In a scathing piece for the Telegraph, Sherelle Jacobs eviscerates Sadiq Khan’s performance as London Mayor, likening his leadership style to that of a dictator and comparing his reign to that of Soviet leaders. Here’s an excerpt:
The mind boggles when it comes to Sadiq Khan. In many ways, he is a faceless phantom – a fascinatingly bland Labour apparatchik incapable of an original thought or phrase. And yet somehow he has managed to build himself into the consummate dictator-bureaucrat, London’s own answer to Leonid Brezhnev or Raul Castro.
For conservatives he is the ultimate source of irrit-ainment, a figure that is constantly triggering animated outrage over his provocative social media posts and controversial schemes. And yet he is a genuinely disturbing political figure, spinning his own universe of deception out of London’s dystopian hellscape.
The mayor’s triumph at forcing through his Ulez expansion project brings home all this chilling force. It is the most egregious kind of vanity project. As an exercise in green gesture politics that is set to hit low-income residents with steep charges, and penalise communities that are already beleaguered by poor public transport, it smacks of bourgeois dogmatism.
Ulez also offers a masterclass in post-truth politicking. The Tories allege in vain that Khan made ‘false’ and ‘dishonest’ claims to the London Assembly over the scheme’s consultation. It ought to be a full-blown scandal that Khan’s office funded scientists who published studies on Ulez’s effectiveness and then sought to “discredit” those whose findings contradicted grandiose claims about its impact. Nonetheless, by loudly and relentlessly blaring about a “public health emergency”, Khan has reduced the complex truth to just another version of reality.
His obsession with Ulez is truly baffling. It is hardly an election winner, with polls revealing that London is largely split over the policy. Given that most cars in the capital are already Ulez compliant, Khan has essentially launched a pious eco-war against some of London’s most deprived areas for little electoral gain.
Yet in one sense, for a politician like him, it fits perfectly. Having spent a good part of tenure dabbling in BLM iconoclasm, calling for the removal of statues of slavers from public squares, he has moved into the more spiritually ambitious business of constructing a cult of the self.
As his recent book Breathless attests, Khan wants nothing less than to position himself as Britain’s most environmentally enlightened leader – a born again green ‘activist’ who has made the journey from Land Rover driver to electric car evangelist.
Having decided to make the green revolution the centrepiece of his political brand, the mayor has had his work cut out to upstage his no less radical predecessors. After all, the red congestion charge paint splattered across London’s roads serves as a constant reminder of Comrade Livingstone’s reign of terror against motorists. And whatever name anyone else gives then, the capital’s rented wheels will always be known as Boris bikes.
Naturally, then, Khan has set a target for London to be Net Zero carbon by 2030. The extensive green Ulez signage will serve as a constant symbolic reminder of his guiding role in pointing everyone towards green utopia.
Worth reading in full.