Mayor Boris Johnson, who despite having limited real power, has managed to excite the citizens of one of the world’s most influential cities more than any other recent mayor in London.
I have huge ambitions. Towering Ambitions. Vaulting Ambitions … for London.
He was born in New York, his great-grandfather was a Muslim, and some say he could one day be the future prime minister of Britain.
And his popularity could very well be the answer to the simmering tensions that have sprung up between Muslims and non-Muslims in the British capital.
To his boosters, Johnson has come to personify a successful Olympics in 2012 that placed London firmly at the centre of the world stage.
Locally, he oversaw an improved transportation network in a congested city where people from all over the world are trying to get along.
Despite his successes, it has not always been easy for Johnson to balance the pressures of running one of the world’s most iconic locales with his own “vaulting ambitions” for the two millennia-old city.
“The story of the next fifty years will be about urbanisation and how great cities can compete and learn from each other,” Johnson says.
“I don’t want to see unnecessary regulation from Brussels, which disadvantages us in London …. London is an asset for the entire European Union, London is the financial capital of Europe. If you disadvantage London, the jobs won’t migrate to Paris, Frankfurt or other European capitals, the jobs will go to Singapore, Dubai or elsewhere.”
Talk To Al Jazeera sat down with Boris Johnson to find out how he manages to balance the pressures placed on him with his monumental aspirations.