No one can dispute that we are facing a serious cost of living problem in the United Kingdom. Anyone who claims otherwise is living in fantasy land. I have previously warned against Sadiq Khan’s planned expansion of the ULEZ, calling out his stealth tax and highlighting the idiocy of his decision to increase the burden for Londoners living in the outskirts of the capital.
Let’s face it, the Mayor’s decision to press ahead with this unnecessary charge is pure and unadulterated vanity politics. It will impose a huge burden on hardworking Londoners and their families. We are facing a cost of living crisis with spiralling inflation and fuel bills. Yet, Khan wants to ramp up the pressures on us.
Driving to work anywhere in London in a non-ULEZ compliant or exempt vehicle is likely to cost more than a third of the monthly food bill for a family of four. This a huge amount of money for people to be losing every month on top of their already squeezed incomes.
However, would the Mayor take responsibility for that? Of course not. He could not possibly cause any suffering because he is on a blessed crusade against pollution. After all, London’s pollution levels are clearly so much worse for its inhabitants’ quality of life than struggling to afford food, or heating or travel.
Any and all problems can be blamed on central government no matter the cause. For example, any suggestions of TfL being severely mismanaged will be quickly turned towards blaming the Conservatives. In much the same way, any problems with the Met police and spiralling crime rates are not the fault of the Mayor – they are because of central government or maybe even pre-existing structural issues that he could not possibly be responsible for.
Meanwhile, the Mayor is happily chasing headlines with flagship, ground-breaking pronouncements like a new inquiry into the national drug policy. Something that the Mayor of London has precisely zero authority over. The Home Secretary rightly pointed this out at the time: “The Mayor has no powers to legalise drugs. They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives”. His own party gave his grandstanding short shrift and shut down any notion of Labour policy changing on the Mayor’s powers or indeed looking to legalise drug use.
The most important part of Khan’s disastrous tenure as Mayor has been his distinct lack of interest in actually focusing on London, let alone being able to leave office having improved the capital and the life of its people. It is the root of why he has been such a flop. His only focus has been on his spin, quick soundbites and attack lines, vanity projects and the pursuit of headlines. After all, being London Mayor is part of his chosen strategy to become Labour leader and then Prime Minister.
London deserves better than such a self-interested Mayor, a Mayor that cares nothing for the struggles of ordinary Londoners so long as he is able to grab grandstanding headlines.