Ladies and gentlemen, it pains me to write this, but London has truly fallen. This is no longer the plot of a poorly made, intelligence draining, American flag waving, Gerald Butler starring Hollywood blockbuster from a few months ago. No. This, my dear friends and comrades, is our new nightmarish reality. At the time of writing, violent Islamic patrols have taken to the streets of our once great capital and imposed Sharia law. The sale and consumption of alcohol has been outlawed. St Paul’s Cathedral has been converted into Europe’s biggest megamosque. The Queen has been forced to wear a burka, Parliament has been dissolved, and gays are currently being chucked off the Shard in their hundreds of thousands… Oh wait, that’s actually a load of bullshit isn’t it?
As of the 7th of May 2016, London has itself a new mayor. His name is Sadiq Khan, a 45-year-old son of a bus driver and former human rights lawyer who entered the wonderful world of UK politics back in 2005 – when he was elected as a Labour Party MP for Tooting. He won last week’s Mayoral Election with the largest ever personal mandate in British political history (1.3 million votes), easily beating his Conservative opponent 57-43. As Mayor, his biggest priorities are fixing the housing crisis, addressing air pollution and freezing transport fares. However, if you happen to be one of those sad, pathetic, individuals who get their news from britainfirst.org, you’d think his only priority is to make sure no Londoner is ever late for their morning prayers.
Khan, you see, is a Muslim (Oooooooooh… scary), and despite the fact that his religion has approximately zero influence over his policies (as should be the case in any Modern Democracy), that hasn’t stopped all the usual suspects from throwing a giant tantrum. Leading the charge was Britain First, the far-right political party and notorious Facebook army best known for exploiting dead servicemen and marching through towns with large Muslim populations in their eternal quest for internet publicity. They claim that Khan is an extremist, which is true. In fact, he is such an extremist that he had to put his family under police protection because other extremists weren’t happy with him engaging in man-made law and voting for gay marriage… Hold on, that doesn’t sound quite right.
They would, of course, claim that it’s all about integration; about making sure that people from immigrant backgrounds adapt to the British way of life. What is strange about that argument, however, is that someone like Sadiq Khan should, therefore, be their bloody hero. This is, after all, someone who has completely embraced Britain’s liberal values. Someone from an ethnic minority, working class, background who has gone from a council estate to London’s City Hall – becoming Mayor of what is arguably the de facto capital of the Western world. However as a wise Frenchman once said – “prejudices are what fools use for reason”, and it’s always easier to shout “Aaaaaaaah, watch out, he’s a Muslim!!!”, as opposed to engaging in any meaningful discussion.
It is Saturday 8th of May and #LondonHasFallen is trending on Twitter. Some guy with a Templar logo is talking about Nazis and white genocide. Another genius is questioning whether a Christian Mayor would ever get elected in Saudi Arabia; seemingly unaware that it is precisely our ability to look past ethnic and religious differences that separates Britain from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Britain First’s Leader Paul Golding has succeeded in getting the media to talk about him by turning his back on Sadiq Khan while the latter delivered his victory speech. He must have thought it a real clever protest, although it only mirrored the way in which London’s electorate turned its back on Britain First.
By this point, the freakout was spreading across the pond. Up first was everyone’s favourite conspiracy theorist and general crazy person Alex Jones. Speaking on his radio show, Jones used the opportunity to discuss who he considered to be the true heroes of the Muslim world – Sadam Hussein and Bashar Al-Assad (you couldn’t make this up). The following day came a video from Stefan Molyneux, YouTuber, and Libertarian anarcho-capitalist cult leader. Failing to mention any issue aside from his faith, Molyneux claimed that Khan’s election means that he’ll never visit the British capital again. Don’t worry Stefan, we don’t really want you here.
Over the past few months, I spent some time volunteering for Sadiq’s Campaign, and of the dozens of voters I’ve spoken to, not a single one said a word about religion. To them, the fact that the Labour candidate happened to be a Muslim seemed to have as much relevance as the colour of his shoes (which were brown, by the way). Instead, they were worried that their children could barely afford to get their own home. They were concerned about pollution and about costly transport fares. One gentleman simply wanted to build more bicycle lanes. My point is, the vast majority of those who’ve been freaking out over the election of a Muslim mayor have something in common. The vast majority of them are distinctively-not-Londoners.