Socialist Worker

Racism in the race for London mayor

Issue No. 2500

Labours candidate for London mayor Sadiq Khan (left) and previous Labour leader Ed Milliband

Labour's candidate for London mayor Sadiq Khan (left) and previous Labour leader Ed Milliband (Pic: Department of Energy and Climate Change/Flickr)

Zac Goldmsith’s campaign to become London mayor is remarkable for one thing only—its filthy racism.

The defining feature of the Tory candidate’s otherwise dull campaign is dog whistle Islamophobia aimed at Labour’s candidate Sadiq Khan.

From the outset Goldsmith’s campaign has used racially coded language, branding Khan as “radical and divisive”.

More recently Goldsmith claimed Khan had “given platforms, oxygen and even cover to those who seek to do our police and capital harm”.

To his credit, Khan has accused Goldsmith of leading a “coded racist” attack, leaving the Tory campaign in a very bad place.

Unfortunately, Labour’s campaign has also made concessions to Islamophobic scaremongering. One of Khan’s leaflets is proudly headlined, “The British Muslim who’ll take on extremists.” Worse, he has joined in with the demonisation of Muslim women who choose to wear hijabs and niqabs.

“There is a question to be asked about what is going on in those homes,” he said. He even suggested that Muslim women shouldn’t wear face-coverings when using public services.

In an election that will be seen as a referendum on Corbyn’s leadership, it is right to vote for Khan. But Labour’s campaign should be clearly anti-racist—instead of making concessions that boost racists.

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