Tories lose London councils, cue dog-whistle 'Londonistan' comments

5/10/2022 7:05 PM
 British Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader Boris Johnson arrives to cast his vote at a polling station on May 5, 2022 in London.

As results continue to be counted in the local elections, the big news is that the Conservatives have lost three symbolic London councils to Labour — and that's triggered a few bigoted "Londonistan" comments on social media.

Westminster had been controlled by the Tories since 1964; Wandsworth since 1978; and Labour also took Barnet for the first time.

The news has prompted some on social media, often with flag emojis in their profiles, to shout "Londonistan" — a dog-whistle term, popularised by controversial writer  Melanie Phillips, to depict the Muslim population in London.

"If I were, heaven forbid, #Labour leader, I’d give up now & disband the party. #MSM tried their biased best, but somehow, outside Londonistan, it seems it is pretty clear that Boris is staying. #StarmerResign," tweeted Chris Seegar.

The term trended on Twitter as news emerged that the Tories had lost the three councils in London.

"Its (sic) not called Londonistan for nothing by the people who don't live there," tweeted one person. 

Another said: "Given Londonistan is now a very foreign city I’m guessing no one really cares?" 

"Crying about an imaginary place called Londonistan"

The boroughs Labour have won are in the more affluent parts of London. None of these boroughs have a significant Muslim population compared to other areas in the city, so even alluding that the "Muslim vote" could swing these results shows a level of ignorance and provocation.

Based on 2011 census, Barnet has more Jewish inhabitants than Muslims, Westminster has more people who call themselves of "No religion" than Muslim, while Wandsworth's Muslim population is lower than the other two areas.

Thankfully there are many more good people out there — with a decent level of education — and they saw through the racist undertones of the "Londonistan" tweets.

"What a vile, small-minded and depressing trend the #Londonistan hashtag is."

"Londonistan". Just a bit of casual bigotry from this Conservative supporter."

"Racists crying about an imaginary place called Londonistan. And that it's no longer that imaginary place where there were no foreigners."

The irony of calling the city Londonistan, given that Boris Johnson was elected Mayor twice, was also pointed out. "Boris 'fans' calling the place he was Mayor twice as Londonistan shows where the Tories are."