In June 2013, Keith Vaz, Shabana Mahmood and Sadiq Khan spoke at a Patchwork event - 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling', as they encouraged and successfully inspired me to get more involved with UK Politics. 3 years later, it was an equally inspiring sight to see the new Mayor of London declare victory.
In a victory for the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Muslims round the UK and of course, Sadiq himself, Mr Khan was elected as the Mayor of London and will replace incumbent Boris Johnson, who himself is keeping a close eye on the 23 June for his next possible career move.
Khan's main challenger was Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, who ran a hateful, Islamophobic campaign which painted the Labour Mayor as a terrorist sympathiser - a claim, of course, which was fabricated, as it turned out those that he had shared a platform with were in fact Conservatives themselves. Goldsmith also targeted the Hindu vote as he sent out leaflets to houses 'with Sikh or Hindu sounding names' which bizarrely painted their top priority as avoiding jewellery tax, as well as completely making a hash of his apparent Bollywood knowledge. Goldsmith, of course, is quite a typical Tory - son of a Hedge fund manager, set to inherit billions, he'll naturally be in touch with the diverse population of London. Khan, meanwhile, is the son of a Pakistani bus driver, a second generation immigrant who worked his way up in politics. Apart from George Galloway (sue me), I didn't see any other candidate more suited to lead rather than rule the working people of London.
Now Khan, formerly MP of Tooting, is not a Corbynista nor a Blairite, sitting rather comfortably in the middle. Much like Hillary Clinton, who congratulated Khan before David Cameron did, who is not a liberal nor a Republican, he flits between the positions of Corbyn and those of the Red Tories. Perhaps the best example of this is last June, when after giving Jeremy Corbyn the nomination he needed to run for leader, he didn't vote for him and has criticised his policies since. Now while I think Khan is playing the game, he is a much more honest politician than Hillary Clinton (then again, who isn't) and with the political spectrum having shifted so far to the right in recent decades, in order to rise to positions of influence, you have to do so by coming from a more central position and playing the game. You may be completely ethical, but it's unlikely that you win with someone like Jeremy Corbyn - and even Corbyn himself has been forced to move more central at certain times, such as his diplomatic view on the EU. Bernie Sanders, for example, is not calling for full out socialism, but rather a more centre left democratic socialism.
What's also crucial about this election is minority representation - Muslims as a whole are one of the most politically disengaged demographics, but since the election of a record 13 Muslim MPs in the 2015 General Election, and now a Muslim being voted in as one of the most powerful men in London, one can only hope that it both represents and inspires minorities to become more involved with politics and create a more democratic society, one that is not just dominated by a single demographic.
The election of Sadiq Khan is a breath of fresh air in a political system plagued by neoliberal orthodoxy and corruption through private interests. While not the ideal candidate to nail down London as the land of Corbyn, his win, for the left, was certainly a triumph - of sorts.Suggest a correction