A tin head wants to become mayor

“Count Binface” is running in the London mayoral election on May 6th. Photo: Twitter

Berlin could also need that once in a while: a whole bunch of fuss in the election campaign. Like in London, where “Count Binface” wants to chase the mayor Sadiq Khan of the Labor Party out of office in the elections on Thursday – in a kind of shiny silver superhero robe and with a garbage can over his head.

“Graf Mülltonnengesicht”, as he would be called in German, comes up with interesting demands: London should join the EU. The royal family is said to be giving up three of their four castles in London for the homeless. No croissant should cost more than a pound sterling. Subway users should use the escalators in the wrong direction due to the lack of exercise in Corona times. Not to forget: A hand dryer in the men’s toilet at the “Crown & Treaty” pub in London-Uxbridge would like to be hung in a more user-friendly way.

Jon Harvey, Count Binface’s alter ego, in a razor-sharp test pattern outfit. Photo: Harvey Homepage/Idil Sports

Behind Count Binface, the “intergalactic election crusader”, is comedian Jon Harvey, who already has campaign experience. In 2019 he ran in the general election in the constituency of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His election result at the time should reassure Mayor Khan: The tin head scored 69 votes … In the polls, Khan is well ahead of his Tory challenger Shaun Bailey.

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Indeed, the British capital (population 9 million) is facing major problems. It is true that you can drink your beer and go shopping in front of pubs again because so many Brits have been vaccinated. But this picture could be deceptive. “If we’re not careful, London will face a perfect storm from Brexit and this terrible Covid pandemic,” warns Sadiq Khan (50).

Corona brought London 15 billion euros in revenue

In 2020, local government estimates put stores, hotels and restaurants around 15 billion euros through the rags. This is how much tourists and commuters had spent in 2019. The hope now rests on the fact that all restrictions can actually be lifted as planned on June 21. In addition to the consequences of the pandemic, the important financial sector had to accept a noticeable outflow of companies as a result of Brexit. According to a new study, 400 companies moved activities and capital to the EU.

During his campaign, Sadiq Khan also tried his hand at cricket batsman. Probably also in order not to always think about the 15,000 Covid-19 deaths in his city. Photo: AFP / Niklas Halle’n

Khan’s concept against the crisis: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”. But it won’t be easy. No other UK region lost so many jobs in the pandemic. Nowhere else have so many people been released with the Furlough system, which is based on the German short-time work. Many are unlikely to return to their old jobs if government support stops. And that in a city where the average monthly rent for an apartment is € 2,200.

Every third Londoner is considered poor

Nearly a third of Londoners are estimated to live in relative poverty. Concrete residential towers stand opposite the glass facades of the skyscrapers in the city. The people there live cheaper because it is often social housing, but also in an oppressive confinement.

The gigantic local transport network with the famous subway is also under pressure: “Transport for London” is largely dependent on ticket sales. However, these collapsed by 90 percent in the pandemic. On the positive side, long-term problems such as air pollution and the bloody knife crime decreased. It is uncertain whether it will stay that way. A 14 year old boy died recently. Almost a dozen people were killed by knife wounds in 2021, all of them teenagers and young men.

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