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Sadiq Khan: The Dark Side Of The Police. How Safe Are We REALLY? | E216 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Sadiq Khan: The Dark Side Of The Police. How Safe Are We REALLY? | E216".
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Let's be frank. Donald Trump was obsessed with me. The mayor of London was a somebody of my background, my faith. He wouldn't respond the way he did, would he? - Mayor of London, Sir Deep Khan is the first Muslim man has made some powerful opponents. - The new image of Britain's multicultural society. The mayor is with us. - Do you think London's safe? - Well, we've reduced homicides, life crime, crime crime. - I don't think people feel safe in London. - I'm not excusing it, I'm explaining it because of consequences. There's been a lot of instances of police officers who have attacked raped women and girls on the streets of London. What are you doing about that? - We're doing it now. How? - I've been criticized for this. Since you were elected mayor, what are the things you look at and go, do you know what I failed there? - Well, that's a good question, but I'm running for reelection in 467 days time. I've not got lots of that question, honestly, because the other is gonna use a gamesp. - You can't tell the truth because someone might use it against you. - I think most MPs have got to be inauthentic. - I'm too wide because... - What's been your hardest day as London mayor? - There's been a few. - At least 58 people were killed in the fire of Grenville Tower. - As I still remember the images, I still remember the heat. One family, six people wiped out and a number of terror attacks in London, London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Finsbury Park. I went to a lot of funerals. That some was hard. Yeah. I just wanna start this episode with a message of thanks. I thank you to everybody that changed and to listen to this podcast. By doing so, you've enabled me to live out my dream, but also for many members of our team to live out their dreams too. It's one of the greatest privileges I could never have dreamed of or imagined in my life to get to do this, to get to learn from these people, to get to have these conversations, to get to interrogate them from a very selfish perspective, trying to solve problems I have in my life. So I feel like I owe you a huge thank you for being here and for listening to these episodes and for making this platform what it is. Can I ask you a favor? I can't tell you how much you can change the course of this podcast, the course of the guests we're able to invite to the show and to the course of everything that we do here, just by doing one simple thing. And that simple thing is hitting that subscribe button, helps this channel more than I could ever explain. The guests on this platform are incredible because so many of you have hit that button. And I know when we think about what we wanna do together over the next year on this show, a lot of it is gonna be fueled by the amount of you that are subscribed and that tune into this show every week. So thank you, let's keep doing this.
Personal And Political Journey
Early years (02:23)
And I can't wait to see what this year brings for this show for us as a community and for this platform. Sadiq. Give me your context. I spent a long time reading through your backster and I think it's an especially important place to start because it appears to be much of your reason for being and your reason for doing. So can you take me right back? I wanna hear about Pakistan. I wanna hear about your earliest years in London. Sure. So first it's a pleasure to be on this, Stephen. Can I just say two things before we start? It's not maybe in a sick event and please don't think I'm being patronized. But firstly, I think you realize that you're a massive role model to so many Londoners. And there are people that you will never meet who you've had an impact on. And so thank you firstly for that. And I meet people that you don't meet who when I say who's your own models and I pray you and I to give examples of the hard work you do. So thank you for that. But secondly, congratulations. It's always lovely to meet somebody who's incredibly successful, who's normal. So my family's story is quite complicated. My grandparents and great grandparents were in India, both on my mom's side and my dad's side. And the story of India is India was part of the British Empire. And the short version of the long story is in 1947, the British decided to give up India and partition India. I don't want to go into dividing rule and stuff, but there'd been sectarian violence now between Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus and a Muslim in India wasn't safe. Just like a Sikh and Hindu, generally speaking in West Pakistan and youth Pakistan, won't say why, because these countries were going to be ostensibly Muslim. And the middle India, ostensibly Hindu and Sikh. So my grandparents and great grandparents left everything behind. Everything behind. So my parents had experienced being immigrants once already, right? From India to Pakistan. And they had a comfortable life in Pakistan, middle class, up middle class. My dad decided he was in the Pakistan Air Force. He went first to Australia. And if any Australians watching this, this is no aspersion on your country, it's a great country, right? He didn't really like Australia. And so when he went back to Pakistan, he didn't want to go to Australia to live. And he came to London. And he made London his home. And this is a London, which yes, when he first came, there were signs saying, "No blacks, no Irish, no dogs, by blacks, anybody who was in white." And when I compare my mum and dad who travelled, you know, three, four thousand miles, learnt a new land weight, learnt a new culture, raised a family. I was born in Tutan in St. George's Hospital. I first lived a mile up the road in the Henry Princess State on a council estate. My parents moved a mile the other way after is when my dad managed to save a deposit for a house. And I now live a mile and a half from her eyes born. So I've literally gone up a mile radius, right, from her eyes born. You know, my grandparents and my parents had this huge strife and travel this way. So I'll be the first con in three generations and not to be a migrant, because I'm staying here. That whole experience growing up in a house of 10, 10 people, eight siblings in total, in a council house. - Flat flat, yeah. - Council flat. The immigrant story you've told there, watching your parents struggle to provide for both, for all of you, what imprint has that left on you? When you look back and go, that's why I am the way that I am. That's, it's really, I'm really trying to get at the real defining attributes, the things that make Cydic different from the average person on the street, the work ethic, the, you know. And with that, I also want to know, you know, one of my guests on this podcast that was the coach from Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant said that we all have a dark side. And much of our dark side can be attributed to the thing that makes us quote unquote great. - You see the last dance? - Yeah, I got it. - That's amazing. - All my favorite from upstairs in the wall. - Yeah, so, so, I think you tend to mirror emulate and be like those you're around. You copy their mannerisms, their behaviors and so forth. And I always raised in a family where we felt incredibly privileged. My mum and dad both made sure we understood that this privilege meant the way the responsibility to, you know, listen to your teachers at school, to work hard and, you know, to not be a shirk of basically. And so, you know, all of us not just had a really good work ethic still do. All of us also, it's interesting, I just think about this the other night, I've given something back, whether it's coaching in boxing or whether it's, you know, volunteering at a swimming club, whether it's, you know, politics or whatever. Because that came from our parents, what we saw in relation to, and also what we saw was going on in the estate and our friends are doing and stuff. And, you know, the interesting thing about our estate was everyone worked, all the dads worked. Most of the moms had a job and, you know, there was a work ethic and a sense of community. I'm not pretending it was brilliant, roasting to classes and stuff. But yeah, so, you know, my wife often, you know, jokes that, you know, I can't sit around doing nothing. I've always got to be doing something because I was saw my dad doing something. Even if it went on, you know, the odd day he'd have half he'd take us to museums, take us to galleries, go out on a tour of London, go to Hyde Park. So, so there was no time for doing nothing.
Working all the time (08:14)
And so it's really, and so it's harder me to actually spend downtime, go to the theatre and just do leisure or, you know, read a book for the sake of reading a book and stuff. Because, you know, there were go-goes. - I saw that throughout your story. And I heard it from some of your colleagues as well, that, and I also heard you say, in fact, in one interview where you said that you work seven days a week. That's not very healthy. - Yes and no. So, I'm very lucky. I'm privileged, I'm on Maryland. I did a meeting last week with my staff. And my main sort of top staff. And I said to them last week, listen, I would reply for my job at the next election. In this term, we have 475 days left. That's now down to 467 days left, at the time we're recording this. We've got to work on the basis that there is a possibility, I'll try my best that it doesn't happen. The responsibility I will not be re-elected. When I reply for my job, London's will say no. We've got to use every single day we have left, every hour we have left to make sure we maximize the living for our city, to make it safer, to make it fairer, to make it green, to make it more prosperous. You can't afford to waste this time, it's a privilege. It's a privilege to be one of them. - What about you though, in your family and all the other things that make life worth living? It's not just work, right? - Yeah, but some of the stuff I do is work without being work. I'll give you an example. So, I might go and support a fair to production. My support is going along to watch it and they can then amplify it, I'd be in there, right? But it's a great night out for my phone. Or I might do something with my daughters and stuff. But I recognize that my wife and daughters and my mom and my brothers and sisters and my in-laws have me sacrifices by me doing my job. And I'm cognizant of that and I'm grateful for that. You can't do the job that I'm doing without the support you're founding. By the way, you can also do this job. I work three days a week, the previous guy did that. You can do that, right? But he may not have felt privileged to do the job. I think it's a privilege. And I remember when I was in government. And I remained in 2010. The last year I sat around the cabinet with Gordon Brown and the team. And I think there was some incredibly talented people around that cabinet in the prime of their game. Some incredibly talented special advisors in the prime of their game, we lost at general election and their peak years, they're not in government. They're not advising the government. Had I known in 2005 when I first became an MP and had Tony and Gordon sat down with the 300 plus MPs and said, "Listen, we've got to maximize these five years between 2005, 2010." I think things have never been different because we'd have realized it's a privilege. We're going to use every day we have, so I'm not criticizing Tony and Gordon, but I'm saying you don't know how long you've got your job, right? And so my views, you make the most of it. It's time to rest later on. - That's also not guaranteed though, right? - Well, in terms of life generally. - Yeah, but I love my job. I've been lucky to have three big jobs. I was a lawyer for 11 years, loved it, loved being a lawyer. I was a parliamentarian and a minister for 11 years, loved it. But I'm not the mayor, I've been the mayor for the last six, nine years. And so if you're lucky enough to have a job you love and you're famous sport, you've got to have a sporty family. My wife is so supportive. She's not just an incredible chair, she gives me good advice. She pulls me up when I bring the arrogance home or I have delusions of grandeur. She makes sure I put the bins out. She makes sure that I'm doing my bit whoever you have been up, cleaning up and stuff. You need that at home. That sort of, you need that sense of normality at home. My daughter's Geez. I mean, there's no years of grace in my house. They're both back home now to finishing university. They're both working. And so they're supportive. They support what I'm doing. They know I'm here. - It's a special wife and I said to her, I said, "What are you, what a noise you about, Sadiq?" 'Cause I could tell you what my girlfriend would say in our heartbeat. She said, "Steve, it is just an hour and a half. "How long you got?" And it's a long list. I'm sure there's a long list of stuff. I mean, I think, I think, 'cause people don't get to see that, the impact that being a politician has on the family at home. Now this is one of the things I'm super interested in with all my guests is how that then impacts all the people we don't get to see. - Yeah, yeah. So what I did at early stage was I involved my office. So my team, my office, a lot of them are now my best friends. I've worked with them so long. They know Sadiq and they know the kids. So simple things, my team will send Sadiq and my diary for the weekend advance. So Sadiq, that's what I'm doing. The nights I'm out, the nights I'm in, which things she'll be coming along to. And so the family's involved in that at home we have, you know, on the fridge, which tells us who's at home for walking lunar and so forth. And so we've got, it only works when you share what you're doing and stuff. My wife's got her own, she's got two jobs herself. So it only works if, you know, everyone's on the same page. It does not work and a lot of my friends in politics, marriage breakups, a lot of my friends in the law, marriage breakups, you know, all the sorts of problems and stuff. So you've got to have not just somebody who, you know, is supportive of you doing it, but is an active player and you're doing it. And you've got to make sure that parts of your work life are shared with your home life. There's a couple of conditions we have at home. - What is the biggest friction though, that's the question I ask. - Yeah, so I mean, we don't have much friction at home. I mean, work life balance is an issue. You know, me, me, me, some other family event or me not be able to go to distant friends or relations, social event, but we don't really do friction. I'm trying to, you know, try to think that the last time we had, you know, it's diary management, it's a last Saturday, for example. I was doing something for work and then I promised to go to, you know, party in Eastbourne at anniversary party with a friend and, you know, and then do something back in London on Sunday.
Why are you a politician? (14:21)
So I'm managing that with negotiating that with my wife and my daughters was quite, was quite a feat. - You mentioned you're a lawyer for just more than a decade. I'm always, I think the word is skeptical. I've said this to my hand clock when I spoke to him about like why politicians become politicians. You had a great job. You know, paid a lot of money. You made the decision to quit that job very abruptly and go into politics and become ultimately a Labour MP. - Why? - So, so the, the, the, sort of the qualification to, to, to that question, you're right by the way, that's all right, is it was the MP for two, 10. - Yeah. - So what I wasn't going to do was give up my legal career and by the way, it was, it wasn't just a great little career but a great future ahead of me because, you know, it's just the two of us around the business, very profitable, gone from being, you know, a business to be just employing eight people to more than 50 when I was a partner. But the opportunity came to be the MP for two, 10. Two, 10 are born and raised in, literally. The MP for two, 10 at the guy called Tom Cox, who'd been the MP my entire life. I'd never known any other MP. I'd never been inside the Chamber of Parliament. I didn't know any friends who were MPs. I didn't really know any friends in politics, I don't think. I was a councillor in my spare time. Look, you know, serving the local community. As a lawyer in my spare time, I was in my spare time as chair of Liberty, human rights group, you know, chair of legal action group, a legal aid charity group. But the opportunity came to be the MP for two, 10. And, you know, I couldn't say no. Because, you know, it was the chance to represent my community in Parliament. And the way I described at the time, because people are saying to me, what are you doing? Why, it doesn't make sense. Was, you know, I was blessed to have a good legal career. And if I want a case with my client, he was she benefited, or if I settled the case. If the case went to one of the higher courts, we'd set a president. Set in a president means that other people benefit from the president of the case, because you've changed it all. And that's a big deal, and, you know, I was blessed to do that. But when you're in Parliament and you're part of the government, you can pass legislation or a mental legislation that affects millions of people. So not just people in Tutin, but people across our city and our country. And being the MP for Tutin was why I came up with the legal career. And not to be an MP for MP's sake, to be the MP for Tutin. Why does that matter to you? Helping millions of people. It's public service, right? It's the ability to impact and improve people's lives. I could have, you know, when I left law school, got on work in the city and, you know, being a city lawyer. But I chose to do the law that I chose to do for a variety of reasons. You know, it's important for me to be a lawyer practicing, you know, discrimination or, you know, issues around police misconduct, issues around employment law, doing litigation, the sort of cases that I undertook. What motivated me was this issue of action on behalf of the underdog, being the advocate for people I grew up with who were routinely, you know, the wrong end of the Suss law, stop and search. People I knew who were unfilly dismissed, people who, you know, I was aware of who had been discriminated against, you know, acting for the victims of miscarriages of justice. That was important to me. Why? A number of reasons. My inspiration for being a lawyer is, have you read "Killer Mockingbird"? No. I wouldn't be able to be Atticus Finch, right? You know, we wouldn't be Atticus Finch. And then when I watched, when I was growing up, this program on TV, you're too young to remember it, called LA Law, I wanted to be this local Fuentes. Jimmy Spence played this lawyer who was doing this for really good cases. But also, remember a number of things happened around that time where I felt helpless. You know, the way my dad was treated in his bus garage, the bus garage closing down, felt helpless, we couldn't do anything about it. You know, going to a march is fine, but you need to challenge this in the course, if you could. If you couldn't use the core system, you got to change the laws. You know, seeing Friends Street the way they were. And I thought that it's not wrong, that there's no way of helping, you know, people who need help. And being a lawyer is a noble thing. I know people, I know lawyers get a bad rep, you know, some lawyers do a lot of money. But people do the law that I was doing, you know, don't earn a lot of money, some do. And I was very lucky to do well. But it's important to me, public service, to act on behalf of these people, who acts on behalf of the person who's the receiving and the policeman's conduct, who acts on behalf of the person who's, you know, discriminated on the grounds of their race or gender in the workplace. So what I got from that is your dad was, I'm trying to understand the personal reasons why you chose that path, which is like, you know, like we've all chosen our paths for interesting reasons. I think a lot of my path was defined by my own insecurities as a kid. What I've heard there is your, the thing about your dad's bus depot being shut down. That's gouging. That's gouging. And then there was some of your friends in your life had experienced certain types of abuse that were because of their race or, but also mistreatment by the police. That was your like personal motivation. - Yeah. Yeah. So, so, those are my experiences. My experience to grow up was that, you know, actually life isn't always fair. And you need somebody to be there to help you. And it's never been about, you know, it sounds, you know, frankly speaking about, you know, wankerish, but it's never been about yourself making money. None of my siblings have, you know, followed, followed paths, which is interesting.
What direction do you think London has gone in in the last 10 years? (20:05)
None of us have followed paths where, it's been about, you know, making money for money's sake. It's about doing a job we enjoy and trying to give something back where you can, whether it's been a teacher, whether it's being, you know, a coach or whatever. - Over the last 10 years, in your own view, which direction do you think London has gone in as, in terms of like safety and in terms of desirability and in terms of world influence over the last, let's say, 10 years? Cause it's, I think it's my view that it's, it's probably gone in a negative direction in terms of like influence, safety. And yeah, I think generally like the respect of the, of the capital. And I think a number of factors have contributed to that. Obviously the pandemic has been a big one, but then I think generally the, the knife crime issue and the safety issues. And these are all things influenced by biases, right? Cause I was, when I moved to London, I was burgled really badly. 3M in the morning, came in my house, stole everything. We never heard anything back from the police. There was no interest in, in helping us. So, but just generally I've lived in other parts of the world. - Yeah, no, sure, sure. - You know, lived in the Middle East, lived in, spent time in Dubai, lived in New York for many, many years. New York's not necessarily safe at all, but other parts of the world seem to be much safer. And it's funny cause when I speak to some of my friends who've been successful in business and they talk about why they're leaving the UK, it's one of the top three reasons is always safety. It's always, I don't feel safe in London. Before we, before we had this conversation, I was listening to Amia Kahn talk about him being robbed on the High Street in London, coming at a restaurant at gunpoint, you see the footballers, the Arsenal players all being robbed at knife point on moped. My girlfriend had her phone snatched out of her hand while walking, you know, and you just think, "Oh God, it's not safe to be in London." - First is, I'm really sorry about your experience and I wasn't too distressed. So, if you look at London over the last 10 years, the last 20 years even, if you park Brexit for a second, because we can come back to that in relation to the impact of Brexit on London. London is a global city, you know, and I wanna go to various metrics, but we do incredibly well as a global city in relation to foreign direct investment in relation to the diversity of people coming to London, in relation to the tourism in London, in relation to retention of talent. In relation to the diversity of our economy, it's not just the financial services, professional services, legal services, life sciences, higher education, culture, tech, so forth. So, the underlying strengths are still there and we are doing incredibly well. We punch well above our weight in relation to the rest of the country. Because of how well we're doing, we contribute roughly speaking every year and net to the treasury at 42 billion pounds and it's been going up over the period of time. So, we, you know, as a slice of the National Pi contribute far more than we're supposed to be, be it mind the size of our city. And this because we've managed to attract talent and keep talent. - That's why I'm here. - Yeah, but the reason why I might go is because it's-- - Well, it becomes a second year. And so, one of the challenges we've had posed Brexit is to keep that talent home and we can talk about some of the stuff we've done to keep it. In relation to self safety, it is a fact and I'm really sorry for your experience, genuinely stupid because I meet two and if you like you being the victims of crime. But I'm afraid the bad news is since 2012 and nationally 2013, serious violence has been going up since 2013 across our country, including London. London is not separate from the rest of the country and feeling the impact. Now without excusing criminality, and I'm not excusing those people at Bergl-J-Haus by the way, and I'm not saying this within motivation, but there is a link between, and crime is complex causes by the way, without excusing it, you know, and I believe very simply you've got to deal with it in two ways. One is to be tough on crime, more policing, given the support they need to make sure they do with the criminals, I call it a public health approach, that comes to the experience I mean, and tough with the complex causes of crime, relation to dealing with underlying causes, deprivation, poverty, alienation, inequality and so forth. You can't escape the fact that since 2010, we've had massive austerity in this country, so there have been 21,000 fuel police officers across the country in the last 12 years. That is a fact. We've got youth clubs that have closed down, youth centers closed down, our civil club's not taking place, weekly clubs are not taking place, unemployment's gone high until very recently and so forth. I'm not excusing it, I'm explaining it. And so, you know, when I became mayor, one of the things I promised Londoners I would do is to be straight with Londoners about the problems in relation to, I was quite clear straight away, saying listen, these cuts have got consequences, and we've got to recognise their consequences, so I'm going to use the limited powers I have and raise council tax. That's one lever to bring money in and use it to pay for more police officers. And I was pretty excited for doing so, but I had to do it because of your experience was when I'd heard too many times before. So we've paid for 1,300 more officers, not enough, but it's what I can do. There's a limit how much you can raise council tax to, it's a regressive tax. But also use business rates, money to open up youth clubs again, youth centers, employee youth workers, have summer schemes, we have now 32,000 mentors, we're going to get to 100,000 of the next two, three years, mentors are crucial in my view. And the good news, I'm not complacent at all, and the mayor carne's experience was also awful, was the good news is we have bucked the national trend. So across the country, homicides are going up in London, they're going down. We've reduced homicides, knife crime, gun crime, teenage homicides, burglary since I became mayor, knowing they're low enough, because we've got to invest more in the police and invest more in the causes of crime. And when I talk about public health approach, Stephen, what I mean by that is this, think of crime as you would a public health issue. What would you do? You deal with the infection, you've got to kill the infection. More police officers, you've got to arrest people. You've got to stop the infection spreading, really important when you stop the crime spreading, people thinking that you can be successful by being a criminal, we've got to stop it, deal with the gang, so forth, but stop the infection occurring in the first place, stop the crime occurring in the first place. And it's a source of pride to me. We've not made the progress, but our policies, being tough on crime, invested in the police, and we are reforming the police at the same time, but also investing in young people is leading to the turnaround in London, and we've bucked the national trend in London. And as a global city, as a global city, you speak to as I do regularly, the mirror of New York, the mirror of Chicago, the mirror of LA, those are our comparators with respect, not... Do you know what I just like to feel really safe? When I go to other places, if you go to somewhere in the Middle East or Dubai or whatever it might be, you feel exceptionally safe, you know? So, to be honest, I went to Indonesia, I was in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago, I was in Bali, I said to my girlfriend, I said, "You could leave your wallet on the floor here, "and it would still be there an hour later "when you come back, you do that in London." You know, not only have you lost your wallet, but you probably come back, you've lost your shoes or something, you know, like... There's also a great charity generosity, and, you know, Londoners aren't all quite like that, Stephen, to be fair. I don't think they feel safe. I don't think people feel safe for now. No, no, no, and more so if you're all the one or a girl, if you think you don't feel safe, one of the big challenges that we've got is making sure that women and girls feel safe. Is this all solvable in your view? Without a doubt. We saw in the... We saw in the 2000s, you know, between 1997, and, you know, the mid-norties, huge progress made in reducing crime. And it was... Did you know the two things that I said? You're going to be tough and crime, tough in the causes, you're investing in policing, but also investing in the causes of policing. Definitely a solvable. We've made progress in the past. We've made progress in London, and now... We've got to make sure at the same time, of course, you know, we're reforming the police, we'll publicise issues in policing. Londoners have got to be the eyes in the years. There are some amazing citizens in London who, you know, would return the wallet to you, you know, if you'd lost it or left it around in London. We'll report something taking place. We'll come forward if they're a witness of crime. We'll come forward and support the police that are victim of crime.
The knife crime problem (28:31)
We'll join the police service. These problems are definitely solvable. We've got it in the past. We're doing it now. And the possibility, you know, in the not-dissed, distant future of a, you know, changing government and a government that invests in public services, it's definitely solvable. On one of the points you made there about the infection spreading, I thought it was quite compelling. I was reading about the story of, I think it's Hars Ratwale. The story of an 18-year-old guy who was in Twickenham was approached by a 16-year-old kid, ended up being stabbed to death by an 18-inch knife because he got into an argument with this person. And when that 16-year-old that stabbed him to death was asked, he said he stabbed him because he was... People in his life had been victims of knife crime. And he thought he was scared that Hasrat would have a knife himself. That's the infection you're talking about. Yes, basically what happens is, some young people that I speak to will think the way to be safe is to carry a knife because they suspect you might be carrying a knife, right? And so we've got to get the message across that, you know, leaving it home with a knife doesn't make you more safe, it makes you less safe. So if you go to a primary school, not a secondary school, a primary school across the country, by the way, and you have a classroom of 30 people, and you say, how many of you know somebody carrying the knife, you'll be shocked the number of hands that go up in a primary school, right? Secondary school is even higher. And so there is this belief amongst young people that carrying the knife makes you more safe, not less safe. And by the way, I went to a tough secondary school, lots of fights, nobody even thought about taking a knife to school, right? I'll get involved with knives at all. And, you know, so we've got to deal with that issue at source to make sure young people are in the danger. So we're going into schools speaking to young people, people with credibility. You've got to have somebody who's, the message carrier needs to be somebody who kids respect and will listen to, right? And so getting people to go into schools to explain the dangers, sometimes it's a bereaved mum. A bereaved mum can be really effective in explaining the story about her son, tends to be boys, about her son, and the dangers of carrying the knife. So we've got to stop it at source. We've also got to make sure, frontly speaking, that there's intelligently stop and search. 'Cause if you're carrying the knife, I want you to be stopped and searched. And if you've got a knife, take an off you. I would make progress in taking knives off people, which is saving lives. Weapon sweeps is really important. But also if you're caught carrying the knife, there's got to be serious sentences. There's got to be a consequence of you carrying that knife. But, you know, and that's why we've got these conversations. That's why it's the public health approach. And it is leading to, you know, huge reductions. You know, over the last year, we've had a 55% reduction in doing trauma sites. Not enough. One is one too many. You know, a few homicides last year, then when I first became mayor, not enough, but we're making progress. Because the investment is now starting to pay dividends in relation to youth clubs, youth work going into schools, more police officers. - There was a big drop in knife crime, wasn't there? Was it 2020, would I say? - So is that the pandemic? - So the pandemic, we saw reduction, a number of reasons, obviously, for three months, people, there was lockdown and stuff. But that progress, we've carried on, but it started going on before the pandemic. We first started investing, it was called the Young Londoners Fund in about 20, 18, 19. It takes some time to get youth workers back employed, youth centers back open. And also young people starting to have these points landed on them. It's not, there's not, you know, a light bulb moment, it's going to take time. It's been time of them. That's why mentors are so important. The reason why I made the point at the beginning, Stephen, about you as a role model is, you know, I'm a phone believer and you can't, you can't beat it if you can't see it, right? I was lucky, I was lucky that I saw at home, my mum working really hard, my dad working really hard, my big brother's working really hard, I had role models. A lot of young people haven't got that role model at home. The youth worker is that role model. A youth worker is an amazing asset to a young person if you've not got the role model at home, in relation to a big brother, a friend, somebody who can ring up, somebody who can give you careers advice, you know, a lot of young people don't have to put up a tie, right? They don't have to shave. Can't go for a job interview. Those soft skills were teaching young people. Now you may think, you're teaching young people those soft skills, because they need those soft skills. Well, knife crimes up since last year, though, isn't it? No, it's gone down. So basically, knife grinds gone down since I became there. Since last year. Since last year. No, Robbery's gone off a bit. Robbery's gone off a bit for a number of reasons. We're dealing with the... That's me. Yeah. Robbery's when you're... Oh, out and about, I don't know. Robbery's birtly with violence. Right. My last question on that topic is, do you think London's safe? Well, I ask that question by your answer. If you don't feel it's safe, it's not safe. Right. Do you feel it's safe? Yeah, I do. Because my comparator isn't with respect, Bali. Or Dubai. My comparator is New York, Chicago. Those cities, because we're a global city, Stephen. You know, we're not Cheshire. Right. And so, you know, but if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for me. I speak to too many women and girls. They say it's not safe. I speak to too many women in particular, who say they're imposing a curfew in themselves, not to go out nighttime because they don't feel safe. In that case, it's not safe. I speak to too many, you know, people who are worried about their safety and, you know, perception is important here, because it's fear of crime that you're talking about, because you're experienced, right?
Police officers attacking women (33:48)
And you'll speak to your friends and not a reason that they'll be apprehensive and scared. So, it's a problem for me, and we've got to address it. Women and girls, there's been a lot of talk recently about instances of police officers who have attacked, raped women and girls on the streets of London. What are you doing about that to prevent that happening going forward? So, in the last few years, has been, at last, publicity given to the fact that every three days across our country, a woman is killed at the hands of a man every three days. And that's a sobering fact. Recently, we've seen, which is the tragic murders of Sarah Everard, you know, Zara, Elina, you know, Bieber and Nicole, you know, and many others, Sabina and Esther. But also, we've seen people who we entrust to keep us safe, peace officers, police officers, the people we go to when we're the victims of crime, being involved in the most serious crimes possible. Sarah Everard was abducted by a man using his warrant card, raped and killed by a serving police officer. We had David Karrick, somebody who had been a police officer for almost 20 years, we discovered throughout most of his 20 years, had been a prolific sexual offender using the fact that he's a police officer to commit some of those crimes. But also, it appears there were opportunities for the police during the vetting process to find out this guy was criminal, and not just stopping being a police officer, but take action against him. My view that I've been making clear for a number of years now, and I've been criticized for this, is I think there are systemic cultural issues in the police service. One of the reasons why ultimately I lost confidence in the previous commissioner was my lack of belief in the ability to understand this is an issue, have a plan to address this, have a plan to win back the trust of confidence of Londoners. And so, we've got to make sure we have a reformer in commissioner doing this job, unless the guy at the top, or the woman at the top, understands the problem, how you're going to fix it. I think the new commissioner needs to do this, understand there's a problem, and I've got a plan to fix it. They're taken on board the recommendations from an outsider. You can't mark your own homework, you need somebody else to look into things, tell you how bad things are, make recommendations and follow the truth. We've got an outsider, Louise Casey, to look into what's going on in the police service. She's published an interim report. The commissioner's accepted all the findings. She will now publish her final report later on this year. We need to change the rules around how police officers are employed. So, if a member of your staff had a nickname, they're bastard. They'll address questions for you, right? Why is this guy's nickname amongst his colleagues, the bastard? Or are the nicknames that police officers involved in this stuff have had? No action taken against them. Because it's very difficult for the commissioner and others to get rid of dodgy officers. The regulations make it difficult. But we're not asking necessarily in all cases for a criminal prosecution. We're asking for those officers to be at least sacked. So, we're lobbying the government to change the regulations, to make it easier for the commission to get rid of dodgy officers. We've set up a hotline so people can ring in and police officers can ring in about dodgy behavior. Other officers from City Hall, with that government support, from City Hall, we're investing more money in ramping up the vetting processes, right? This guy should have been spotted a mile away. I've also asked the commissioner, he's, well, he was his idea to be fair, to go back 10 years and look at every single time a police officer has had a complaint met against them of this nature to see if any other opportunities missed with other officers. We've also got a new unit which we're invested in, an anti-abuse and corruption unit. But my view is this, by the way, in London, we've shut a spotlight on this.
But there are other police forces around the country where, you know, I'm sure there are other issues where that spotlight's not been shown yet. And so it's really important for us to recognise these systemic cultural issues across our country that demand addressing. Quick word from one of our sponsors. I've got a tip for all of you that will make your virtual meeting experiences, I think, 10 times better. As some of you may know, by now, Blue Jeans by Verizon offers seamless high quality video conferencing. But the reason why I use Blue Jeans versus other video conferencing tools is because of immersion. Their tools make you feel more connected to the employees or customers you're trying to engage with. And now they're launching one of their biggest feature enhancements to impact virtual events so far called Blue Jeans Studio. I actually used it the other day. I did a virtual event using the studio, which I think about 700 of you came to, TV level production quality, all done by one person with very little technical experience on a laptop. So if you've got an event coming up and you're thinking about doing it virtually, check out Blue Jeans Studio now, let me know what you think because I genuinely believe, I know this is an advert and I'm supposed to say this, but I genuinely believe it's the best tool I've seen for doing really immersive, simple but high quality production virtual events. It is that time of year again where my life becomes incredibly reliant on heel. I'm busier than ever. I'm trying to be nutritionally complete and all that I do. I'm trying to make sure I get all of the vitamins and minerals that I need in my diet. And heel has been for the last three and a half years. The primary reason Azar relates to my diet that I've been able to be nutritionally complete while also being incredibly productive. They've also been a sponsor of this podcast since we launched the podcast. And so I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for enabling this show. And in fact, when we hit the million milestone on YouTube with this podcast, I sent it to the founder because I've never shared this before, but he actually said to me when I started the podcast, he was like, you're going to absolutely kill it. You'll have millions of subscribers. You'll be this big. You'll be that big. You have so many people will listen. And I don't know if I believed it, if I'm being completely honest, but he believed in us and this show before we'd released one episode, which is a remarkable thing.
Your hardest day as mayor (39:56)
And he gave me a huge amount of self-belief for myself. So thank you, Julian, for that. But also thank you, Hugh, for creating a product that has helped me and helped my health stay intact in my busiest days over the last couple of years. Back to the episode. What's been your hardest day as London mayor? There's been a few. I think Grenfell Tower, that I still remember the images. I still remember the heat. I went to a lot of funerals. That summer was, that summer was hard. I'm still, I'm still with the families that I see them often. And whenever I see them, it comes back. But Grenfell was just, it was just, and it still sticks with me because it, it's not a good thing. Because it, it could have been us. It's a councilor's day, diverse estate, lovely community. Those families will not be the same again. And every time I go there, and I spend time with the families, you just think about what these families are going through. One family, six people wiped out. Another 11 year old child who'd won an essay competition. And you know, when you speak to those who were the judges, she would have gone on to being, you know, this amazing woman. Lost the life in that fire. And so that 2017 was hard because we also had at the same time the awful fire Grenfell and a number of terror attacks in London. London Bridge, Westminster Bridge. Things Repark. That summer was harder, you know, because I spent a lot of time, I liked, I liked, I think it's important for me to spend time with brief families. So when I was an MP, when I was a lawyer, I spent a lot of time with brief families, my clients. When I was an MP, there was ever a, you know, a homicidal tutoring. I would meet the families, ask me the families. When I became mayor, I started a practice where whenever there was a homicide in London, my office would write to the family and say, look, obviously give them my condolences, but give them my details and meet with the families. And so after Grenfell, you know, it's a lot of funerals, lot of families and those families stories stay with you. And I'm still in contact with a lot of them. That summer, June 2017, you referenced the London Bridge attacks as well, where I think three men in a van mounted the sidewalk, then jumped out with knives and killed, I think, eight people in total in a borough, borough market. When you see this happening, you're at home, right? 10pm at night, you're watching the telly, you see this happening. What goes on in your head? So just to reassure people watching, so we do a lot of preparation, a lot of practice, a lot of planning on those sorts of things. So you see, try and, and you have a ready for it, but you try to do what you can and advance to understand it. Because I'm not a police officer, I'm not NMO 5, I'm not counter terror, but I'm the police and I'm a commissioner, so I need to understand what you're doing so I can understand your job. And so I've always tried to understand what you're doing so I can be at help, not hindrance. And so when it happens, there's a lot of uncertainty in real time what's going on, but the good news is, our police and other partners are trained for the phrases, a marauding terrorist, the phrase for it, the training for it. And we learn from other countries when this happens, so the first time this sort of terror tactic was used, that's well known about, was in Delhi a number of years ago. So our police have learnt what's happened there, and so we practice a lot of this stuff in relation to what the firearms team will do in this situation, what the police response will do, what my role is going to be, where I should be and so forth. And also, you've got to give assurance to Londoners, you can't play into the terrorist's hands. What does a terrorist want you to do? A terrorist wants to terrorise you and have panic spreading, changing behaviour in a way that's perverse and so forth. So it's really important the response I have to a terror attack because I could inadvertently be playing into the hands of the terrorist. Where does emotion come into all of this? You're seeing carnage, you're seeing death, is there a place for emotion in all of that? In real time, they really can't be, in real time they can't be, and that sort of stuff. There can be when it comes to a fire and gring for which is a different sort of thing, but because people are looking to you to provide leadership, and panic isn't good leadership. And so one of the reasons why I've asked for, and we've had the practice, the preparation, the planning, is to make sure there isn't panic and there isn't emotion because you've got to make rational decisions and provide reassurance in a calm way. You can't go to a COBRA meeting and be hysterical. You've got to be explaining the facts, what you've ascertained, what you're going to do, what buses are going to be diverted, what tubes are going to be stopped, and so forth. And another important thing in London, in that sort of context, Stephen, is we can't afford to happen, it's reprisals, right?
Donald trump & your faith (45:24)
People wrongly thinking, "Every Muslim is a terrorist." We saw in America post 9/11, you know, somebody were in a turban, attacked and killed, because people thought wrongly it was involved in terrorists in 9/11. So that part of British or in the community tensions as well. After that incident happened, Donald Trump came out and made some disparaging comments about, about, I guess, about you in London, really kind of mocking what you'd said. How do you feel about that? I mean, from my point of view, it's an incredibly bizarre behavior for a world leader to be taking such a stance after such a tragedy, but how did that feel on that day, emotionally? It was odd, let me see what I saw. There's basically an understanding we have. There are certain cities and certain parts of the world are targets of terrorists, because of our values, because of our way of life and so forth. And so there's a solidarity. We saw what happened in Paris. We saw it up in 9/11. There are other examples around the world in Manchester, the awful events of the Ariana Grande concert and so forth. And so there's always a sense of solidarity. And you'll see world leaders, mayors, and others sending messages of solidarity. And it's unusual. It's exceptional, actually, for particularly our closest ally, right? Special relationship. You saw our Prime Minister response to 9/11, Tony Blair, George Bush. And you've Donald Trump responding the way he does, and let's be frank. If the Merle London wasn't somebody of my background, my faith, and so forth, and he didn't have the views he had about people of my faith and my background, he wanted to respond to the way he did, would he? Has that played a role in how people have treated you in terms of, on the other side of the aisle, people have political views? Do you think some of... I'm reflecting now on much of what Meghan Markle said about how the institutional... how claims about institutional racism impacting the way she was treated by the press and by the institution itself. But when I think about you being probably Britain's most famous Muslim, you are the mayor of London. Do you believe that there has been instances, and there are just generally a bias because you are a Muslim yourself? And how does that rear its head on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis? Well, looking backwards, I'm sure you've read about my first election campaign in 2016. My faith was used against me by my opponents. You must have been a Muslim out of there, links with terrorists and so forth, for no other reason, but because of, to be frank, my faith, right? And that's why it's so important to win, because had I not won, if you're an Asian or a Muslim or whatever you think a whole unassay, it's not possible to be the Merle London because of your faith that holds you back. And that's why winning was important for a variety of other reasons as well. But you know the thing about our city is not to be standing the prejudices against the religion that I practice because minority of terrorists do bad things using the name of Islam. This city voted for not just an ethnic minority, not just a religious minority, but the religion he belongs to is Islam. It's just wonderful about our city, not just tolerating difference, respecting, embracing and celebrating it as well. But I can't escape the fact that, you know, being a Muslim, when we're living in a climate of Islamophobia, it has challenges as well. It's not a secret. So I'm not divulging any breaches of national security. The Christchurch shooter in New Zealand, you know, referenced me in his diatribe, the Finzier Park terrorist, you know, referenced me in his terrorist attack in Finzierbury Park outside the mosque. I'm not giving equivalents to Donald Trump in relation to terrorists, but Donald Trump for a period of time was obsessed with me. And so that leads to, you go to social media, some of the stuff that I get on social media, right? You go to some of the far right groups, some of the stuff I received there. Some of the, you know, in Virgin Commons mainstream journalists who use me as clickbait, they know if they use my name, it's going to track traffic to their social media channel. They know that. Because of that. Of course it is, right? Because we know that there's a currency. There's a currency, right? And, you know, and we know for reasons that, you know, aren't fair to Muslims, the vast, fast, fast, fast, fast, fast majority live in the West, love the West, Laura Biden and so forth.
Have you ever felt your safety at risk? (49:57)
The actions of a small minority means we're all able, we're all demonized. And so I was reading the Independent and they were talking about the death threats you'd received on social media. You'd come out and talked about some of the comments that people had made to you calling you a words that I probably can't even repeat. And I won't repeat to be fair, but very derogatory, racist, homosexual at times, terminology towards you, which oftentimes included death threats. The Independent had written an article showing what those threats were. Have you ever felt like your safety was at risk? Yeah, it's been a few times. Yeah. Yeah. And that's one of the reasons why, you know, I've pleased protection, not because I asked for it. For a year I said no. And in the end, my wife and my chief of staff said, you've got to take it. Why? Because two reasons, because if I'm out with my family, their personal safety has been compromised, right? I can't have that. If I'm out with my staff working, their personal safety has been compromised and I'm not willing to take that risk either. And so, you know, it'd be in specific threats. But the problem with police protection is it means you're just spontaneity. So I came here by a tube. I'm not, you know, the police officer's on the tube with me, right? You wouldn't know they were there, you know, and so forth. But they've got to be with me when I go to a restaurant, when I go to the cinema and I'm walking my dog when I'm getting the tube right. And so it restricts my ability to just, you know, have you ever been genuinely worried about your safety? A couple of times, yeah. There was an occasion where, yeah, there'd been a number of occasions. I don't want to give them the credit by making them know that I was scared and worried about my safety because, you know, they all think they can do it again. But yeah, there have been occasions, even with police protection, I'm about to be brilliant, you know, but I've asked them to just be able to get a job. I've asked them to just, you know, keep a distance because I want them to be next to me like I'm, you know, I'm a celebrity or the Prime Minister. You know, I like the fact that I'm a normal Joe and I try and be as much as I can. But there have been times, yeah, of course they have. As mayor, but there have been times I've been one of the security before I was mayor, you know, and, you know, and that's, you know, 9/11 was traumatic for a variety of reasons. Thousands of people lost their lives. It was just awful. What it did though was it gave, it gave permission of people to treat all of us, you know, in a way that I had not experienced before. So when I was growing up, the P word, the N word, the W word was sometimes used and, you know, my white friends, black friends and me knew that was like, that was, we see the red mist and there'd be fight, right? You couldn't, yeah, but it was never about faith. I'm not saying one is better than the other and stuff, right? But something happened where it became about faith and the Islamophobia stuff. And there is still a great sense of solidarity in relation to people who still defend me who aren't Muslims and stuff, right? What it does is a number of things. Firstly, if you're a mum or dad and you're Muslim and your son or daughter's thinking about Korean politics or public life, you say, you know what? If someone likes to eat cants, getting that sort of stuff, I don't really want you to get involved in politics. Or, and this happens a lot, if you're somebody who wants to amplify my social media or be supportive and you do it and then you get this diatribe of hate because you've done that. There's two responses. Nine out of ten people say, I had no idea that you received that stuff. How can I help? One out of ten people say, you know what? This is about too much. I'm not going to actually... Has it ever affected you personally? Sleepless nights. In relation to hate abuse. I worry about my wife and kids are safe. I want to make sure they're safe. At the moment, I'm lucky. I've got a police protection team giving me safe, right? But we, you know, the city halls, you know, receives threats and, you know, so this... Where this ridiculous situation where because of the hatred against me, people are writing lots of emails to city old staff who in the previous 16 years haven't had this. They've had a myth since 2000. And we've got to provide our staff. I think this is not ridiculous. The ridiculous space is us receiving the hatred. But we've got a duty care to our staff, right? Our staff are traumatized, upset, all the rest of it. So we now got to support our staff in ways never done before. So that worries me. The fact that they've impacted my staff reading this stuff, emails, reading letters that come in. They've met to my staff reading the social media. They've met to my family reading this stuff. I'm not going to allow anybody to change my behaviour. I will not cower. But also I will not let you know if you're bullying me that I feel it. So even if I was being affected and I'm not, I wouldn't tell the guys that I'm being affected because it gives them... It gives them solace. It gives them comfort. It means they've won. I'm not going to do that. But in this kind of medium, I think there is value in sharing those... Sharing that because people don't realise, right? So it's a world that we don't know, so we don't care about, so we don't, as a society, do anything about. Because we don't even know it exists. I mean, much of what you've said is news to me. The fact that you're telling me your staff need... I'm presuming psychological support because of the amount of abuse you're getting. And at the heart of that is your religion and your race. So often other things will come into it, but you just have to read. When you get a chance, it's not good for your mental health, but when you get a chance, you just have a look at some of the stuff that people say about me. And it's not all bots, by the way. But has that ever infected you? Because I can tell you, I've had abuse, it's targeted at me and it affected me. And I don't mind saying that because I think it's just the truth to be fair. So has there ever been, you know, anxiety worries? No. It's affected me in the sense that, you know, I've spoken to social media companies and others about the responsibility they have, about their algorithms, about, you know, employing staff to take the stuff off. You know, my staff, not me, have reported some of this stuff to the police and actually have taken in some of the people who've said some of this stuff because of the incitement elements of it. I think there are issues here about the ease with which social media allows people with hateful, spiteful, racist, criminal views, have those views amplified where they weren't 20 years ago. So 20 years ago, 30 years ago. So when I was growing up, right, you could only bully me if you saw me in the playground or if you saw me down the street. You could call me names that way. You could maybe write me a letter if you knew I lived. Now you can do it from your bedroom without even being in the same city as me, the same country as me. Anonymous as well. And some of these algorithms amplify this. And some of these people have got big followings and they all jump in the bandwagon as well. And so, you know, there is a problem there in relation to how we do with this stuff, but also listen, it's happening to you speak to a girl in a secondary school, some of the stuff she now receives, or, you know, black kids go into school now in their bedroom on social media, right?
Suffering during covid (57:07)
And so, you know, this is not just an issue for me. I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, but it's an issue for everyone. COVID, speaking of mental health, I heard you said that during the COVID period, you did suffer a little bit with your own mental health. Can you give me some detail on what you mean by that? Yeah, look, before we came, I know we're talking about, you know, return to the office and stuff. And I'm somebody who, but you don't realize this at the time. So I'm somebody who I now realize thrives on working with people, being around people on company, right? And I didn't really appreciate that until the pandemic. And I'm lucky I've got a decent size home. My daughters came up from university. My wife, we get them really well. We do, you know, and so we can give each other space and stuff. And so I've got a garden, we've got a dog. But I realized there wasn't a light bulb moment, but on hindsight, I realized I stopped shaving. You know, I, you know, I've got a job in Bob's all day. I wasn't as communicative. Of course, I'd shave if I was doing, you know, morning breakfast shows or whatever. I didn't have my mojo. I like to think that I can inspire my team. You know, you don't start when you manage people, right? I didn't, I just didn't, I just, there was saying not quite right. And I couldn't, I didn't know that in real time, I didn't, you know, I didn't, I didn't, but they were saying, and I just, and, and on hindsight, what I realized was that there were things I did in my normal life that gave me mental fitness. And we were talking about physical fitness, mental fitness, right? And because I wasn't doing those, I was suffering mental ill health. Now, fortunately, I need to be medicalized, but it meant I to think about the things I got to do to keep mental, my mental health well. And I struggled and on hindsight, there was a period of time where I wasn't talking to my game, because I now am, and because, you know, after a while, I realized this and was taking steps to address that. And I realized I can't work from home in perpetuity. I need to be around people. I need that buzz, whether it's the banter on the tube, whether it's beating my staff, whether it's that conversation before I go into the office, the team meeting. I didn't realize that's what helps me keep my mental health, but also makes me, you know, be effective. And it's other things, you know, sport. I didn't realize how important sport is to me.
Where have you let yourself down (59:56)
I didn't realize not playing tennis, not going for a run, not playing football. I didn't realize that because I thought I did that to keep physically fit, not realizing it actually is an integral part in my mental well-being. When you think about your job as mayor over the last, you know, since you were elected mayor, where do you think you've let yourself down? Well, that's a good question. I think you alluded to this early on, that the seven days a week stuff, when you speak to most experts, and I speak lots of privilege, speaking to you, there's people, lots of people who, they say that's really important to get the balance right in relation to being fresh for the time where you've got to be on my responses. I'm on quite a lot. So I've got to use the time when I'm off to make sure I've reached out on batteries. And so I think that pacing myself, you know, I've tried on a marathon as a sprint. What about policies, things you would have liked to have gotten done that you've not been able to get done? A lot of people have leveled the, you know, things like housing and will we be carbon neutral by 2030? What are the things you look at and go, do you know what I failed there? Yeah, well, I've got to answer that question honestly, but I'm running for reelection in 467 days time, right? Because the answer is going to use against me. But let me tell you something, we've got with a lot of stuff right as well as just stuff we don't know. The biggest thing is that I'm real? Is that like a real thing where you can't tell the truth because someone might use it against you? No, sir. I think I've been at least effective about, and I've said this before, is by, we've not managed to say the government, the importance of devolving more powers and resources to learn the governments. You know, my dad used to say that, you know, you should judge somebody by the friends you keep, right? I've got a different, I've got a different saying, which is judge somebody by their enemies, you know, the government don't like me, right? And so the politics is the main reason. And so the government, and I think I've sometimes not helped because of my pugilistic nature. And I worry, have London has been let down because the government see me as an enemy not given the support they would give if somebody else was the mayor. And so I've tempered, you know, since I won reelection, I've tempered some of that because I realized I can't allow my political rights. I can't allow my natural adversarial nature and my dislike of the government to get in the way of doing business with the government. So that's the honest answer. But by the way, I meant what I said about this. When you said tongue in cheek, well, can you not be honest? Yeah, because I'm still in the game, right? So when you ask an ex-politician questions like that, they'll give you a candid answer, but you can't.
Reflections On Politics
Politicians not being honest (01:02:30)
It's like asking, asking, asking, asking, asking for your tyson, what's the weakness in your game? What, you know, you wouldn't do that. I'm not sometimes in fury, but I'm still talking about game. It's really interesting. I part of me think it's an interesting game politics and all this other games. It's not a game. You just said you're still in the game. I'm using your word. But it's an interesting game to me because I don't feel like politicians can ever be truly themselves. They can't truly speak their mind. And I am part. I wonder if that's actually acting against them. I think there's almost this political kind of, this political philosophy or whatever, where you kind of have to be a little bit cagey. You kind of have to never really answer a question. You kind of have to get by. I also know. To his credit, Trump, the thing he did, and I hate to say Trump did anything well, but the thing he did, you know what you're getting with this guy. Whether it's good, bad, driven by narcissism, whatever, you have this sense that he's telling you what he thinks. I've got at least 17 responses to that. Let me get a couple. One is, which is interesting, is I think Trump's tweets that he said again, I think it was #stonecoldloser, describing me. Well, he lost these reelection. I didn't. True, right. So he's a one-term president, Barack Obama isn't. Even George W Bush isn't. Do you think he's going to come back? He's going to try and come back. He's got a good chance. I think DeSantis will probably get a bit of a nomination for him. I'm coming back. Honestly. Well, I want him to come back and be beaten. So I think politics, the reason why I said about, you know, I'm still in the game is because it's a good metaphor. Because I learned a lot from sports, because I love sports and stuff, and a lot of leadership skills I get from sports. Let me tell you why you're both right and wrong in relation to your observation, which I think is right and it's wrong. So when you're an MP, I think you're right. I think most MPs have got to be inauthentic on T-wide because in Parliament, this thing called collective responsibility. And you've got to stay in your lane for a start. So if you're a transfer minister, you can really enter back transport. Because if I have a view about health, it'll annoy the health secretary. Or if I've got a view about foreign policy or health, it'll upset the foreign secretary, right? Or the budget. And so you've got to stay in your lane, which is a frustration because you've got to stand by the policies they've got in the area of the areas, right? So you've got to be inauthentic. But also this thing called collective responsibility. So inside the cabinet, what happens is if there's a good strong Prime Minister, there'll be an argument and discussion inside cabinet about policy. And you can have different view. You can be honest then. But once you reach a view, when you leave the cabinet, all of you have to defend that view and be advocates with the view. And that's why you're spot on.
What’s labor doing wrong? (01:05:24)
And it wasn't being a lawyer. I've got to say, hound on heart, there were cases I had where I didn't agree with a brief or like it, but I had to argue the case. I was a lawyer, right? And the same goes when you were an MP. The difference when you're the mayor or the president is you can be yourself. So what's the label getting wrong? I think a lot of things are right to be fair. I think about the last two, three years since Q became leader. We've got a lot of things right. I think the frustration voters have, which I think is not fair, is we're not putting enough flesh in the detail, right? And there's a reason for that, I explained. So the answer to your question, direct answer is we're not giving enough retail policy, enough reasons to vote labor. Yes, time for change is effective, but people would say what labor is getting wrong is not giving details of policy. My response is, hold on a sec. You've got to peak at the right time. The general election might not be until 20 months away. So if Rachel Reeves, I shall have a chance to come up with the policy on the budget, well the economy in 20 months, it'll be very different from the economy. Now, how could she honestly be asked to give a tax and spend policy now? Well, care star might announce is a great policy, the windfall levy on energy companies, soon like NYX it, dilutes it a bit. So soon it gets the credit and not care, your best policy has been started. And so the point is you've got to peak at the right time and the paroration has got to come in the weeks for it. That's interesting, Joe. Because the question I asked is what's labor getting wrong? And you didn't answer it. I didn't explain the results. That's the public perception of what the labor is getting wrong. I'm saying what do you think labor is getting wrong? Steve, that's my point. If you say nothing, that's fine. No, no, no, no, no. Listen, but my point is this. There's two points to that. One is, I say this with respect and love, advice I give to care I'd give in private, not in public right at first. And secondly, there's a general election in 20 months time. And my point about, I'm still in the game, is I want to make sure that privately the views I've got about what levels are getting wrong are sorted out before the general election, rather than telegraphing to the opposition, things are getting wrong, so they can, you know, use in the boxing metaphor, try and not get a star morale. And that's kind of similar to what you were saying about the MPs having to kind of stay in their lane because they can't be critical of anything else that's happening around them. I get it. It's a party. I guess that's how the system works. But as a, as a muggle, he doesn't really, isn't that interested in, well, I'm interested in politics, but I'm not heavily engaged with it. But here's your, here's your conundrum though, Stephen. And it's a good conundrum to have, which is the next general election, probably one of two people that may be priming a star, right? Sooner or kyostama, unless soon, is, goes the way of list truss and Boris Johnson, right? And so politics isn't perfection. It's relativism. And so you got to choose between one of these two. There's no, there's nobody else. It's not kyostama or perfection. But you know what it is though? It's the appearance of perfection, right? Because as you said, you can't. You're perfect though. You know, lifetime, no one is. No one is. But that's what I'm saying. It's the appearance of it in the sense that like you can't criticize Labour. So I can believe me. I can look. I'll give you a couple of. So publicly in the last two weeks, I criticize Labour, right? Brexit, I believe Brexit's been an unmitigated disaster, right? And I believe that we've got to be much closer to you. And that includes, by the way, yes outside the EU, now we are outside the EU. But being members of the single market and customs union, that is not Labour's policy. Right. So let's say we get back in power. When I was younger, listen, again, if I'm wrong about any of this political stuff, please, like with my dates and stuff, please forgive me. But I'm just saying when I was younger, Labour are in power. And then since pretty much over the last 10 years, Labour haven't been back in power, what's Labour getting wrong? Why isn't it resonating with the voters? And how does Labour go about fixing that? So the last 100 years, I mean, we've only been in power for a third of that. It's given an idea of, you know, we're not the man united of politics. And so a number of things we ought to do to win back power. First, we've got to change ourselves. So the first part of it is reorganizing Labour ourselves. The internal stuff, the internal wiring is wrong. Right. What's wrong with it? So this idea that anybody is successful, you know, we're going to bash this idea that the way we fundraise for our party, the way we employ staff and fire staff, this sense of, you know, nepotism and stuff, there's lots of things we've got wrong with that. You know, in the last few years, we saw ourselves that, including an organization, employ the right people, get rid of the wrong people, have, you know, have proper social media campaign, lots of sort of stuff, proper campaign techniques, so the internal stuff you've got to do. So if you don't see how we slow candidates, all that sort of stuff, right? The second part of it is being effective opposition. Expose the Tories and call them out when they get things wrong. We can't rely on the mainstream media. You know, 8% of the mainstream media is supportive of the conservative party, right? It's just a fact. So we've got to be an effective opposition in calling them out and holding them to account, right? Including stuff that would otherwise not be seen. So call them out in relation to policies on the economy, you know, call them out in the policy relation to health service, call them out in relation to policy and education. And the third part, which is the crucial part, is to show the country we've got policies to be an effective government. And that's one point about the perception is we've not done the third part yet, and my answer is holding this door 20 months to go. My point is this, I don't want to win an election because it's time for change by itself.
Why don’t politicians lead with emotion? (01:11:05)
I want you to be inspired and infused to vote labor because of our policy offer. And that's your challenge back to me. So what's your poll, why vote labor, right? Which is interesting. I've been doing a lot of reading over the last couple of weeks, because I'm writing my new book and I've spent, you know, a good 30 days in total, probably in the jungle reading about psychology and why people, what makes people behave and act and whatever. And the clear answer from all of that research that I've done and all the studies I went through going back, almost 100 years was that people respond emotionally instead of to logic. And so when you say that, you need to lead with better policies and stuff. It kind of goes, it stands in the face of all of the psychological research I've been reading that says in fact, people are illogical emotional beings that are driven by their fears and desires. And when I think about politics, honestly, right, and I'm just being completely honest, I think a lot of it is actually just a very instinctive feeling about the person, you know. And this is why I go back to the point about authenticity and why I really struggle with politicians sometimes is they just don't feel like humans. They feel like these like robots that can't say anything or can't speak their mind. And I just honestly, my view with labor is if they manage to get someone to lead the party who felt like, "My mate, that I could kind of relate to and tell me the good and the bad." And was just a bit of a normal person, not a suit, not super rich, not whatever. Didn't go to eat and whatever it is, talking about both sides here. I actually think they'd win. I think from many people. And Boris Johnson did win. Right, let's look at the test was, the test was, who do I want to have a cabbage you know with? Yeah. Or who do I want to give off the government finances, get us through the pandemic, mend our relationship with Europe. There's a different answer. And I'll be right, it's an emotion. And so there's a great phrase, right? You campaign in poetry and you government in prose because it's the emotion, right? Yeah. And the emotion is really important. But my point is, is we see where it's got a country. Where has emotion got our country? And so I think actually one of the failures of politicians, and I also plead guilty, is we've lost the arts to be good teachers. Political education is lacking in our country. And so I think a good politician should use his or her role in an unpatronizing way to educate people. You know you had to come, you asked me really good questions about crime, right? Now the easiest thing to say, you know, just lock them up, let's arrest ourselves out of this, right? That placed your emotion. Because you want the people who burgled your home to be arrested, put in prison, and the keys thrown away right, probably I'm just right. But actually it's my job to, in an unpatronized way, try to educate you without using criminality, but say it's a bit more complex than that, right? Yeah. But you understand though, I say here with you. I get it, I get it. I say here with a neuroscientist called Tali Charlotte, and she has basically written a book about this about how the brain has a default towards listening to emotion. She actually referenced Trump. She said in that debate with the doctor, I think it was in the 2008 elections or 2012 elections, when asked about the autism vaccines, the doctor who Trump was up against in the debate referenced facts, stats and figures. Trump then comes to Trump and he tells a story about one of his mates with a big needle. You know, he uses all of this descriptive, emotional storytelling language, and Tali, even though she knows the science around vaccines, she said she was a little bit put off giving her daughter the autism vaccine after hearing Trump, even though she knew it was nonsense. And for me, that just goes to show the power of emotion and storytelling versus the feeble influence that stats and figures. That's a secret. I saw it in the Brexit campaign. Right. So what happened in the Brexit campaign is Nigel Farage and his lot put up this poster. Yeah, but they made chess and about immigrants. No, no, no, no, the poster was a cue of Syrians, given the impression that they're going to flood our country because of the Turkey allegedly joining the European Union. And emotionally that played to people's concerns on immigration. Brexit was a proxy of immigration. Right. And so it was an emotional stuff because rationally, it doesn't make sense if you work for a Nissan in Sunderland to be voting to leave the EU because you know your boss is going to be affected by it, right? Because I don't disagree with what you're saying. Your analysis, I get it. It's emotion rather than rational. My point is, yes, that's true in relation to human behavior. But actually at the same time, we've got to be explained to people that actually it isn't X-Factor. It's about who is the best person to run our country. And sometimes that person, you know, is not going to be sexy, is not going to be charismatic. Sometimes he will be another, of course, of an election in a campaign. He helped me personality comes out because you're right. Personality does matter to an extent. But actually, you know, I want our leaders to know how to balance your works, understand what makes a business tick, understand the importance of entrepreneurship, job creation, public service, stuff. I want that too.
What are you most proud of? (01:16:13)
It just seems like in a human psychology is this desire to be motivated most by our fears, our desires, and our emotions versus logic and sense. And maybe this is a little bit of a skewed perspective I have because I've spent the last 30 days thinking about this psychology and why people are influenced. But the thing is to listen, I wanted to ask on the positive side, what are you most proud of following your tenure so far as London mayor? What are the things that you go to know what? Do you really have an impact here for the betterment of Londoners? Echologies, the obvious example to think of. When I was walking here from the tube station, I saw the ultralymeition street, it hacked me, it had done really, really well. So we've managed to, so you don't see this stuff. None of us sees this stuff. But if we were growing up in London in the 50s, you'd see the smog, right? Because the power stations, you could see it, you just couldn't walk because of the smog more than a meter and a half. It was a killer as well. So we can't see the national dioxide, the national oxide, the particular matter certainly the carbon emissions. But at least more than 4,000 premature deaths a year, at least the children have instantly lungs, at least adults with a whole host of health issues, me included asthma, premature heart disease, deaths, cancer, and so forth. We've managed to, in two years, reduce the toxic care in the centralised city by half, and we're improving it more across our cities. Echologies, obviously, a big one. Council housing, you mentioned housing. We last year, well actually, in the last few years, we have completed more homes in London because of our policies than any essence in the 1930s. More council homes than any essence in the 1970s, more genuine affordable homes than any essence records began. Not enough, we've got to do much more to increase supply to meet demand. Slightly shy of your goal? My goal is much more. So my target is 50,000, but we're not going to get there. I'm such the government. We need more support. And it's actually an opportunity if there's a recession coming because of the way they counter a central nature of the property market. We can have more home building, actually, and that creates jobs and people paying taxes and so forth. Look at what we've done in public transport. The first five years, we froze fares, the nights you up and running. We've got buses going all across London now, more buses, too many more kilometres to buses next year, the Elizabeth Line, the Northern Line Extension, the Parkland Riverside Extension. Look at what we talked about, it's a rush to mentors. 100,000 young people have a mentor, made progress from reducing crime, invested in young people. And if you're elected, again, what's your number one focus for London? It's all about a future where we can deal with the four issues which are really important. A fairer city, so those who need to help you and get the help you know, a safer city. I think the perception is our city isn't safe on address to the reality and the perception. Greener city, we've got to reduce carbon emissions. I was the first global city to declare a climate emergency. I've changed the net generator cycle in 2050 when I won't be around as the mayor 2030. Well, we get there. Yeah, but only a third of the powers I've got. The other two thirds, we need government support, retrofitting, building sites, so forth. The transport we've got, we're making progress there.
Your father (01:19:22)
But you think we'll get there? Yeah, and if there's a change of government in two years time, I hope they will be with Keira's Prime Minister, we definitely will get there. And a more prosperous city as well. I think our competitors are also our collaborators. The Paris is, the Singapore's, the Hong Kong's, the New York's, but they're our competitors as well. We've got a more prosperous. You're 52 now, right? Yeah. If you were to, God forbid, if you were to, if this were to be your last day, what regrets would you have about the life you've chosen to live and how you've lived it? Crikey. Maybe not work the seven days a week, maybe more time with my family. I don't think I've seen enough of the world. I've only ever lived in two, it's been three years in North London, one year in God-O-Ming at Law School when I was in Guilford. I mean, I've seen the world as a tourist, right? But not really experienced it. You mentioned the long time he's been in the jungle and stuff. I've not done that, maybe. I missed that. Could I picture here for you? That's my dad. He passed away. Was it two thousand? Right. September the 4th, 2003. I remember it vividly. It was the one thing in my life that's really knocked me sideways. I still grieve my dad, you know? I've never got help, even though I was struggling at the time. I think you should grieve for people you love. It should affect your mental illness. It should debilitate you. He was this amazing man, you know? This was a guy who, no ears of graces, watched the news, he'd read the papers, he would spend time with the kids. You know, he would never say no to over some in the garage, never say no to over some in the garage. He'd thoroughly decent man. When he retired, he would spend time in the mosque. It was the moisin. The moisin is a guy that has a call to prayer. Did you get to speak to him properly? No, that's a regret. We didn't get the quality. Anisa was, my oldest daughter was five, when he passed away, and Maros was two, they didn't name him really. I didn't have the, he would have loved being a man, he would have loved support, you know, Sothecothia, George, the Swernan ceremony. How old were you when he passed away? I was 33. And what I think about is I was too young when he passed, and you know, I didn't know I was depressed at the time. I was depressed. I saw this boy that I wasn't functioning in. I threw myself into work. Shortly after I ran to be the Labour candidate, actually, because that's how I got through this time. But I think about my youngest brother was only 25 when he passed, and I was, and we've now, I think since we've had kids, that's made us much more touchy feeling, talking about feelings and stuff, we hug and we say, I love you and stuff. Are there words unsaid to him? Yeah, without a doubt. What are those words? Yeah, the between him and me, to be honest.
The last guest question (01:22:39)
Yeah. Yeah. We have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question for the next guest, not knowing who they're leaving it for. You will know who this person is, but I, but I shan't tell you. The question they've left is, everyone gets really nervous when I get to this question. I don't know why it's weird. Nobody cares about my questions, but then when this one comes, it takes people forever to answer. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the start of your life, what would it have been? That's a good one. Enjoy the experience. Why that? Because often, I don't know if you get to do it. You're so busy. You don't get to enjoy it. When you speak to people who have, we talk, we talk teasingly about being an ex-polition. They follow the memory, but they enjoy the experience. I remember saying, I remember famous football at Gary Neville being interviewed, saying, "You didn't really enjoy it." I think I find that odd. You don't enjoy the experience. I enjoy the experience. Your ambition is always trying to do the next thing. I think ambition is important. It's important to have a grasp greater than your reach. In the meantime, enjoy the experience. Have you enjoyed the experience? I loved it. I loved it. But question, if I save it with my friends and family enough, I've actually been too busy and too blink in relation to sharing the enjoyment of the experience. I try to do that more. I try to include signing the girls more in the stuff that I do to make sure they enjoy the experience and my friends and my family and so forth. Sidi, thank you. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being here. As I said, I'm very compelled by politicians and the world of politics. It's not a world that I know necessarily well, but it's a world that I observe with great intrigue and wonder. I'd say dissatisfaction largely. It's so large because it seems to be so far away from what I love about humans. Which politicians you admire, are you overseas or here? I loved Barack Obama. I thought he was great. We all love Barack Obama. Yeah, I know. He's only one of Barack Obama. Exactly. He felt incredibly human. I remember watching him cry after Sandy Hook. He just felt like a good man with a good family and good morals. I kind of felt like he was authentic. That's a good one. Yeah, I think he's probably my number one. The problem is you set your bar so high, such as my name. I never said Barack Obama. Yeah, I know. But I think everyone has the potential to be. I mean, he has some respect. Obama's an easy one. Who else? Oh, gosh. I like Bernie Sanders as well. I know the guy that I connect with and I think he's very authentically driven to make the world a better place. I see that in your story as well. I see when you hear your upbringing and you hear what your parents went through and your grandparents went through and the plight of your... Those that came before you, you see that? You can see a clear reason why. Sometimes I struggle with that. Sometimes I struggle to understand why people are going into politics. I think it's because of status or because they want to be famous or they want power. But I don't see that in you. I don't see you had a very well paid job before you chose to embark on this career path. And your origin story is riddled with all the motivation one would need to pursue such a path. So thank you. Thank you for coming here today. I wish you the very, very best on your reelection. I applaud you on the fact that my crime has gone down since you became Merivland and I would hope that by the time you leave office, the city feels a lot safer than it currently does for me. I really do hope we hit our carbon emissions targets by 2030. I hope we're able to build more housing. And I hope London holds its status in the world as a place that people want to come, live and stay long beyond their own personal successes. So yeah, thank you so much. That's a pleasure. Thanks, Lauren. Thanks for coming to the start. It's very uncomfortable for me to hear that. It's a point you hear that. One of the things I've tried to do is rather than, it's very easy and you're very generous in your comments about me and my faith and my background to be the only person in my position of my, who looks like me. I get this, there's only one of me, right? What's far, and the same goes for you, but what you do, which is, I've tried to do as well in different ways, is put down ladders for others, right? Because there shouldn't just be one guy like you. There should be many others like you. And the same goes in politics as well. And I meant what I said, because the interesting thing about you and the same applies to you, you ever watch what Idris Elba does or Riz Ahmed or these other guys, they work ethic. And what worries me is somehow somebody's told young people, you can get rich quick. There's a shortcut to being the mayor or running the law firm or being an successful entrepreneur or being a pop star. Have you ever listened to what Id Shoun did before they became successful or Adele or Stormsy, that work ethic? And I meant what I said about you, because listen, obviously, there aren't many people in your positions who look like you. Let's be frank, who dress like you, who talk like you, who got your back story. Now you've never asked your old model, right? You will never meet people who look up to you, but it's a fact, right? And so I'm not, I'm the mayor, right? And my job is to, you know, do this thing, what I call the London promise. I'm not a card. I'll give you the helping hand. You can be anything. And I love the way you do it with ease and make people feel if I can do it, you can do it. And that's, that's, that's an art because you don't say it like it's easy. I didn't. But if I can do it, you can do it, but you've got to work hard. Yeah. And I'm really happy. I'm really happy that we have a London mayor that looks like you. You know, your present to loan is London mayor is a really positive signal to lots of young ethnically diverse kids that are hoping to set foot in politics. And it's a real shame that you've been treated to the death threats and the online abuse and such of all go away. But unfortunately, that seems to be the nature of, the nature of the world and social media. Hopefully we can change that. Thanks a lot.