UK - Local elections 2021 - Sadiq Khan re-elected Mayor of London
London, 9 May 2021 – In his acceptance speech Sadiq Khan thanked not only Labour Party voters but also “non Labour voters” stressing he will be the Mayor for all and also for all those who did not vote for him.
A number of London constituencies, represented in the British Parliament by a Conservative MP, did confirm their trust in Khan, voting the person and not the party, the successful results of nearly five years of City Hall administration. In the Mayoral contest the opposition candidate, Shaun Bailey, a Caribbean origin young man of working class origin whose family belongs to the Windrush generation, gained 44.8% .of the votes making the final result, at the second round, unexpectedly narrow. Electorate turn out was low this time at 42% .
A strategic choice from the Conservatives who tried to conquer the hearts of the have-nots, of BLM supporters, of the victims of the Windrush scandal generation and their descendants, of those ethnic minorities excluded from high level schools, qualified jobs, discriminated and marginalised. This does not mean Tories are changing their stances and that they are going for social democratic ideals; it’s simply a well premeditated and strategically delivered campaign where who the candidate is and look like has nothing to do with what he stands for.
But, as Mayoral elections in London are a contest in which personal attributes, ethic origin, social background, personal story, community belonging determine the vote for a specific candidate, party politics and political stances are not much taken into consideration as voters, in fact, split the vote for the party from the one for a single mayoral candidate.
It’s not hard to imagine that a black origin person born in a poor estate in North Kensington, the area where Bailey traces his origin, voted him because identifies himself in that candidate, though he is a member of the political party that hit his own community the hardest and recently issued an official report on racism and racial discrimination labelled ‘a denial’ and ‘culture war posturing’ which provoked rage even among the Tories MPs.
The truth of all this is to be found in a place we do not have access to, where polls experts and spin doctors, social psychologists and social media campaigners merge with politicians and party officers to determine how, step by step, make voters believe in their candidate.
That has nothing to do with politics: is transformism. One day Tories wear the white collar of a City’s corporate’s CEO, the day after turn into the Windrush descendant in search for justice for the humble and the poor; here they promise social justice and there deploy the police to shut up not just rallies, but also individual protests.
Tories can turn into anything and anyone that can bring them votes and consensus, put at the frontline the personages and social categories able to conquer the ingenuity of a crowd as wide as possible and wisely choose those the voters can identify themselves with: in London BLM and movements against racism are gaining momentum? Let’s candidate a black minority person; while in the reality Tories are instead enhancing a set of policies damaging this specific community.
As a counter argument, by the way, we should note that on the Labour side the black community is not enough represented, even a high profile MP like David Lammy, beloved by the public, has been kept in the corner until Keir Starmer made him Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. This gap leaves Conservatives the margin to play its the strategy of the chameleon: ever changing and disguising to fool their preys.