In his nearly two years as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has faced some pretty unprecedented crises – from numerous terror attacks in London to the Grenfell Tower fire. So, you can’t say his mettle hasn’t been tested. But this week things are coming slightly unstuck. After winning the London election on a promise to make crime his top priority, the news that London has experienced more murders in the last two months than New York has turned the pressure dial up.
Khan’s response so far has been muddled, an action plan seems lacking and he’s been quick to blame others rather than taking control. An admission overnight that he’s not yet met relatives of victims has only inflamed things further.
There’s no doubt that this is a tough problem to tackle and there’s no ‘quick fix’ solution for it. But this issue is being used by those inclined to air wider grievances about the Mayor’s performance. Too much focus on press releases and photo ops they say, and not enough on strategic planning and thinking. Underneath it all, is an accusation of general underachievement by the Mayor in areas wider than crime – from delivery of affordable homes to getting a grip on long-term transport funding.
Despite all the challenges that London has faced in the last 18 months, it could be this recent spate of crime and killings that proves most fatal for Sadiq. The Mayor can’t press release himself out of this one, and Londoners will need more than a tweet to know that he is in control.