“This is a government & Tory Party that has lurched so far to the right that it acts as if it could get away with murder. Looking at our death toll, you could argue that they have. “
By Patrick Foley, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
A year of pandemic, lock downs and loss has made it difficult for activists to mobilise in the same way that we are used to. Whether sun or rain, election time would be marked by groups of doorknockers, leafleteers and volunteers getting out the vote. But this Mayoral election, Labour’s biggest challenger may not be the gaffe-prone Shaun Bailey but apathy after a difficult year.
Yet these circumstances are exactly why we need to get the vote out for Sadiq Khan and back the Labour candidates in the London Assembly elections tomorrow on May 6th.
This is our chance as Londoners to send a message to a Conservative party that’s overseen the disastrous handling of the pandemic, pushed increasingly authoritarian legislation and continually lied, lobbied and profiteered through the biggest crisis in living memory.
Boris Johnson continues to get an easy ride in the press, with the BBC refusing to quote his infamous “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” remark and the growing lobbying scandals being treated as isolated incidents rather than the institutional problem that they are.
Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey has also been doing his best to show why his election would be a disaster. His archaic views on single mums, homeless people and the working class in general make it clear that he doesn’t represent our city. We need to make that clear.
This is our chance to challenge them at the ballot box.
Let’s also remember that Bailey once penned an Islamophobic and racist pamphlet, for the Thatcher-founded Centre for Policy Research, that claimed celebrating non-Christian festivals “robs Britain of its community” and that children learn more about Diwali than Christmas.
These attacks feed into something much more harmful than a conservative think-tank and are echoed across the cesspit that is far-right social media.
We’ve seen our Mayor receive a torrent of hate from the global far-right who often complain about the non-existent “no go” areas or “Muslim only areas.” Any Londoner would know this to be an outright lie but these smears have gone a long way in fostering the racist narrative that has taken hold across this country and many others.
Trump clearly singled out Sadiq solely for being a Muslim Mayor after he challenged the introduction of a Muslim ban in the US. In multiple spats he labelled him “very dumb,” “a stone cold loser” and accused Khan of destroying the city of London. US alt-right mouthpiece Ben Shapiro blamed knife crime not only on Sadiq’s mayoralty but on the demographic changes in London in a not-so-thinly veiled racist rant.
To blame the rise in knife crime solely on the London Mayor does a disservice to the victims of knife crime and their loved ones. The same right-wing voices that have consistently attacked Sadiq have ignored a decade of cuts to mental health services, youth services, social care, community policing and more.
And who could forget that this mayoral election comes in the wake of a Tory Government report that not only denied the existence of institutional racism but attempted to roll the conversation back on racism several decades.
The report didn’t mention the blatant Islamophobia plastered on the front pages of right-wing tabloids for over a decade. Nor did it mention the Tory party’s strategy of stoking racial tensions and divisions in general elections and the now notorious Brexit debates.
The U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent shunned the report for “repackaging racist tropes” and for claims that “rationalise white supremacy.” That is what the modern day Tory party represents.
We also saw Boris Johnson use a national covid briefing to make false claims against Sadiq Khan, placing TfL’s drop in finances on the Mayor’s management rather than the pandemic itself. Ironic to say the least, especially when you consider Johnson’s poor handling of both TfL’s finances and the pandemic.
This is a government and Tory Party that has lurched so far to the right that it acts as if it could get away with murder. Looking at our death toll, you could argue that they have.
Show them as Londoners that we will always hold them to account – whether in the streets or at the ballot box. Go and get the vote out for Sadiq Khan and Labour’s London Assembly members, including the excellent Left candidates at the top of the London-wide list.