Johnson has submitted his name for selection to stand as the Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 General Election. He has been Mayor of London since 2008 and before that served as MP for Henley. Mr Johnson read Classics at Balliol College Oxford as a Brackenbury Scholar.

The mayor’s lecture examined  how the experiences of democrats in the 5th century BC can help us to preserve London’s unique metropolitan character today. He warned against “the challenge, global in its extent, to democratic freedoms. We must fight these enemies”, and defend democracy, the rule of law and an open welcome to talented incomers that made Athens the eternal glory of the Western world – in stark opposition to the "ghastly, self-whipping, olive-spitting, xenophobic Spartans".

The audience was left in no doubt that London is the Athens of today. The question we must answer now: is Boris Pericles?



The discussion was hosted by Hywel Williams, Senior Adviser at the Legatum Institute, with introductory remarks from Sian Hansen, Executive Director.

[Transcript - Athenian Civilisations: The Glory that Endures - by Boris Johnson - PDF]

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This lecture took place as part of the Legatum Institute’s 'Roads to Freedom' series, directed by Hywel Williams, Senior Adviser at the Legatum Institute.

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About Roads to Freedom

This series offers a progress report on the idea of freedom. The history of the developed west has been shaped by the increased degree of freedom exercised by individuals who have been able to escape the constraints that prevailed in the past. The programme's lecturers will be drawing conclusions from the study of the past while also seeking to find ways of removing the obstacles to freedom’s progress. More information is available here.


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