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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 05:35 GMT 06:35 UK
'Our greatest test since World War II'
Ken Livingstone
The mayor says we should take pride in the character of our capital
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone tells how the city has coped a year on from the 7 July bombings.

On 6th and 7th July London marks one year from events that, in turn, indelibly marked London.

The spontaneous joy of 6 July a year ago, when London won the Olympic Games, was followed by deep tragedy on 7 July, when four bombers struck the city indiscriminately, murdering Londoners.

The Tube and bus network are the lifeblood of our city, moving Londoners of all backgrounds as well as visitors to the city across one of the most complex and effective transport systems anywhere in the world.

The Tube alone is the busiest railway in the country. London's response to its greatest test since World War II showed the finest features of our city.

More than anything I am proud of London, and Londoners, for the way we have dealt with what happened a year ago.

Lives saved

When the bombers struck the first people they tested were our emergency services.

The debt London owes to them is impossible to describe. Every report, including those that recommend improvements in this or that, has concluded that not a single Londoner's life that could have been saved on 7 July was lost.

London was the city in which anyone with enough talent and determination could realise their potential
Ken Livingstone

But the bombers sought to test us in other ways.

It was intolerable to these narrow fanatics that millions of Londoners of every religion, race, occupation and sex live side by side in a way that is overwhelming and increasingly peaceful, good humoured and generous.

London had become the leading city on earth in which economic well-being combines with the classic definition of liberty - that provided you do not interfere with anyone else you can lead your life entirely in your own way.

London won the Olympic Games because, as the most international city in the world, it offered a world games fit for an age of globalisation.

The universal human vision of the Olympics we projected triumphed against all the more national paths offered by competitors.

International character

The presentation that London made to the International Olympic Committee showed how children from every part of the planet could achieve their sporting dreams in London's Olympics.

London was the city in which anyone with enough talent and determination could realise their potential was its universal message.

A city whose international character had become the greatest tool for its economic dynamism and the living standard of its whole population.

Tavistock Square bus blast
A bus was blown apart at Tavistock Square

Those who attacked us wanted instead a society in which people dictate to others how they should live. In which communities live in fear and loathing.

In which the wonderful relaxed atmosphere of London is replaced by bigotry and hate.

They sought to change the entire character of our city. Such people did not represent the principles of any of the great religions on Earth.

They were criminals with the same mentality as the nail-bomber David Copeland, or the white supremacist Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.

In fact, as we saw from the yearly London survey at the end of 2005, people living in London have retained a strong sense of identity with the city and enjoy the city's cultural diversity.

As we observe two minutes silence this Friday we should pledge never to forget those individuals whose lives were ruined by 7 July and it is London's duty to look after them in every way it can.

But we should also take the greatest pride in the character of our capital city.


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