Any formal function at the Mansion House in London is normally the Lord Mayor’s show, but the annual London Government dinner — always held in early January — offers the incumbent Lord Mayor a challenge, as he is inevitably playing second fiddle to the Mayor of London, i.e. the man in charge of the whole city rather than just the City (financial district). The current Lord Mayor, Alderman Roger Gifford, acquitted himself far better than most, being skilfull in both cadence and content. That is no mean feat when one has the blond bombshell, Boris Johnson, to follow. What Boris had to say was hardly a surprise, as it had been extensively previewed in a leaked story to the Evening Standard. Basically, he was arguing that Britain should stay in the European Union — a rare bit of supportiveness for Prime Minister David Cameron, who is due to make what is billed as a “landmark speech” on Britain and Europe in the Netherlands tomorrow (how pleased he must be to be pre-empted by Boris) – but that we need to scrape the barnacles from the ship of Europe that are slowing us down. This is, frankly, bollocks, and I was pleased to see that many of the City figures predictably present on this occasion had their heads in their hands as Boris rambled genially on. It is simply not true, as Boris asserted., that the great outside world is just waiting for a dynamic Britain to go it alone, or at least situate itself in some far looser arrangement with our continental partners. As the Americans made abundantly clear the other day, they are interested in the UK precisely because it is a gateway to Europe. Close that door and we risk becoming an irrelevance. Of course Boris can be witty, and raise a laugh. But it was self-evident tonight at the Mansion House that he struck completely the wrong note. The City knows full well that it needs a prosperous Britain within a prosperous EU. And it is about time more City types stood up to be counted on the issue — and to blow Barnacle Boris a giant raspberry.
Posts Tagged ‘City of London’
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 18th January, 2013
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 17th November, 2009
‘Scepticism about Europe — or even disengagement — is yesterday’s game,’ the Lord Mayor of London declared last night at his banquet speech at the Guildhall in the heart of the City of London, the financial district. ‘We need to be at the table shaping the future or others will,’ he added. His remarks, which were a scarcely veiled attack on David Cameron’s Conservatives and their persistent Euro-scepticism, was warmly applauded by the City figures present, many of whom would normally be natural Tories, but who are horrified at the way an incoming Conservative government might further distance Britain from the European mainstream. That could have a catastrophic effect on jobs and investment in London, as well as giving a boost to rival financial and business centres on the continent. Labour was not spared some of the Lord Mayor’s advice either, as he urged the Goverment to engage more enthusiastically with Brussels, to stop European rivals from choking off the City. But with the wind apparently blowing into the Tories’ sails in the run-up to the general election, we can be sure that it will be David Cameron’s office that will get more heavily lobbied by the City. And quite right too!