London Has a New Mayor: Sadiq Khan Is Triumphant
Earlier this month Londoners voted for their new mayor, replacing Conservative Boris Johnson with Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who swept to victory with 57% of the votes, after first and second preferences were counted. Khan beat his Tory rival Zac Goldsmith, putting an end to 8 years of Conservative leadership and becoming the city’s first Muslim mayor, which has been seen as a triumph for London’s diversity.
During the months leading up to the election, Goldsmith’s campaign caused controversy due to its attempts to link Khan to Islamic extremism. Lady Sayeeda Warsi, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, tweeted “Our appalling dog whistle campaign for #LondonMayor2016 lost us the election, our reputation & credibility on issues of race and religion”. Upon winning, Khan said "I'm so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division", reflecting the voter appeal of his ‘manifesto for all Londoners’. Nevertheless, Goldsmith did garner 43% of the votes and told supporters that he was "disappointed, of course, by the result that I won't be able to deliver a manifesto that I'm really proud of".
Khan has already made a significant impression during his first month of leadership. He has appointed women to the majority of the key roles in his advisory team, so far keeping his promise of making gender equality a priority at City Hall. He has also set out to solve the ever-worsening housing crisis in the capital. Speaking to London Assembly members, Khan criticised investors buying up property in London only to leave it empty. According to Business Insider, the average London house price has risen to over £500,000, which is more than 16 times the average salary of a Londoner. Khan has pledged to tackle this issue and build more affordable homes.
Finally, after the recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, Khan will place London’s response to a major terrorist attack under review, stating that “Nothing is more important to me than keeping Londoners safe”. While he has certainly wasted no time in responding to issues which are close to voters’ hearts, there’s no doubt that both supporters and critics will be watching carefully to see whether Khan can now deliver on his promises
Boris Johnson compares EU to Nazi super state as BREXIT debate heats up
With the EU referendum on the doorstep, the debates are heating up. Advocates and critics of EU membership alike are hoping for the decisive swing in the polls in their favour. Currently, according to a recent poll published by What UK Thinks, a non-partisan institution providing information on attitudes towards the EU, the Bremain camp (a combination of “Britain” and “Remain”) has a small majority with 53 percent of Britons agreeing that Britain should remain in the EU. According to the statistics the, EU friendly faction has been able to hold a slight advantage in the polls since November 2015. EU critics however gained a short-lived majority at the beginning of May. A victory of either is expected to be a close one and rhetoric is heating up on both sides.
Against this backdrop, Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London and prominent EU critic said the European Union was an effort to create a European super state various dictators in history had envisioned: “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods,” said Johnson in an Interview. According to Johnson, the EU had an “eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void.”
It is one country in particular that Johnson suspects would dominate the EU: Germany. He claims the powerful country had already “taken over” the Italian economy and “destroyed” Greece. While many agree with Johnson`s comparison, others have attacked the former Mayor sharply, accusing him of stirring up irrational fears. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the social-democratic Labour Party, said that Johnson had “some very odd interpretations of history”. Meanwhile, the media landscape is awash with pro/con lists regarding EU membership. Whatever the outcome may be, many recon it to be a milestone in the history of the UK.
Britons will be called to the ballot boxes on June 23rd to vote on whether to stay in the European Union or to leave.