related field.

Aaron is also a freelance photographer, an avid foodie and an Arsenal supporter.

Aaron Fenton-Hewitt
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt is an aspiring journalist and political commentator. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Film from London Metropolitan University, and a Master's in Writing for Creative and Professional Practice from Middlesex University. He wishes to continue his academic career, with a PhD in Politics or related field. Aaron is also a freelance photographer, an avid foodie and an Arsenal supporter.

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