Lord Mayor: London is one of the most tolerant places in the world

An extract from Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli’s speech for the Archbishops and Bishops Dinner in the evening of Thursday 22 February at the Mansion House.

Speaking on the theme of mediation and ‘disagreeing agreeably’, the Lord Mayor is expected to say:

“The City of London is the world’s oldest democratic workers’ and residents’ cooperative, nearly 14 centuries of commerce, community, and charity. From its earliest beginnings, the Square Mile has welcomed new people - myself included - and seen the dignity in difference.

“The City of London has its challenges – that goes without saying – but I also consider it to be one of the most tolerant places in the world. And I think that can be traced back, in part, to the emergence of a new arena for public discourse in the seventeenth century: The coffee house.

“Early coffee houses were places of temperance and also of tolerance. They allowed Londoners of diverse backgrounds to share their ideas and beliefs and refine the art of disagreeing agreeably.

“That isn’t always the case today if you go on Twitter - or “X” – or many other social media sites, where people often aren’t so much talking to each other, as over each other.

“Just as in the seventeenth-century coffee house, our modern-day City is a place where all comers, speaking some 300 languages, are welcome, new ideas are embraced, and people disagree agreeably. That difference of perspectives enriches the City in so many ways.

“My mayoral theme, ‘Connect To Prosper’, celebrating the Knowledge Miles of our Square Mile, seeks to revive our coffee house tradition, stimulating conversation between different groups, encouraging ideas and, ultimately, ensuring London can fulfil its potential as a global solutions hub that can address the big issues.”


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk