Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

Michael Bloomberg, Civil Libertarian Extraordinaire?

Sure, the mayor crusades against soft drinks and cigarettes. But he's got a great record where it counts.
relates to Michael Bloomberg, Civil Libertarian Extraordinaire?
Reuters

London Mayor Boris Johnson is skeptical of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's crusade against trans fat and 32-ounce soft drinks. "I'm not certain I would try to tell the people of London about the dimensions of their Coke portions," he told the New York Times last week. And, he added, "I didn't know what trans fats were. I thought it had something to do with transsexuals, obese transsexuals, or something."

Cute, I guess. But don't confuse Johnson with a critic of the nanny state. While he declines to protect Londoners from junk food, he doesn't hesitate to protect them from offensive speech. It's not surprising. He presides over the capital city of a censorious nation. British law criminalizes presumptively hateful speech, and I imagine that many cheered when Johnson ordered the London bus system not to post anti-gay advertisements for "reparative therapy" sponsored by conservative Christian groups.