BY FRANK HAVILAND
As a child of the eighties, I hope you’ll forgive my assertion that pretty much any life truth can be found in The Princess Bride (a lockdown must if you haven’t seen it, and well worth a revisit if you have). As a 9-year-old boy, I marvelled at the battle of wits between Cary Elwes’ hero ‘Wesley’, and Wallace Shawn’s criminal mastermind, ‘Vizzini’. Faced with a 50/50 chance of victory in the poisoned cup lottery, Wesley elects to poison both cups – just to be on the safe side. It is a masterpiece of reasoning.
I can’t fight the suspicion that a certain Sadiq Khan (a latter day Prince Humperdinck if ever there was one) is also a keen student of the film. I say that, because Khan seems to have a unique ability to poison both sides of every chalice he lays his little hands on.
Consider this mayoral offering from last week, when Khan took to Twitter to slam London’s 10pm curfew; something he claims to have wanted scrapped ‘weeks ago’:
At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Isn’t this the self-same mayor who, only weeks before, was demanding precisely these lockdown measures in order to safeguard Londoners (an issue we know he takes very seriously)? Yes, I think it was; in fact I’m sure it was.
While Khan is right to want all his bases covered, he forgets the key ingredient of Wesley’s success: wit. In the film, unbeknownst to the audience, Wesley had in fact spent years developing immunity to the deadly ‘Iocane powder’ (an odourless, tasteless poison), which meant he risked nothing.
Khan possesses no such immunity, nor much wit to fall back on. The upshot of which is twofold: first, someone needs to pay for Khan’s continual blunders (have a stab at the latest knife crime figures). And second, something needs to defend him against legitimate concerns of nincompoopery (heard of racism and islamophobia?).
As I read the tweet, and realised Khan’s lie wouldn’t pass muster in a nursery school, a thought struck me: what if Khan simply doesn’t give a shit? What if he’s doing it on purpose? What if the flagrant hypocrisy is actually a show of strength?
It is true of course, the Left’s double standards are so deeply ingrained, calling them out is almost considered bad taste. It’s not racist when the left caricatures Priti Patel as a fat cow. It’s not incitement when the left screams ‘Hang the Tories’. It’s not sexual misconduct when the left errs somewhat in their etiquette.
But still, getting caught is usually accompanied by a charade of remorse. Not so for Khan, who appears totally unfazed simultaneously holding two contradictory positions. Not only does he get away with it, the worst part is he may even be cementing his authority.
Under Khan’s tenure, London has effectively become a rotten borough: a fiefdom upon which his grip is absolute. No matter the feculence of his performance, there is not the slightest chance he will be removed from office. He holds a steady twenty-point lead over his closest rival, which means he can absolve himself of his sins with zero accountability.
And in case we’re not paying attention, the man has form. Cast your mind back to some of our beloved mayor’s greatest hits:
- ‘Face masks must be made compulsory’ said Khan, interviewed while not wearing a mask himself, obviously.
- We can’t have bikini-clad girls erected all over the Tube, flushed Khan prudishly – unless of course they’re black, in which case they get £500k funding for ‘diversity in advertising’.
- ‘Stop Tube travel or more will die!’ admonished Khan; having previously assured Londoners there was ‘no risk’ of catching coronavirus on the Tube.
- Being prepared for terror attacks is ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city, said Khan; unless it’s far-right terrorism, which needs eliminating.
- ‘I’ve fought extremism all my life’, Khan claims (easily done when you’re usually sharing platforms with them).
- There simply isn’t enough money in the budget to cover London’s policing needs whined Khan, as he found a spare £10M down the back of the sofa to determine what colour a copper’s personality is.
- Far-right protests in Westminster are ‘totally unacceptable’ condemned Khan, while naturally expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter protestors.
At a measly £150k per annum, I personally think Khan is good value for money – read as a parody, the Twitter feed alone is comedy gold, but it bodes ill for London. For whatever reason: shifting demography, voting apathy, block votes, or the lack of suitable alternative candidates, if London genuinely cannot rid itself of this two-faced charlatan, then it deserves everything it gets. Or as our hero Wesley would have put it, ‘As you wish’.