Full marks to me, plus a bonus ho ho ho, given what happened in Scotland.
Khan's mayoral win was pretty much a given, based on the polls. Now we get to see what he actually does. I've not paid much attention to the candidates' policies, and based on the headlines, this hasn't been much of a 'policies' election, as much as a tribes and personalities election.
Which is an area where Goldsmith fell flat. By all accounts he's been a nice enough bloke as an MP but in the campaign he seemed to display the personality and enthusiasm of, well, something rather inanimate and unenthusiastic. Like a lamp post, or a Rich Tea Biscuit (emphasis on Rich). An aimless billionaire. A Bruce Wayne character without the superhero bits. The main arguments in his favour seemed to be that his policies probably wouldn't have been insane and that per his published tax returns, he bungs over half a million quid to HMRC every year. That gets lots of London lefties cross and resentful, but it's a real contribution to society; a lot of money that the rest of us don't have to pay instead.
But at the same time, if someone's that loaded it's reasonable to ask them why they want the job in the first place, and you'd have thought that campaign strategists would've anticipated the question and made sure ole Zac had a good cover story and could pull off a passably impassioned motivation for wanting to be mayor, as opposed to, say, sitting around in his mansion in a silk gown, being idly rich. (If I had the option I know which I'd choose).
Yet if Zac wasn't hungry, then Sadiq sure was, and if Zac lacked a good story, Sadiq had no such problem. Sadiq KhansonofaPakistanibusdriver (as he seemed to be most commonly described), had heaps of working class cred and of-the-people-ness, and the prospect of Sadiq KhanfirstMuslimmayorofLondonEVAR meant that lots of people wanted him to become mayor just because it would show how right-on and progressive London was, irrespective of his policies. Or character or judgement.
Which gets us to the controversial part of the campaign. We've had the Guardian in a froth for weeks now complaining about Goldsmith's 'divisive' and 'dog whistle' campaign. It may well be so - and some senior London Tories are happy get in on the blamestorming now that the election is lost. Yet that accepts a 'narrative' which might not be entirely true. Nor should it let Khan off the hook if it were. As someone pointed out last week, see whence the cries of 'Islamophobia' came. Call me cynical, but you can be forgiven for thinking that unlike Zac's campaign strategists, Sadiq's camp and allies at the Grauniad saw the difficult questions coming and knew exactly what their response would be.
And difficult questions there were, aplenty. 'Moderate Muslim' Khan was on Press TV and referred to moderate Muslims as 'Uncle Toms'. Zac's racist and says horrible things wails the Guardian, but not Khan, he's gr8 (and the son of a bus driver).
(and this being IRANIAN Press TV, mind you, mouthpiece of a fundamentalist regime which hangs homosexuals and unbelievers from cranes. Oh, and the channel where one Jez Corbyn found a loving home, thus bringing us the delightful footage of Jez nodding along and saying 'good point' when someone phoned in and referred to the BBC as 'Zionist liars'. Not that there's any problem with anti-Semitism in Corbyn's Labour, lest we forget. But I digress.)
This 'association' business (as with Jez), is the real thrust of the arguments against Khan. Khan does have a long and rich history of defending or sharing platforms with extremists, a list so long that I suspect that half the problem was that the list was too long. Peoples' eyes start to glaze over. So many names and photographs cropping up with Khan alongside nutjob A (who says wife-beating is OK) to nutjob B (who's not a terrorist, 'orrible Americans picking on him, until oh shucks, turns out he actually did fund Al-Qaeda and pleaded guilty), to nutjob C who says all Jews must die, to nutjobs D and E and F and so on, so that by the time you got to nutjobs X, Y or Z (was Z another wife-beater or the one who cheered terrorist attacks in London, or was it both? So hard to keep up).
And if everybody else was pointing these things out, then the Guardian was - surprise suprise - spectacularly disinterested. They had their line 'Islamophobia' and the likes of little Owen Jones were going to stick with it, no matter what. Not deny or disprove, because they couldn't, nor try to explain away or justify, because that would've been an argument they could only lose, but instead just shout Tories! Islamophobes! louder and louder and let tribalism take care of the rest.
Does any of this mean Khan's an extremist, though? No. He's made lots of 'progressive' noises too - including voting for same-sex marriage, and in fairness, some of his old chums might be less than impressed with him about that. Instead, what the 'Uncle Tom' remarks and extremist links suggested (at least to me) is that Khan (a) might not be a man with the soundest of judgement, and (b) would say and do just about anything and schmooze just about anyone to win votes.
So when the Guardian's Hugh Muir says:
Goldsmith began the campaign with the reputation of a principled political iconoclast. He ends it as the hustler for whom principles appear optional.
all I can say is that's a bit bloody rich given who the Guardian were rooting for.
If Zac's campaign had focused on Khan's scruples, as opposed to suggesting that he shared the views of the rancid people he's been cozy with for so long, then perhaps he'd have done better.
Or not. Khan had huge swathes of the London vote tied up no matter what. It took someone like Boris to win over a Labour-leaning city like London, and bored billionaire Zac was probably never going to be more than a long shot.
Maybe next time around the Tories should see if Ruth Davidson's up for secondment.