Monday, 30 May 2016

Khan Falls At The First Fence

Its less than a month since Saddiq Khan was elected as London Mayor.  He has failed the first political test presented to him, and its not as though it was a difficult test to pass.  Has he learned nothing from the political extermination of the Liberals, as a result of their coalition with the most right-wing Tories for decades; has he learned nothing from the experience of the similar alliance of Labour politicians with those same Tories, during the Scottish referendum, that consigned Labour, in Scotland, to almost as worse a fate as the Liberals in the rest of Britain?  The answer is clearly, no. He has not learned anything from those clear lessons, and many more like them in history.  But, then for these career politicians, they are more concerned with keeping themselves in the limelight, and their own moth like attraction to governmental power than any longer term effect on the party that got them elected in the first place.

Khan excused his lash up with posh boy Cameron, by saying that the referendum was about the future of London and of Britain.  Quite true, but then if it is so important why would you suggest to voters that the most right-wing Tory government for years, led by Cameron, has the policies to ensure that future?!  The fact, is and Cameron restated it on the platform today, that there is little difference between the policies of the Tory Remainers, and the Tory/UKIP Leavers, when it comes to their attitude to the working-class and workers rights.  The only difference is that Cameron and Osbourne know that British capital would be isolated and diminished, outside the EU, and hope that they can negotiate the kinds of exclusions they require from EU social legislation, so as to be able to continue to attack workers, whilst the Brexiteers want to begin those attacks on British workers rights straight away.

In the London Mayoral election, those same Tories launched what was almost universally recognised to be one of the most vicious, racist and reactionary campaigns seen for a very long time.  The main target of that campaign was Khan himself.  Khan is a soft Blairite, and yet the Tories tried to make him out to be some kind of radical.  Their campaign, including the use of Prime Minister's Question Time, by Cameron, resorted to the level of the gutter.

If I were a Labour Party member in London, who had helped to get Khan elected, or a Labour voter in London, who had voted for him, in the face of that reactionary campaign, by Cameron and the Tories, I would feel thoroughly betrayed by Khan.  Why would I have got Khan elected as a Labour politician, only to see him stand shoulder to shoulder with that same Cameron, as though they are best buddies?  Its that kind of thing that convinces people that for career politicians like Khan, its all just a game, and that they believe absolutely nothing they say, because the following day they have completely forgotten it, as they try to advance their career.

Following, the reactionary, racist Tory campaign during the London elections, and having won such a clear mandate, Khan had the opportunity to use his platform as London Mayor, and that clear majority, to have set out a clear vision for London in Europe.  He could have set out an internationalist message of solidarity with all workers across Europe, against the nationalist and racist agenda being promoted by the Tories.  Instead of standing on a platform with Cameron, and providing a left cover for the Tories' reactionary agenda, Khan could have stood on a platform with socialist mayors, and politicians from Syriza, Podemos, the Left Bloc and so on, all of whom are fighting against austerity, and conservative policies across the EU.  He could then have been joined by Corbyn and McDonnell, and by people like Yanis Varoufakis who are arguing for a different type of Europe to the austerity ridden, backward looking politics of Cameron and his co-thinkers in other countries.

That Khan didn't do that, and instead jumped at the first opportunity to associate himself with Cameron tells us a lot.  It is a lesson that grass roots members of the Labour Party across the country should learn, and apply in coming months, as they come to select candidates to stand in council elections, and parliamentary elections.  Its time to get rid of the careerists, time servers and closet Tories.

No comments: