President Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom was accompanied by verbal attacks on British Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, in the U.K. tabloid The Sun. Saturday’s “fact check” by New York Times London-based digital editor Palko Karasz took objection solely to the attacks on Khan: “Gauging London’s Record On Crime and Terrorism.”
Karasz promised “expert analysis,” but actually made excuses and blamed the conservative government -- anything but the actual mayor of London, in the first two of three “checks” of the analysis. Khan is seen by many on the right as ineffectual and sometimes ludicrous (see: “knife control”) in the face of increasing terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. But Karasz blamed austerity, inequality, and the U.K. Conservative Party instead.
What Was Said: ‘I think he’s done a bad job on crime’
Karasz’s subhead huffed:
That’s not fair.
Mr. Khan assumed office only two years ago, replacing Boris Johnson, who went on to become Britain’s foreign secretary. London drew international attention this spring because of a spate of murders, mostly involving knives.
But the number of cases of “violence against the person,” which includes knife crime, has been growing steadily throughout this decade, and the general crime rate has been rising since a low point in 2014, according to London’s Metropolitan Police. All of this has occurred during an eight-year austerity drive by the national government that has squeezed budgets and reduced the number of police officers in London by 26 percent.
He found a professor to defend Mayor Khan and lament “years of austerity” and “a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the city.”
What Was Said: ‘I think he’s done a terrible job on terrorism’
Another petulant subhead was offered:
That seems unfair, too.
Karasz quickly moved to absolve Khan of any blame for terrorism in the city he runs -- it's above his pay grade, evidently.
Terrorism is a national and international issue, and Mr. Khan is a local politician.
In recent years, as the Islamic State has rampaged through Syria and Iraq, many cities in Europe have suffered terror attacks. England had four such incidents last year, one in Manchester and three smaller-scale assaults in London. But the English cities were hardly alone, as Mr. Khan has said.
“Paris, Nice, Brussels, Berlin. Cities in America all suffered terror attacks,” Mr. Khan told Sky News, a British news channel, on Friday. “And it’s for President Trump to explain why he singled out me as the mayor of London and not the mayors of other cities and leaders of other cities.”
Moreover, Britain’s domestic intelligence chief, Andrew Parker, acknowledged in an interview with the newspaper The Guardian two years ago that the level of attempted terror attacks on his country had been higher than he had experienced at any other time in a career spanning three decades.
How a high level of terror attempts works as a defense of Khan's terror-fighting tactics left unexplained.
The real culprit? You guessed it:
The Conservative government’s austerity drive has also been cited by critics as having weakened the country’s defenses. “You can’t protect the public on the cheap,” Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said.