Sadiq Khan, 45, a former newspaper delivery boy whose father worked as a bus driver after moving to Britain from Pakistan and mother as a seamstress, grew up in a council estate and went on to become a human rights lawyer. Deal with that, Donald Trump.
The newly elected London mayor, part of the ‘moderate social demiq’ocratic’ wing of the Labour Party, defeated the Conservative Zac Goldsmith by 1, 310, 143 votes to 994, 614.
Sadiq’s victory comes as a boost to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, though Sadiq may not be as left wing or radical as his party leader, and they have had their differences.
Sadiq opposed Blair’s Iraq war, his foreign policy and his attempt to introduce 90-day detention without trial for terror suspects. But he’s not averse to working with a Tory government to extract a better deal for London and supports remaining in the EU.
Thanks to Thatcherite neoliberal economic policies, income inequality has grown into a serious problem in the UK – as it has here in Malaysia. Sadiq’s win may partly be seen as a backlash against that.
Looking a bit like ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho, Sadiq doesn’t see himself as just a Muslim, pointing to his multiple identities. “I’m a Londoner, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I’m a long-suffering Liverpool fan, I’m Labour, I’m Fabian and I’m Muslim.”
Fabian? Sadiq was once chairman of the Fabian Society, Britain’s oldest think-tank, which aims to promote:
- greater equality of power, wealth and opportunity
- the value of collective action and public service
- an accountable, tolerant and active democracy
- citizenship, liberty and human rights
- sustainable development
- multilateral international cooperation
He now wants to create more affordable housing and bring about a world-class public transport system for the city. Part of the plan is to pedestrianise Oxford Street – the equivalent of our Penang Road. (Dare we do the same for Penang Road?)
He has also changed his position on a plan to expand Heathrow Airport. He now opposes it because of health concerns over air pollution.
Let’s hope Malaysians too become more open to people of other faiths and ethnic backgrounds when electing their leaders and representatives in time to come – despite the many challenges along the way and the best efforts of some politicians to divide us.
Full report of Sadiq’s win here.