Tag Archives: London mayor

The London Grill: Boris Johnson

In view of Thursday’s seismic results, I am republishing Boris Johnson’s London Grill written for CabbieBlog when he was challenging for the London Mayoral election. It is now a little dated, but I hope still worthy of rereading.

We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.


Boris Johnson was born in 1964. He was a trainee reporter for The Times, subsequently working at The Daily Telegraph, where he became an assistant editor. He was editor of The Spectator for six years up to 2005. He has also published a number of works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently The Life of London. In 2001 Boris Johnson was elected MP for Henley-on-Thames. He was been Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and held shadow government posts for the arts and higher education. He resigned as an MP shortly after becoming Mayor of London in May 2008. During his first term, he banned alcohol on public transport and oversaw the 2012 London Olympic Games, in 2012, he was re-elected as Mayor. On 12th September 2014, Johnson was adopted as the Conservative Party candidate for MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 general election.

What’s your secret London tip?

I would urge Londoners and tourists alike to seek out and enjoy a full English breakfast at one of the amazing family run so-called ‘greasy spoon’ cafes that have existed in this city for generations.

What’s your secret London place?

A trove of attractions is one of our less well-known gems. Across the river from City Hall, is the most wonderfully preserved stretch of Roman wall. Dating back to around 200 AD, it is a fantastic opportunity to marvel at the ingenuity of our Roman forebears, who built Londinium and helped shape the city we see today.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?

It is a modern tragedy that so many of our young people are struggling to get a foothold in the jobs market and are drifting into crime. We need more youth opportunities and improved literacy levels in our schools so that they are equipped to compete in the global market, which will help them to succeed in life and aspire to a better future.

What’s your favourite building?


What’s your most hated building?

Standing derelict for more than 20 years, the Granary Building threatened to be a blight on an area in central London that is amidst an amazing transformation. It has now undergone a spectacular reincarnation from a barren building to a university for the arts. It has become a fantastic focus on the regeneration of the King Cross area, matching my own vision for the city.

What’s the best view in London?

The view from my office window. The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the City, Canary Wharf and the giant treble clef that is the Orbit visitor attraction in the Olympic Park. There’s no better view in the world.

What’s your personal London landmark?

The most iconic new landmark of modern times is the Shard of Glass. This huge engineering feat, rising confidently up to the heavens, is a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?

Johnson’s Life of London, it contains a number of historical characters whom I greatly admire.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

London is a fabulous destination for gourmands, with more than 50 Michelin-starred chefs working at some of the best restaurants in the world. It is quite literally a cornucopia, with delicious food from across the globe to tantalise all taste buds.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?

A bracing walk in the winter cold or an early morning jog in Highbury Fields is a perfect way to start your day. Followed by a visit to the British Museum, it’s a wonderful Mecca offering an unparalleled collection of historic artefacts and gems.

Avoiding Boris Bangers

Today we have a Guest Post from Dean Ronnie on alternative ideas instead of London’s Official New Year’s Eve Firework Display and what to do if you haven’t got a ticket.

With last Tuesday’s announcement that all of the tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display have sold out, you may be one of the thousands of disappointed people that are now thinking what can I do now?

[F]or 2014, the Mayor of London has changed the way in which London’s NYE fireworks are organised. Unlike previous years, where the fireworks were free to attend and people could just turn up and queue to be given access to the Southbank and Embankment, this year the event is ticketed. However now with all of the 100,000 £10 tickets having been snapped up, perhaps you have been left wondering what else you can do. There’s no need to spend £212, which is the price the tickets have been reported to being sold for. Fortunately, NYE in London isn’t just about the Mayor of London’s firework display; here we present to you our alternative New Year celebration ideas.

New Year’s Eve Dinner and Live Band at Shakespeare’s Globe
Instead of standing around outside, why not see the New Year in with in an elegant New Year’s Eve dinner in the Underglobe dining room located underneath Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre? With this option you will have a three course meal, accompanied by half a bottle of wine whilst listening to a live band. And don’t worry, as with this option you will still get to see the fireworks. Once dinner is not waisover, you will then be able to step outside and see the fireworks

With table tennis?
If you’re looking for something really different, why not take part in some table tennis? Holborn’s table-tennis social club, Bounce, will be hosting the “Big Bounce Tournament” on New Year’s Eve, where guests will be able to enjoy table tennis, canapés, pizzas and also cocktails.

Watch the fireworks from London’s high points
If you can’t bear to miss the fireworks, you don’t have to. Simply head to the hills and enjoy the celebrations from a high view. Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill are good place to go, alternatively if you money is not an issue, why not head to London’s Sky Bar. While tickets start at £225, from the Sky Bar you will be able to enjoy 360 degree views with a welcome cocktail on arrival, champagne at midnight, a DJ, acts and performers, showings of classic James Bond movies and a luxury breakfast at 5am.

Bacanal NYE Masquerade @ Il Bottaccio
If extravagant parties are your thing, Bacanal NYE Masquerade @ Il Bottaccio will suit you right down to the ground. A raucous Wolf of Wall Street themed party, the event will comprise of food, entertainment and atmosphere in champagne brunch setting which is also complete with live performers, music and plenty of fun.

With your own New Year’s Eve Firework celebration
If you can’t join them, beat them! Don’t worry about not being able to get tickets to the main London fireworks, host your own firework display. The many types of firework display packs that are available make it easy for you to put together an incredible display. Whilst it might not be on the same scale as the main event, at least you will be able to choose the fireworks you fire and it will probably last longer too!

Shades of Grey

After their defeat in the recent election, it would appear that Labour (or should that be New Labour?) is as out of touch with the electorate as ever. Labour’s next big test will be a few weeks before the London Olympics, when we go to the polls to decide what flavour of London Mayor we want, so Labour’s National Executive have voted to have a candidate installed before the end of the year.

[A]mong the possible contenders are Oona King who had the humiliation of being beaten at the ballot box by of all people George Galloway’s Respect Party; Alan Johnson, probably the most uncharismatic Home Secretary of recent time; and two other non-entities; David Lammy and Jon Cruddas are also rumoured to be interested in running for this high profile position.

What seems to evade Labour is that unlike the rest of England, London is at the dynamic heart of the country’s prosperity, and because of this the city attracts ambitious, educated young people who see London metaphorically to have its ‘pavements paved with gold’.

This dynamic is understood by New York, our direct competitor in the Western World, and New Yorkers like their mayors to be charismatic, brash and outspoken, reflecting New Yorkers’ style.

Until now Ken Livingstone has served two terms, and although you might not agree with his politics he ticks all those ‘Mayoral Boxes’ and clearly is a Londoner born and bred.

Boris is half way through his first term and has yet to commit to running for a second, but as a spokesman for London his image must, for foreign eyes, reflect their concept of a Londoner (it’s just his cycle schemes that are a bit balmy).

When we go to the polls, please don’t give us a band of wishy, washy shades of grey liberal pen pushers to choose from, we want a man (or woman) who will make foreign television viewers, sit up and listen to what they have to say about London.