When billions can’t buy you City Hall

7 May 2016

 

“They have the money, but we have people power.”

 

From the launch of Sadiq Khan’s London Mayoral bid, his was a campaign of harmony, energy and vibrant integration.

 

This is about more than securing City Hall; it is about making a colossal political statement. A statement that London chose unity over segregation; that we chose hope over fear. A statement that proves we can tackle racial discrimination, and that we should not be afraid of our own identities. Critical issues like reasonably priced housing and incomes that Londoners can live off will finally be confronted with the urgency they deserve. Despite the comedic value of Boris, London was crying out for a Mayor who will not undermine crucial issues in through absurdity and publicity stunts.

 

Regardless of repulsive tactical attacks from his opponents, the positivity that diffused from Sadiq Khan’s campaign, the dignity by which he proceeded, was incredibly refreshing.

 

 

“Son of a bus driver? First stop, City Hall”

 

We’ve all embraced the “son a bus driver, grew up on a council estate” oratory. It signifies that Sadiq is an ordinary Londoner who understands ordinary struggles. He sincerely wants to ensure that he spreads opportunity throughout the city, the same opportunities he encountered from moving from modest beginnings to embark on a prosperous legal career.

 

If Zac Goldsmith’s repulsive campaign was a prelude to his time in City Hall, we could have expected the politics of fear and smear to reign supreme for the next four years. This was a prospect that the majority of voters could not tolerate, and Sadiq Khan’s positive, energised campaign was the only one that captured the city.

 

Thankfully, we congregate the end of the Boris era. Yet, it’s important to congratulate the outgoing mayor on his achievements. Indeed, whilst Canary Wharf and Oxford Circus are more extravagant than ever, the lives of working-class citizens are becoming increasingly difficult. The capital is growing by some 52,000 households a year. The lack of genuinely affordable housing to cater for these individuals is a failure Boris cannot shirk.

 

Sadiq’s environmental streak was evidenced by his opposition to an additional runway at Heathrow. In a city where 10,000 people each year are dying because of air pollution, the environmental and health benefits could not be more palpable. His pledge to support the proposed cycling and walking bridge across the Thames will not only revitalise the image of our striking city, but will give cyclists and pedestrians the security they deserve.

 

As a Member of Youth Parliament, Sadiq Khan’s enthusiastic approach to youth engagement in politics is mesmerising. This was reflected through the army of young fanatics from differing demographics who supported his campaign. Sadiq’s advocacy for votes at 16 and enthusiasm for the organisation ‘Bite the Ballot’ renders him an inspiration to the younger generation.

 

#YesWeKhan defeated Goldsmith’s divisive campaign. The son of a bus driver beat the son of a billionaire. And now he can start fixing the mistakes of the Boris era.

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