The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, likes to make a stand. Specifically he likes to present himself (and the city in which he has been elected Mayor) as an antidote to global concerns about immigration, human unpleasantness in general and Donald Trump in particular. For instance, on the BBC on Sunday morning he explained his opposition to President Trump receiving a state visit to the UK. Though he added:
‘If [Trump] wants to meet with the Mayor of London, of course I’d be happy to meet with him and show him parts of London where Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, members of organised faiths and those that aren’t, don’t just tolerate each other but respect, celebrate and embrace each other. I think we can be a beacon, not just to the president of the USA but to the rest of the world as to how we should do things.’
Given Mayor Khan’s eagerness to beat down any and all examples of bigotry and his specific and oft-repeated claims that London is something of a light unto the nations, I cannot understand why he has not gone out to campaign about events I described here a couple of days ago. That is the racist chanting by a crowd at a demonstration in London last Friday night.
It’s very easy to talk about how Buddhists live alongside Muslims, and Jews live alongside Christians. Kumbaya etc. But if you’re going to indulge in that sort of chat, oughtn’t a responsible politician also add something like, ‘Although on Friday night, in the centre of London, we also saw a crowd of Muslims chanting for the death of Jews.’ I cannot see why not. It gives a more rounded, honest and fuller picture of the real situation in 21st Century London. I cannot see why Mayor Khan wouldn’t be willing to include such details in his paeans to multicultural London. And also condemn the crowds involved in such racist abuse in his own city in terms at least as vehement as those he saves for presidential Tweets.