Sadiq Aman Khan, the British-born son of an immigrant Pakistani bus driver father and seamstress mother, raised on a council estate, law graduate, human rights solicitor who specialised in challenging the establishment, is the Labour party’s newly elected mayor of one of the great world cities and is the first Muslim mayor of any EU capital. Is this really a cause for celebration, except in North Africa, the Middle East and small pockets of this country? I think not. How long will it take before a Christian becomes mayor of Baghdad, Cairo, Tunis or Riyadh? I think never.
Khan has aggressive and argumentative tendencies but, having just been sworn in to the post, there can be no telling yet how good or bad he will be presiding over our nation’s capital. His religion, of which he is a firm and proud adherent, will inevitably be a strong guide and provide a powerful motivation for the conduct of his tenure even though it espouses many doctrines that are incompatible with a modern, western liberal democracy. Given these conflicts I believe his actions, associations, attitude and loyalty will need constant and close scrutiny. With a multitude of co-religionists under his sphere of influence, expectations will be high among them that their interests rank high on his list of priorities. After all, without them he would not have the job.
And what is to be made of Labour easily retaining control of Rotherham council and the continuation in post of the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner? Far be it for me to suggest a link between this and the make-up of the local electorate, who clearly feel safe, dare I say untouchable, in Labour’s hands.
There are two ways to take over a country, the first of which is by military action. For the victim nation this leads to death among its population and the destruction of its property and infrastructure. Once hostilities cease and the aggressor is ensconced, one usually witnesses resistance being punished, free speech forbidden, culture suppressed, rights suspended but a strong, festering disaffection toward the intruder.
For an invader with patience and an eye on the long game, an unarmed alternative method of conquest exists; immigration. This involves the slow but steady entry to a new land and basic immersion within that culture. It is important to arrive few in number at first and ideally by invitation. Next, feign assimilation by smiling politely, notionally playing by the rules and causing little trouble whilst continuing strong ties with what will always be the mother country. Having become broadly established and accepted, the opportunity then arises for more arrivals. New generations born in the new land, preferably in large numbers, means foothold strengthened. Bolstered in number, it would then be logical to feel heartened and no longer prepared to tolerate a second class condition. Time to begin making demands of government, one which, if weak (or beset by post-colonial guilt), would readily acquiesce – entrenchment thus assured, whereupon it then becomes only a matter of judging if or when to make the move to higher status.
Britain is a long established country with an extensive, rich history and culture and was, until recently, settled and stable. Students of classical history will know of the dilemma faced by Valens in AD376. Thousands of people, mostly Goths who were fleeing from the Huns, crossed the Danube and sought admission to the empire. Hoping they would become farmers and integrate with Roman society, the Emperor allowed them to settle. However, they became disaffected and demanding; skirmishes broke out and then full-scale resistance ensued. The attempt to deal with the revolt resulted in the Battle of Adrianopole, which was a disaster. Valens was killed, along with generals, the core of the army and many administrators. The Goths became emboldened and the battle is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.We have now reached a modern inkahnation of that dilemma, not just in the UK but also the wider western world. To quote Winston Churchill: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
As a footnote, it may be of interest to know that originally Khan was a title for a sovereign or a military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Mongolic and Turkic tribes living to the north of China. Today it has many equivalent meanings such as commander, leader, ruler, king or chief.
By extension a Khanate is a political entity that can be equivalent to tribal chiefdom, principality, kingdom or even empire. To cite a more modest recent domestic example, one might look to Mohammad Lutfur Rahman, a Bangladesh-born British former solicitor and politician, who was the first directly elected mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. He attained that office in 2010 as an Independent, having previously been Tower Hamlets’ leader from 2008 to 2010 for the Labour Party. He was re-elected at the 2014 mayoral election, but the result was declared null and void on 23 April 2015 when the Election court officially reported Rahman to be “personally guilty” of “corrupt or illegal practices, or both” under the Representation of the People Act 1983. He was thus removed from his office with immediate effect and was also personally excluded from standing for elected office until 2021.
To quote John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”