I recently opened the Sunday Times to discover that Sadiq Khan is quoted as saying, “I’m too clever to be a bus driver.” This will probably cause at least a raised eyebrow from Jeremy Corbyn, who of course he nominated as Labour leader whilst voting for another candidate.
The reason is that one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most long standing constituency activists and supporters is Vic McGeer, former councillor for St George’s Ward, bus driver at Holloway Garage, T&GWU officer, French linguist and honours graduate of Warwick University.
One can only assume that the Sunday Times was using irony when in the same article the author gushed “imagine the party’s delight when it finally landed a candidate who can be convincingly human.” Presumably Labour’s spin doctors assume bus drivers, even honours graduates, do not read the Sunday Times or are human or indeed read the CV of their candidate.
In a 2015 speech to the lobby Sadiq Khan made the following joke:
“You wait ages for a son of an immigrant bus driver and two turn up at once.”
He was referring to Sajid Javid. It is said that in Labour meetings he tells it with added expletives.
As a tribal politician with a supposedly encyclopaedic knowledge of London politics, he would know full well that the story is incorrect. Syed Kamall is the son of a one time bus driver from Edmonton, which makes the balance 2 to 1 in favour of the Conservatives.
Both Syed and Sajid are immensely proud of their parents. The difference is that neither see political advantage against their opponents in telling of their back stories.
Then there was the visit to Islington on November 8th for the Arsenal Tottenham Derby. Sadiq Khan is said to be a lifelong Liverpool fan.
This is not surprising as he was born in 1970 and in the decade of 1980-90 the teenage Sadiq would have been able to see Liverpool win:
- Seven League Championships;
- two FA Cups;
- one League and FA Cup Double, for only the third time in the twentieth century;
- four League Cups;
- four Charity Shields and
- two European Championships.
Unsurprisingly there were young football fans across the country wearing Liverpool scarves on those days.
So why would a Liverpool fan wear an Arsenal scarf at the Emirates? I was at the game and a number of fellow season ticket holders were asking that very question. Indeed one I know was looking out for Arsenal supporter Damian McBride to ask, as the source for all things on the murky side of Labour, the reason for this.
Numerous fans attend games where they can be considered neutral without wearing a scarf of another team.
He then compounded this by making a crass remark about upsetting his Jewish Tottenham supporters. Lifelong Gooner and former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks as well as numerous Jewish supporters of Arsenal may question that somewhat jaded assumption.
In recent days there has been his flip flopping over the £1.9bn gap in his transport budget, resulting in him cancelling broadcast interviews.
In March 2008 he voted in Parliament against a Conservative motion calling for a delay on the closure of 2,500 post offices which was defeated by 20 votes with many Labour MPs supporting the motion. Leaving the Commons, he proceeded to Tooting to address a meeting… opposing the closure of a post office.
In this campaign he has changed his stance on airports, housing and caused chaos within the GLA Labour group by instructing them not to put an alternative budget to that proposed by Boris Johnson, an event in which the Labour group leader may, or may not have resigned.
This is hardly a recipe for consistency or what he would do as London Mayor when tough decisions are required. His one key issue of consistency is unflinching support for what any trade union demands, regardless as to how it would affect Londoners.
In November 1991 my former MP, Sir Rhodes Boyson said in the debate on the address:
“I have the impression that the Labour party is on every side but suicide in its assessment of every situation throughout the world.”
Sadly, as on so many current matters of real importance and now their nomination for London Mayor, Labour are where they were two and half decades ago.