On 8 May, Sadiq Khan, the son of a Pakistani immigrant, whose father was a bus driver, became the first Muslim Mayor of London. His victory is an overwhelming vote of faith in an inclusive, open and vibrant future – so much of which London itself represents.
Regressionism the way
This is against a backdrop of western politics currently hijacked by regressionism.
In the US, the Republican presidential candidate is an isolationist, stirring up racial and sexual prejudices.
In the UK, the Brexit referendum, a vote which only a minority of the country actually wants, could in the event of a Leave vote lead to one of the most catastrophic episodes in post-war European history.
Here in Denmark, Dansk Folkeparti, driven by a vision of restoring Denmark to an ethnic make-up long consigned to the history books, effectively controls the government. The list goes on …
Disillusionment the result
What is most alarming about the regressionists is not what they represent, but the disillusionment that will undoubtedly set in amongst their supporters if they are victorious in upcoming elections, when the promises made to them are proven to be impossible. The past isn’t coming back. It is a fear of the future that is driving their ascent.
The world is facing huge challenges. Income inequality, climate change, migration, and terrorism are issues that need to be tackled on a platform of increased co-operation, not the opposite.
Khan’s the future
That is why Khan’s success is so inspirational. He sets out a positive vision for the future, representing the very things that the regressionists are so afraid of: deeper co-operation, openness and Islam itself.
Of course Khan is also an ambitious politician. The fact that his first official mayoral act was to attend the Holocaust Memorial was undoubtedly a political as well as symbolic act. And inspirational politicians have a habit of letting us down in the long run.
Nevertheless, his election is an event worth celebrating. The next time you hear someone complaining about the lack of moderate Muslims defending western values, point them in the direction of the politician with the biggest individual mandate in British history: For a positive vision of an integrationist future – for the time being at least – look to London.