Latest post on Left Futures

The ridiculous red-baiting of Sadiq Khan

Red KhanThe news that London Labour activists are working their butts off to secure a victory for Labour’s candidate in the London mayoral elections, on the grounds that Labour electoral success is good news for the leader of the Labour Party, is hardly the stuff of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism.

Yet such is the substance of a recent front page splash in the London Standard, published online under the somewhat lurid headline of ‘Revealed: Hard-Left plot to back Sadiq Khan in bid to strengthen Corbyn’.

In what is breathlessly described as ‘a setback to the Tooting MP’ that ‘damage[s] Sadiq’, the Standardcan reveal that leaders of the controversial Momentum group told activists to support the Labour candidate’. How very dare they! I’ll have words with that Lansman fella next time I bump into him, you see if I don’t.

Then again, as a journo myself, I do love a story you can play either way. Imagine the coverage that would have ensued had Momentum told its members to abstain from the campaign, or only to throw themselves into it in a half-hearted manner.

This is pure ‘no lose, churn it out in your fag break, writes itself, guv’nor’ stuff for the average hack. The British steel industry may be in crisis, but by golly, the press can still churn out enough boilerplate to make up for it.

This morning we were treated to another installment of this variety of undiluted tosh, this time from the pen of Boris Johnson and available on the Telegraph website.

Everybody’s favourite Bullingdon boy was able to tear himself away from his Tory leadership bid just long enough to pen an article making the case not that Khan doesn’t love Jezza, but that he does.

In less than a month’s time, there is a real danger that the Corbynistas will capture the London mayoralty. Who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the party leadership? Sadiq Khan. How did Khan himself secure the mayoral nomination? By ruthlessly outmanoeuvring the favourite – Blairite Tessa Jowell – and sucking up to the Corbynistas. And now – unless we can elect Zac Goldsmith – they will plant the red flag back on the top of City Hall.

So he warns and note how he says all that like it’s a bad thing. There follows a long list of policies that are within the gift of the London mayor, and imaginative ways in which Khan might subvert them to further insidious ultra-leftist aims.

Is there a correct Trotskyist line on low carbon buses? Does it particularly matter to the capital’s toiling masses if some dreary low rise office block in Moorgate gets knocked down to build a trophy skyscraper for a megabank? I really don’t know. The job of London mayor is one for fine-detail policy guys, and I’m certain Khan and his wonks will ace it.

The point is that major political parties are not monoliths. Seven people sought the Conservative mayoral nomination, which Goldsmith secured. Those Tories who backed other runners for ideological reasons will now loyally get behind the victor, and nobody would expect anything else.

Similarly, many Labour lefties would have preferred the nomination to go to Diane Abbott. But it didn’t. After a scrupulously democratic contest, Sadiq got the gig. As a result, all Labour Party members, irrespective of where they stand internally, will not stint in the drive to get him ensconced into that funny-shaped building south of the river.

All of us are well aware that he is no Corbynista, thank you very much. But that is irrelevant right now.

The polls are looking good. And as Johnson and the Tories know, our street machine, especially in inner London, knocks seven shades out of their comparatively feeble counterpart, and we will deploy it relentlessly to put Khan in charge of our city.

Johnson’s resort to cheap red-baiting is a pretty obvious indication that the Conservatives know they are looking at a serious defeat. Rattled, much, mate?


  1. It is clear that you are surprised that smear tactics are part of politics. How come? The big issue is that the public should be prepared for this, and its always going to be the case.

    On the level of practical politics, the Tories have always outgunned the Labour and Lib Dems by having a Machiavellian attitude to the truth. Sadly, in the budget reply last November, McDonnell denies that the Tories were Machiavellian.

    they are, and that should be the message at all times.

    Trevor FIsher.

  2. David Pavett says:

    The idea of Sadiq Khan as a Corbynite front man is a clear example of the old adage “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

    I voted for Corbyn and I do what I can to support him (which does not require me to agree with everything he says and does). I certainly preferred Sadiq Khan to Tessa Jowell like many others with views similar to mine. That doesn’t make him into my kind of politician but it does mean that he was preferable to Tessa J.

    It really is that simple. Everyone in politics makes this sort of decision all the time. Is it too difficult for journalists to understand? Of course it isn’t, but remember the adage. If you want a sensational headline and you have no principles then what’s the problem?

    P.S. Lefties didn’t necessarily opt for Diane Abbot. Many of us don’t care for what we see as her often less than close engagement with the detail of the causes she espouses. It is not enough to have a reputation as a leftie. What is needed detailed analyses that support one’s political preferences. I voted for Christian Wolmar as my first choice because he actually knows a thing or two about transport and housing and favours public solutions to public problems on the basis of detailed consideration. I don’t care much for the celebrity effect in politics any more than I do in general social life.

  3. Susan O'Neill says:

    How about a mainstream media outlet “revealing” that “leaders of the controversial Tory Party, currently in office with only 24% of the votes cast, led by the controversial Bullingdon boy Boris Johnson, has been telling Tory supporters to support the Conservative candidate”. That most definitely is a setback and very damaging to the Conservative Party leader “Dodgy Dave” and damages Goldsmith. Wow what a scoop!

  4. John says:

    “The polls are looking good. And as Johnson and the Tories know, our street machine, especially in inner London, knocks seven shades out of their comparatively feeble counterpart,…”. Didn’t we say something similar during the General Election campaign, only to discover that the Tories had spent a fortune buying Facebook & Twitter demographic data and then targeting their message to where it would win them votes. Lets hope “…Khan and his wonks…” have learnt the lesson and won’t be caught out.

© 2024 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma