Lee Anderson's comments were lazy, but Sadiq Khan is using identity politics to create division, says Ben Habib

​Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan accused Lee Anderson of racism

Ben Habib

By Ben Habib

Published: 26/02/2024

- 17:12

Updated: 27/02/2024

- 11:12

Reform UK's Ben Habib criticises the furore that has broken out after Lee Anderson's criticism of the London Mayor

It is incumbent on anyone in politics to choose their words carefully and convey their message accurately. Both Lee Anderson and Sadiq Khan were intellectually lazy and inflammatory in the language they used in their recent furore.

The accusation made by Lee was that Sadiq Khan had come under the control of Islamists. Khan hit back accusing Lee of Islamophobia.

First, the use of the word “Islamist” is vague at best. It has come to mean, I think, Islamic extremists. But its literal use would merely mean adherents to the faith of Islam.

Either way, there is no evidence, of which I am aware, that would indicate Khan is under the control of an extreme or other Muslim group.

There is ample evidence Khan holds the United Kingdom, its people, history and culture in contempt. But he does so entirely of his own volition.

There is no group of people controlling him. Khan has relentlessly used identity politics to create division in society. He has been given cover to do so by the regulatory/ legal framework, at the heart of which is the practicing of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI).

DEI is anything but diverse, equal or inclusive. It requires institutions in this country to practice the promotion of minorities, including ethnicities and religious beliefs. It does so to the detriment of the majority white population and meritocracy. Our institutions used not to be prejudiced. DEI now requires them to be so. These regulations were initiated by Blair but it is Lee’s own government that has propagated and accelerated the adoption of DEI in virtually all walks of life.

Khan can be prejudiced and promote his prejudice because he has the regulatory and legal right on his side. Khan is no one’s tool, he has malign intent, personal agency, a position of influence and power. He has the legal system behind him.

The blame for this lies very much with what was until the other day Lee’s own political party, not a force controlling Khan.

Khan’s response is equally intellectually lazy but typical of him. Never one to miss an opportunity to spread division he accused Lee of Islamophobia.

There can be no way he could have inferred that from Lee’s comments. Either Lee’s use of the word “Islamist” meant extremists, in which case that could not have amounted to a phobia; or it meant Muslims in general, in which case, by Khan’s own measure, he should not have been offended – he is after all a Muslim and no doubt influenced by his beliefs.

The losers in this furore are those of us who recognise Khan’s politics to be vile and need DEI exposed for the cover it gives him. If Lee had been accurate in his criticism, and addressed it to his colleagues in office, there was a chance of successfully making the case (correctly) to ditch DEI and stop Khan. Instead, Lee gave Khan the opportunity to wrap himself in the false cloak of an injured minority and to hit back.

In the end it was Lee that was censured, when so much of what Khan says should in fact disqualify him from public office.

If Lee cannot identify the problem and sensibly reveal it, there is no hope of him stopping the likes of Khan.

This is what Lee should have said: "The regulatory/ legal framework promotes prejudice against the white majority in this country.

"It has legitimised their demotion and the attacking of our nation state. Attacks on our history, our culture and our values are given cover by this framework. Sadiq Khan uses this cover ruthlessly.

"The law must be changed to outlaw anything other than all people being equal.”

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