Murnaghan 25.11.12 Interview with Boris Johnson on London trade delegation to India
ANY QUOTES USED MUST BE ATTRIBUTED TO MURNAGHAN, SKY NEWS
DERMOT MURNAGHAN: Now the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is in India today, he is on a trip to boost trade with London and I’m glad to say he joins me now from Delhi, hello there from London Mr Mayor, tell have you seen any deals signed there yet?
BORIS JOHNSON: Good afternoon. We’ve only just got here Dermot and the objective today, the objective is to get India to focus on London in the afterglow of the Olympics which I think everybody here would say were very, very successful and to look not just at the things that we do in London that obviously attract loads of Indians, affluent Indians, to come to our city for higher education, financial services, the things we are very, very strong but here in India there has been an incredible growth of this economy and the amazing infrastructure projects that they are putting in, they are going to be spending about a trillion dollars over the next twenty years or so putting in things like new metro systems in maybe twenty or thirty cities in this place, there have got to be opportunities for us in London to work with the Indians, to see what we can do to add our expertise. Don’t forget we are doing Crossrail at the moment, the largest engineering project anywhere in Europe, there are dozens of British firms involved in that and we want to see what opportunities there may be for partnership.
DM: Some say you are in the belly of the beast in terms of rivalry to London, that it is cities like Delhi that are going to take away a lot of the financial services with its hugely educated young and motivated pool of workers which are a threat to cities like London.
BORIS JOHNSON: Well of course my argument would be that they don’t have to be a threat, that both sides can win. The large pool of educated labour that you describe, actually they want qualifications that they can find in London and there are massive benefits to them of doing research in London, getting qualifications there and we’re going to make sure that we continue to advertise what London has to offer. You know, yes, it is true that Delhi and Mumbai are growing fast in financial services but that is good for London because we have got great expertise in that area and as George Bush memorably said, if you make the pie higher then everybody will get a bigger chunk.
DM: Tell me, Mr Mayor, you are going to be interested in Lord Justice Leveson’s report when you get back, do you feel – I’ve just been having a very interesting discussion on the Calcutt Report twenty odd years ago which I know you’ll be a student of, do you feel that the same thing will happen to Leveson as happened to Calcutt in that if he goes for statutory regulation of the press it will not be implemented?
BORIS JOHNSON: Well I think probably what is got to happen now is that everybody will have to listen to what Judge Leveson has to say and take it very seriously and make sure that if they possibly can have a better system of regulation they should jolly well set that up, there is no doubt about it. I think the present system has obviously failed, it doesn’t really carry confidence amongst the public at large. There needs to be a more, a tougher system of self-regulation. Where I think we don’t want to go is in the direction of a media that is controlled by politicians, that would be completely the opposite direction. For instance where I am at the moment, we are amongst the many attractions of this wonderful country is that they have a dynamic, vibrant, free and critical media. That would be a great, great shame whilst India is moving in that direction for us to be moving in the opposite direction.
DM: I also hear that media has much reported your arrival there and that some people have been coming up to you and asking if you are the King of England or Boris Becker?
BORIS JOHNSON: Well I reckon I could give Boris Becker a run around a tennis court if I was asked to but we’re here to sell London’s wares, to champion the greatest city on earth in London and I think people are very interested. Don’t forget, London is the number one tourist destination for the population of India, they love the place, but we have got to make sure we are never complacent and that we continue to sell our wares across the world and don’t forget, we’re in competition now with cities around the world that want to attract this kind of business and it is very, very important – I’ve got a delegation with me from retail, we’ve got John Lewis, we’ve got builders, we’ve got banking, we’ve got all sorts of sectors represented here and they are here to show London’s openness to Indian investment.
DM: Okay, well we won’t mistake it. That is Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, live for us in Delhi on that trade delegation.
BORIS JOHNSON: Thank you.