Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Is Boris Johnson the most colorful mayor in the world?

July 25th, 2013
04:46 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Boris Johnson may be the most colorful mayor in the world.

Known for his wit – and sometimes gaffes – the top man in London sports a floppy blonde mop of uncombed hair.

When he wants to promote the bike share system nicknamed after him – Boris Bikes – he rides them up to strangers in shopping malls.

When he wants to promote the Olympics, he ziplines in full suit, waving a tiny Union Jack in each hand. The fact that he got stuck twenty feet off the ground halfway down was just “the only piece of transport infrastructure that seriously malfunctioned” during the Games, he says.

“I'm deliriously happy,” Johnson told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at his office overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge on Monday. “I'm deliriously happy and lucky to be mayor of London.”

He helped orchestrate the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, and claims success, by citing statistics, among other things, on the number of births since the event.

“I got the statistics and this is biggest baby boom this city has seen since 1966, when England won the World Cup,” he said. “This is yet another legacy from the joyful events of the summer of 2012 … they're expressing that confidence in the most vivid possible way.”

Johnson is confident that the Olympics have been a great benefit to London – something leaders in Brazil, which has seen massive protests against in part spending on their own Olympic Games, may want to hear.

“One of the most important lessons I think we got from the 2012 experience was don't get spooked by the doubters,” Johnson said, “because they will come for you and they will find - they will criticize everything. And you've just got to butch it out and keep going.”

London is a global city, but Johnson nonetheless inserts himself into global affairs more than one would expect for a city mayor.

Among the international issues looming largest in the United Kingdom is membership in the European Union. Prime Minister Cameron has promised a national referendum on the issue.

“In the end, people are massively commonsensical in this country,” the London mayor said. “They’re going to say, ‘How can we maximize our economic advantage whilst minimizing the interference?’ That's what we're going to want.”

If a mayor speaks out on global affairs does that mean he has higher ambitions?

“I want to be mayor of London and I certainly can't foresee any circumstances in which I will be prime minister,” Johnson said.

The job, in his telling, is simply too good to give up.

“It gluts the appetite for power,” Johnson told Amampour. “You know, I can take executive decisions and get things done in London at a speed and on a scale – it’s sounds megalomaniacal now - but I don't think many secretaries of state can in Whitehall,” the seat of the British government.

Many Londoners were shocked, Johson said, when he was first elected in May 2008. Since then, they have grown used to his cutting quips – sometimes to a fault.

“Sometimes I'm making a speech and I've just got to say something unbelievably dull but important,” Johnson said reflectively. “And I see the audience looking at me, sort of waiting for me to say something amusing … but you’ve got to fight that. You've got to have the wit to be dull.”

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Rob

    So you went to London, got to talk to the top man, and this is the result? That's incredibly shallow.

    July 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  2. Canadian

    What about Calgary's mayor? Ex-professor, quit-witted, flamboyant, and yes, Muslim. He's practically a folk-hero in Calgary after leading the city through a natural disaster this year with over 80% approval and a variety of restaurants and businesses naming their products after him. Somebody even vandalized a Man of Steel billlboard to replace superman's face with the mayor's! Nenshi's so popular that there is a chance nobody will run against him in the upcoming election. Perhaps less masculine (?) than Boris, but certainly at least as colourful.

    July 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • Geography

      Is Calgary a city now? Last time I checked it was an open mine pit. :)))))))) As long as you still have the BigMac's and the Timbits you're OK. Can be classified as a city ... I guess.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply
  3. rie matsumoto

    Hello watch program.
    Iran:傷を癒す必要がある,発言,そうですね.傷を癒す相手は米だ.周りが,とやかく言うより,米とIran,対話なくて 前進なし.じっくり対話必要.話し合いして下さい.
    Egypt:ここも対話なし?何も解決しないと思うが. デモ?何の為に?他に,する事が,あるのでは,ないのか?.
    Have a nice day all
    rie matsumoto.

    July 26, 2013 at 6:44 am | Reply
  4. Cameron's Wife

    He does one hell of a porn shot to boot !

    July 26, 2013 at 9:05 am | Reply
  5. ashok

    With Scotland set to sail away, what remains in the UK that is half as precious as London ?

    July 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  6. Dan

    When it is a man blonde is spelt without the 'e'.

    July 28, 2013 at 9:14 am | Reply
  7. AdeC

    Boris is a character but lets not forget, he didn't win the olympics, the last party in government did. In fact hasn't really done anything to benefit London that the previous government hadn't already put in motion!

    July 29, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.