Message from Boris Johnson – Remembrance Day
Tamil Commemoration, Speech on behalf of Boris Johnson 17 May 2012
(Speech delivered by London Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick on 19th May 2012, Tamil Remembrance Day at Trafalgar Square)
Good evening and on behalf of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson may I begin by saying how pleased I am to be here with you, for the Tamil Remembrance Day commemoration.
I’m particularly pleased and honoured to attend today in my new role as Deputy Mayor of London, representing Boris Johnson, and thank you for your warm reception and kind hospitality. As Deputy Mayor of London, I am enormously proud of our city’s reputation as a great world city that welcomes people from all over the world to come and make their contribution.
It is part of our city’s uniqueness that we are able to have so many communities from all over the world come to London, and yet live together without rancour, hatred and intolerance.
I am conscious that for many of you, and your families and loved ones, London has been a safe haven to escape the trauma and horrors of a terrible civil war.
And that so many of you and your forebears came to London under the most trying of circumstances and yet have made such a success of your lives here – whether in business, the health service or the community – speaks volumes as to your resilience as a community and also our strengths as a city.
We are proud in London of the sheer diversity of our communities and the way we are able to live together, in a way that nearly every other major city in the world is rightly jealous.
As an elected representative in London’s government I’m often asked how we have managed it in our capital, that we are able to enjoy such harmonious community relations.
I am able to say that we have been able to do it by not only respecting each other’s beliefs and differences, but by always looking for opportunities to join each other by celebrating the many more aspects of our lives that we share.
We have been able to do it by judging people on their merits, for what they bring, and contribute.
It is that mentality that recognises that we are best and strongest when we recognise the value, and values, of others and want to do what we can to foster a sense of togetherness.
Yet we don’t ask people to forget where they’ve come from, their journey to our city, or the lives and loved ones they’ve left behind. Which is why events such as this are important.
Because it is often the case that within those back-stories lie the tools and the drive which pushes our newer communities to make their unique contributions to London.
The Mayor at City Hall has very deliberately begun a programme of community receptions where we bring everybody together to thank you for what you do in your local areas to make London a better place for us all.
We have a vision here in London, a vision to make London the greatest big city in the world. Whenever we travel to somewhere else in the world, we often look at some element of the place we are visiting and say ‘I wish London was more like this’. And sometimes we forget those parts of our city that we take for granted that everyone else is jealous of.
We want to take the best parts of those cities and marry them with to all we have to offer here. That’s what we’re working towards. In 2012, when the world comes to London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and realises that it can find its home from home here, we’ll know we’ve gone a long way to achieving that.
Thank you again for your welcome here this evening for this third Remembrance event