A historic turn in UK’s internal politics. For the first time, the the Labour Sadiq Khan, a 45-year-old Muslim, son of Pakistani immigrants, wins the title of Mayor of London. Khan has defeated the Tory Zac Goldsmith, 41, heir to billionaires and aristocrats, winning the seat of one of the most multi-ethnic cities in the world. The new mayor thanked those who voted for him “for having made the impossible possible.”
According to the final data, Khan has obtained 56.8% of votes against Goldsmith’s 43.2%. The turnout stabilized at around 46% (the highest turnover of the last few years on a local level). It did not help Goldsmith – son to the financier Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Queen of the lounges and of the London nightlife – to team up with the popular Johnson in the anti-EU referendum campaign, nor to stir up fear of an “Islamic” mayor.
In his brief acceptance speech, the newly-elected Mayor has reiterated the commitments of his program, from housing to public services, promising voters to give opportunities to “all Londoners.” Then he recalled his origins with pride, sparing a thought to the memory of his father, a bus driver and father of eight children, and thanking his mother, wife, family and all those people who supported him. “I never thought of becoming Mayor of London,” he admitted, recalling the beginning of his career. “Fear does not make us safer, it makes us weaker – insisted the Labour leader – and fear policy is simply not welcome in our city.”
To finish, Khan has mentioned also the “controversy” of the election campaign, saying he was happy that voters have chosen “unity” in the end. Goldsmith, for his part, has avoided controversy, complimenting and sending his best wishes to the winner. During the election campaign, both his adversary and Prime Minister David Cameron pointed at Khan as one who rubbed shoulders with “extremists”. Khan reacted with disdain to these allegations, strongly denouncing the risk of these “racist” messages in a multi-ethnic metropolis of 8.6 million people such as London – where the white Anglo-Saxons do not exceed 45% today – and introducing himself as “a British Muslim who will fight extremists.” Khan’s victory, according to media reports, was celebrated in a “secret” place: obviously, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labor Party, was among the guests.