Sadiq Khan is the London Mayor still. Unfortunately, he was not unseated at his delayed election despite his terrible track record on almost every single major issue that Londoners face, his mismanagement of almost every single major area of competence held by the Mayoral office and his inability to own up to his own errors and mistakes. At almost every opportunity Sadiq will reject ownership of the challenges facing London and blame central government for his own shortcomings.
We are just meant to forget that he failed to meet that vast majority of his own manifesto commitments, despite having that extra year to deliver.
We have all seen the way this Mayor has treated the police and how his lack of support has led to crime spiralling in London with an overall 6 per cent increase since he took over. One of his first acts as Mayor was to cut the police staffing budget by £38m and he turned away from the successful policy of “Stop and Search”. Knife crime has essentially been at record levels for every year of his term – averaging 15,000 recorded offences every year.
By contrast, Boris Johnson’s last year as Mayor had fewer than 10,000 offences recorded. We saw the Mayor admit that London is not safe for women after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard – and yet given that he has had five years overseeing the safety of Londoners there was a remarkable lack of ownership for the clear problem.
In 2016, central government gave him £4.82bn to build 116,000 affordable homes by 2022. By April this year, he had started building fewer than half of those affordable homes. His rate of completion is lower than the previous Mayor’s final term. Moreover, throughout his tenure the number of Londoners in temporary accommodation housing has increased with more than 600,000 households stuck there for the first time since 2006.
Now, instead of focusing on real issues Sadiq has decided that one of his first major policy announcements after his re-election is that pedestrian crossings will be automatically set to the “green man” in an effort to prioritise pedestrians. You would think his hare-brained schemes to damage motorists would have at least been put on the backburner after a High Court case ruled his StreetSpace plan was discriminatory.
Not only is Sadiq ignoring the real issues facing Londoners, but this planned rollout will also actively harm them. The Met Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, has already warned that Sadiq’s low traffic neighbourhood schemes make it harder for police officers to get around London to respond to emergencies. Now the Mayor is rolling out a policy that was proved to prevent the free flow of traffic when it was first tested back in 2018. Just think how much worse off the emergency services are going to be.
We have not even touched on Sadiq’s hideous mismanagement of TfL and the endless delays to the Crossrail project – which was meant to have been completed almost three years ago. As much has his supporters like to deflect TfL’s woes towards Covid – TfL was already collapsing around Mayor Khan before the pandemic arrived on the scene.
Fortunately for Sadiq he now has three more years to finally deliver for London. I will not hold my breath though as I doubt that he will ever deliver for London. His mayoralty has always been about him and building his profile rather than actually being a good mayor, no matter his laughable claim that he has no other political ambitions.
After all, his priority has always been his PR department and his office rather than London. We should never forget that despite cuts throughout London, including the fire service and police, this is the Mayor that spent the first three years of his term increasing his PR budget by 33 per cent and the overall spend on his office by 60 per cent.