Friday, May 6, 2016

Allahu Akbar! London Has a Muslim Mayor!

Yeah, but will they get past the Beefeaters?

The results have not yet been officially announced but after the first votes were tallied, it became clear that Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would decisively beat Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith for Mayor of London. A few points:
  • The first round tally was 44% to 35% with Khan reportedly winning enough second round votes--where Khan was second choice for those whose first choice was neither Khan nor Goldsmith--for him to clinch victory.
  • Labour appears to be losing nationally. This is notable in that it was predicted that it would make major gains in this political cycle. the Tories now appear to be the number two party in Scotland, after the SNP (The Scottish National Party). UKIP (The UK Independence Party)--in some ways the country's real opposition on many issues--has more than tripled its Council seats (although they still have only a small fraction). The Scottish and Welsh nationalists both did very well. So did the Liberal Democrats. Basically, Labour lost and all the other parties gained.    
  • The relatively new position of Mayor of London has been held by people of diverse politics and personalities--either extreme or eccentric. The outgoing mayor is a populist Conservative with goofy hair. His predecessor, the first to hold the position, was a quasi-communist.
  • Khan is in many ways a typical Labour candidate with "mainstream" Labour views. So, for example, he is pro-gay marriage. His wife doesn't appear to wear a hijab.
  • Some Muslims have criticized him for such "liberalism." And he has even been threatened by some extremists.
  • On the other hand, he himself has had many dubious associations with extremists and extremist groups. A few years ago he called moderate Muslims "Uncle Toms."
  • He recently apologized for the "racial slur" but the apology seemed more about the offensiveness of the term than the actual sentiment--there is something objectionable about "moderate Muslims."  
  • Goldsmith, his opponent, cited these extremist associations in his campaign, penning an editorial a few days ago titled, "On Thursday, are we really going to hand the world's greatest city to a Labour Party that thinks terrorists are its friends?"
  • Allegedly this didn't go down very well with voters and many faulted Goldsmith for "dirty campaigning". Today his sister said that this approach lost him the election and that he is actually an eco-friendly non-racist at heart. His sister used to be married to a Muslim.
  • The Muslim population of London is approaching 15%. It's unclear what the proportion of Muslim voters is. I would assume it's somewhat smaller.
  • Nevertheless, it's an important block and presumably at least insured part of Khan's victory margin.
  • In fairness, the Conservatives have also courted the Muslim vote. Weirdly, polls showed that if the race were between Khan and Boris Johnson, the outgoing Tory, Johnson would have won. This appears to show that the Mayor's race is often more about personality than politics.    
Read about Kahn's victory here.   


  1. Goodbye London. You had an interesting history, many Americans came from your shores, and you were our best ally.
    You're going to disappear due to your short-sightedness.

  2. "This, too was once one of the dark places of the earth." - Marlow speaking of London in Heart of Darkness.