Visit of Mr Rudolph Giuliani (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
February 27, 2002
Question By: 
Trevor Phillips
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I was not going to come in on this, because I do not want to give Giuliani more publicity, but it makes me vomit when I hear the way people talk about this. Following what Jennette said, I visit New York three or four times a year, as you know. Anywhere in the community that I am in, the word people use for him is "seriously butters", which means totally ugly, and they say that his actions are "hank", which means they stink.

There has been a lot of hero worship of Giuliani. On the police, he implemented the programme of the previous Mayor, on Bill Clinton's money. You mentioned Bratton: he sacked Bratton because he got too much credit. We talked about patronage: he used patronage on New York quangos absolutely ruthlessly to keep his own people in. He also had a scorched earth policy, with a $5 billion deficit. I see that Mike Bloomberg is talking about selling off the Brooklyn Bridge, and we know that he is already cutting benefits.

I know that you are too smart to follow him completely, but I wonder whether there could be one practical result of all this. Before we end up prostrating ourselves before an inappropriate model, might there be a case for commissioning a proper, sensible study of some of these issues in New York - transport and policing and some of the other questions and their applicability to London? But the point I am making is that there is a danger that we will all suddenly be swept up by a tide of enthusiasm into doing things which are inappropriate for London because of inadequate and partial information about what has happened in New York. I wonder whether you ought to consider that.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Visit of Mr Rudolph Giuliani (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Visit of Mr Rudolph Giuliani (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I do not think we need to commission a report. The biography of Mayor Giuliani that you so kindly gave me and which I read avidly is a very balanced account, which dwells on the downside that you have mentioned. We are talking about learning what has worked in New York and pinching that. No one would want to replicate the manner in which the police dealt with the black community or the lesbian and gay community in New York.

When Mayor Giuliani was here, we could have had endless arguments and rows about that, and about policy towards the middle east. The reality, though, is that he was here, first, because he had that spectacular success in reducing crime; secondly, he posed exactly the right response to reassure his city after 11 September. My broad view is that, when you welcome a foreign visitor, you treat them with respect: you do not open up all the points of disagreement.

We could disagree endlessly: I am sure that I would share all the points of disagreement that you have raised and which are brilliantly spelled out in that book. We do not need a study - we could just buy 25 copies of the book, which paints a very balanced portrait. There are no wholly good or wholly bad politicians - we are all a bit of a mix.