Salutations. By now you have probably heard that the new mayor of London Town is Sadiq Khan. This means that he will be in charge of the UK’s capital city for the next FOUR years. Oh vey. See how multicultural I am? I just mentioned a Muslim mayor and commented using a Yiddish expression indicating grief or dismay. Don’t get me wrong, am sure Khan will do a great job, but London will miss Borris Johnson-our former mayor. Sure, he was a buffoon but he was a wonderful wordsmith, and seemed to understand the challenges that faced (and continue to face #BoroughMarket) the greatest city on earth (after Washington DC).
That being said, here is a brief bio on Sadiq Khan. Oh, they keep banging on how he is the FIRST Muslim Mayor of Europe. Great. I am the FIRST American person to live on this street but you don’t see me mentioning it every FIVE minutes. But I digress, here is what you need to know about Khan. And knowledge is power, people.
Sadiq Khan’s life has been characterised by beating the odds. That may be true but it also makes for a good back story for any politician and also makes for good reading, admit it-you know it is true. I know it and you know it too.
Khan has beaten the odds by becoming mayor of London. Well done. In the early days of the mayoral race, Khan was not even the favourite-Londoners were keen on Baroness Jowell (a veteran of the Tony Blair years and she also helped bring the Olympics to London). In brief, Jowell is a BOSS. But, I digress…
Khan Bio (I khan’t with this guy. Nope)
Khan was one of EIGHT children born to Pakistani immigrants-a bus driver father and a seamstress mother, on a south London estate. Nice… but, yawn, this could be the back story of anyone in London Town-but good for him and mad props to his parents for raising a mighty brood on a London estate. Please note that an ‘estate’ in this sense, means a housing estate- which means: social housing. Got it? We good now. ‘Sorted’ as the Londoners say.
Political Party: Labour, former MP for Tooting since 2005
Previous jobs: human rights solicitor, chair of Liberty
Son of a bus driver
‘Son of a bus driver’ was pretty overused in Khan’s leaflets and speeches as he ran for mayor-but it seemed to work to his advantage and it was true. Wow. A politician who tells the truth. How crazy is that? Plenty. Anyway, Khan’s parents Amanullah and Sehrun Khan emigrated from Pakistan to London shortly before Sadiq was born in 1970. He was the FIFTH of EIGHT children-the Khan’s had seven sons and a daughter. They actually had 2 more children than the Brady Bunch. Wow.
Khan has often mentioned that his early impressions of the world of work shaped his belief in the trade union movement. His dad, a bus driver for 25 years “was in a union and got decent pay and conditions” compared to his Mum, a stay-at-home seamstress “wasn’t and didn’t” according to Khan.
Khan lived with his parents and siblings in a cramped 3BR house on the Henry Prince Estate in Earlsfield, SW London where he shared a bunkbed with one of his brothers until leaving home in his 20’s. Pictured below is Khan (centre) with 2 of his brothers. They seem nice.
Growing up, Khan attended the local comprehensive (school), Ernest Bevin College. It was in school that Khan first began to gravitate towards politics-joining the Labour Party at age 15. Khan credits the school’s head, Naz Bokhari, who was the FIRST Muslim headteacher at a UK secondary school-enabling Khan to realise and confirm that ‘skin colour or background wasn’t a barrier to making something with your life.’ Yes. Preach on.
Khan was raised as a Muslim and has always acknowledged the importance of his faith. In his maiden speech as an MP he spoke about his dad teaching him Mohammed’s sayings or hadiths-in particular the principle that ‘if one sees something wrong, one has the duty to change it.’
Khan was a good student and enjoyed football, boxing and cricket-he even had a trial for Surrey County Cricket Club as a teenager. Khan studied maths and science at A-level and had hoped to become a dentist but was switched on to law by a teacher who told him ‘you’re always arguing’ and was also influenced by the show LA Law. I used to watch Baywatch but that didn’t make me want to go out and be a lifeguard. Nope. But, I guess we are all different. Truth.
Khan went on to study law at the University of North London. He later became a trainee solicitor in 1994 at Christian Fisher under the human rights lawyer Louise Christian. That year, he met and married his wife Saadiya Ahmed, a fellow solicitor/lawyer and coincidentally, the daughter of a bus driver. The pair have 2 daughters Anisah and Ammarah. Later Khan would commence a 12 year stint as a councillor for Tooting, encouraged by the Guyanese-born local activist, Bert Luthers. Oh man, Guyanese people are the best kind of people. Respect. Anyway, just 3 years later at age 27, Khan made an equity partner and the firm was renamed ‘Christian Khan. ‘ During his time as a solicitor, Khan worked on a number of high-profile cases.
In 2005, Khan fought and retained the marginal seat of Tooting for Labour-and became one of five new ethnic minority MP’s elected that year. Many have been impressed by Khan and have said that he is ‘fiercely bright’ and ‘persuasive’ and is an individual who was ‘impossible not to listen to.’ In addition, Khan combines his intellect with what is often called his ‘cheeky chappy’ demeanour. He is fond of calling people ‘mate’ and has even done so on the floor of the Commons.’ Uggh’ in my opinion. Sorry not sorry, but that is not an appropriate way to speak in that particular arena. No. No, it is not.
Khan and his wife pictured below.
Fast fwd to 2015 and Labour had a disastrous showing in the 2015 election, Ed Miliband had resigned as leader of the party (whom Khan had helped get to the leadership position). Then, just a week after the election, Khan announced he would seek the Labour nomination for Mayor. He had already been tipped as a possible contender but with typical shrewdness, he steadfastly refused to be drawn on the subject in public while feeling/sounding out MP’s and councillors in private, to see if he had enough support. Then, once he confirmed his mayoral ambitions, his quest for the nomination still seemed like a long shot as Baroness Jowell, who had been the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood for 23 years (and held a number of senior positions under Labour) was widely seen as the natural choice.
Here is Khan pictured below with Zach Goldsmith-the two frontrunners for the race. Goldsmith later went on to model for Armani. I kid. But he could have if he wanted to. Yes. Yes, indeed. Not sure what these two were even talking about, but I suspect Khan confirmed to Goldsmith that mixing yellow and blue makes green. Well, anything is possible.
The campaign was dirty, not Donald Trump dirty but close. Goldsmith’s campaign portrayed Khan as an associate of ‘extremists’ which in turn allowed Labour to attack the Conservatives for pursuing ‘divisive, dog-whistle’ tactics. Ouch.
Fast fwd and Khan is now the THIRD mayor of London Town. Oh, and he is Muslim too. But of course you already know that. From schoolboy to solicitor/ lawyer to backbench MP and a shadow minister, Khan has done well for himself. Extremely well Those who voted for him no doubt admired his grit and disadvantaged background, his speeches about social justice and his promise to be ‘a mayor for all Londoners’ and American bloggers living in London too. Yeah. And that my friends, is who Sadiq Khan is. Knowledge is power, people.
Here is Khan pictured below with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at an Arsenal match this season.