Mayor of London Boris Johnson suggests an emperor could save the EU during visit to Wembley school
PUBLISHED: 11:22 24 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:41 24 June 2015
The Mayor of London has suggested the installation of an “emperor” figure could prevent a possible “break up” of the EU during a visit to a free school in Wembley yesterday.
In a wide-ranging discussion with students at Michaela Community School in North End Road, Boris Johnson claimed the “rumpus” over Greece’s debt crisis should be contrasted with Julius Caesar’s ability to unite the Roman empire under a “single pillar of authority”.
Speaking of the relative peace under Caesar’s rule, Mr Johnson said: “Julius Caesar was in charge, they had one boss, they had one emperor, founded on loyalty to Rome.
“But look what’s going on now in modern Europe. Now it’s a different government and different loyalties.
“What is missing from the EU is there’s no emperor.”
The Mayor also suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has a key role in leading EU negotiations over the Greek debt crisis, may not be the right politician for the post.
“There’s Angela Merkel and people don’t want to be ruled by the Germans much- at all in fact.”
The newly elected Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip also appeared to reject the idea of a “multi-tier” currency union and shared his doubts over the future of the bloc.
“You cannot have a single currency without a single political system.
He went on to say: “It’s an elementary mistake.
“You need to have a single pillar of authority. And that is why I’m afraid it’s all going to break up.”
Mr Johnson was lost for words during a quick-fire history lesson and literary brunch at the school which opened last September.
Around 120 students put on an impressive display by chanting William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” by heart before sitting down to brunch to discuss the idea of courage in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.
Addressing the school’s first intake of year 7 students, Mr Johnson said: “What an incredible experience. This is one of the most extraordinary schools I’ve seen.
“I’ve never a seen a school like it in the whole of London. The enthusiasm you have for learning stuff is crucial for success so you’re right to study all of this old stuff.”
Students told the mayor of their pride in their new school and praised the “non stop learning” ethos, traditional teaching methods and strict discipline that has seen it compared to the Mayor’s alma mater Eton College.
Year 7 student Rut Patraucean said: “It was a pleasure to meet Boris Johnson, he believes in education and believes this school is the best school- I think he would be very welcome to come back.”
Responding to questions on the school’s rigorous standards the Mayor told the Times discipline was “actually a loving, kind thing to give” and rejected concerns of pressure or stifled creativity as the preserve of “lefty bienpensants”.
Sijan Rana, 12, said: “We are really lucky because not all schools get to meet the Mayor of London. Here we get to do things not even GCSE students get to do.”
Describing Michaela as a “beacon” of the government’s free school project Mr Johnsons added its founder and head teacher Katharine Birbalsingh as a “powerful and visionary head teacher”.
Ms Birbalsingh said: “We were delighted to welcome Boris Johnson to Michaela. He particularly enjoyed our pupils’ love of Julius Caesar and general in-depth knowledge of the ancient world.
“Brunch with Boris was lots of fun. Brunch included pupils giving one other appreciations for acts of kindness, followed by a talk from Boris and questions. Pupils at Michaela were very excited to have Boris Johnson in the house. “
The free school, set up by current governors and Ms Birbalsingh on the site of a former college, has a four-form intake including a sixth form which will accommodate 840 pupils when it reaches fully capacity in 2021.