London Diary: ‘No Whites-only pics please, we’re Londoners’

London’s pompous mayor Sadiq Khan, already under fire for his over-the-top green policy, is now facing accusations of ‘anti-white apartheid’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (file photo).
London Mayor Sadiq Khan (file photo).

Hasan Suroor

London’s pompous mayor Sadiq Khan, already under fire for exacerbating the cost of living crisis for ordinary Londoners with his over-the-top green policy, is now facing accusations of ‘anti-white apartheid’.

This after it emerged that he has banned his staff from releasing any official photograph that features only White Londoners. All photographs must include coloured people as representing the ‘real’ London.

A photograph of a mother and father with their son and daughter beside the Thames published in an official publication and on the official City Hall website was criticised by Khan’s aides for not representing ‘real Londoners’.

The so-called ‘photogate’ followed a set of new guidelines on showing the mayor in the best light. They were taken down from Khan’s office website after they were leaked to The Mail on Sunday prompting calls for him to apologise.

“All Londoners are real Londoners, no matter their ethnicity, and Sadiq Khan needs to apologise and stop these desperate, politically motivated attempts to divide people,” said Susan Hall, the Tory mayoral candidate at next year’s elections.

According to the 2021 census, London is Britain’s most ethnically diverse region with 46.2 per cent of residents identifying with Asian, black, mixed or ‘other’ ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, Khan is also facing criticism for the amount he spends on public relations. The cost of the mayor’s press office for FY 2022–23 was £1.14 million. He has been urged to spend money on the ‘police not PR’.

More than half of the capital now views him unfavourably, according to a new poll with 52 per cent of respondents saying they didn’t like his policies. Not a good look for him barely months before the next mayoral election.


Brits moving on to a different brew

More tea, anyone? Oops! I got that wrong. In today’s Britain you’re more likely to be asked: “Cappuccino? Or Flat white?”

A country once so addicted to tea that it invented work breaks at 11 am and 4.30 pm named after the beverage, is turning its back on it and surrendering to the seductive charms of Italian and American drinks flavoured to suit your taste. What is happening to British identity?

Here is how bad the situation is. According to figures released by the coffee industry, 63 per cent of Brits regularly drink coffee, as against only 59 per cent who regularly drink tea.

Another statistic: Britons bought 533 million packs of coffee in supermarkets last year compared to 287 million packs of tea. Coffee manufacturers claim their drink is more varied and more dynamic, and sold in trendier ambience than staid teashops.

The situation is grim enough for the venerable Times to warn editorially that ‘tea belongs to an England... that seems to be vanishing, whereas coffee beckons an American or Mediterranean future’. And not just in the realm of tea.


Sunak slammed for mixing up phrases

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been mocked for mixing his metaphors while praising England women footballers, the so-called Lionesses.

He said that although they lost the Women’s World Football Cup final to Spain they left “absolutely nothing out” on the pitch—roughly meaning that they put in their best and the outcome was no reflection on their performance.

He was bombarded with thousands of messages pointing out that the correct expression was that they left ‘everything out’ there. ‘The curse of the posh lad trying to talk footie strikes again,’ wrote one person.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a coaching session for schoolgirls with England Women’s players.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a coaching session for schoolgirls with England Women’s players.

‘Not knowing the difference between nothing and everything is surely worrying in a PM,’ wrote another.

This followed another embarrassing moment when, shortly before the game, he was photographed posing in an ‘England’ shirt that still had the price tag on it prompting suggestions that it he might have bought it just for a photo opportunity. Poor ‘posh’ Sunak!


Goodbye, India Club

London’s famed India Club, founded by prominent figures associated with India’s freedom struggle and regarded as “home away from home” for generations of Indians, is to close down next month after its management lost a long-running battle to save it.

The owners of the building also have a hotel on the same premises, and they want to upgrade it. The India Club lies in the way of their plans. In 2018, they were refused permission by Westminster Council after protests. But this time they have won using a loophole in the rules.

The club was launched in 1950s to promote ‘Indo–British friendship’, and the bulk of its membership came from the India League, a British-based organisation set up in 1928 to campaign for India’s independence.

The famous India Club in London
The famous India Club in London

Portraits of Gandhi, Nehru, and Krishna Menon still line the walls. Now, it operates as an Indian restaurant with much of its original décor almost intact. It is reportedly set to close on 17 September. So, goodbye India Club. Another London landmark gone.

And, lastly, a number of stores in London have introduced a ‘one in, one out’ policy for customers following a spike in shoplifting. Its worst victims are the so-called corner shops mostly run by Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan immigrants.

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