You wouldn’t normally find the two of us appearing in print together. We’ve spent the last seven weeks campaigning on opposites sides in a general election campaign after all.
We’re also mayors of city regions that have enjoyed a history of friendly rivalry. The capital and the West Midlands both have their fair share of claims to fame.
We all love our football. London teams may have the upper hand at the moment, but let’s not forget that association football was born in the West Midlands and that Chelsea and Aston Villa are neck and neck on league championship titles!
We love our food too. For London’s Brick Lane (or Tooting High Street!) read Sparkbrook or Lye.
So while we may disagree over some things when it comes to politics and we will always fight to promote the attractions of our respective city regions, there are always things we can agree about.
For a start, we’re both incredibly fortunate to be working on behalf of the citizens of two of the greatest city regions in the world.
Both are defined by their diversity of food, religions, languages and cultures. Both are capable of showing how people from different backgrounds and cultures can live, work and thrive alongside each other.
Like the rest of the country, the West Midlands stood in solidarity with London – and with Manchester – in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks that sought to divide our communities.
Together we emerged stronger.
It’s in this spirit of community and solidarity that people across London and the West Midlands will be taking part in The Great Get Together this weekend.
The event is being held to commemorate the anniversary of Jo Cox’s murder by a far right extremist. Then, just as now, the country came together to reject the actions of those who try to turn us against each other.
This weekend almost 120,000 events are planned across the country to celebrate Jo’s belief that ‘we have more in common than that which divides us’. As you’ll see some of the most exciting events are taking place in our two cities.
Doves For Jo will be the centre piece of an event at Birmingham Cathedral. The Olympic Park in London will host a huge finale to the weekend.
Across the UK faith groups will be holding inclusive community events and praying together.
So as two mayors from rival parties we’re more than happy to join forces in urging all Londoners and West Midlanders to join in and get involved. If you feel inspired to organise something of your own, there’s still time and lots of ideas on how to do it on the Great Get Together website .
Alternatively, you can find out what’s going on near you and head along.
And, if you’re stuck for things to talk about? Here’s a conversation starter: despite our rivalries, what do the people of the West Midlands and London have in common?