We All Know Boris. but Who Wants a Monkey? as Coventry Prepares to Decide Whether to Create an Elected Mayor in the Referendum on May 3, JONATHAN WALKER Looks at Where Mayors Have Succeeded in Other Towns and Cities - and Where They Have Failed

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THERE aren't many politicians who only need one name, but mention 'Boris' and most people will know immediately that you're talking about the mayor of London.

Boris Johnson was a well-known figure before he took control of the United Kingdom's biggest city, thanks to his television appearances and oversized personality, but his profile has only grown during his period in office.

In fact, his Labour rival Ken Livingstone, who was London's mayor from 2000 to 2008 and is standing against Boris in this year's London election, is probably almost as famous.

The simple fact that we've heard of these people suggests that having a mayor might work.

According to supporters of a mayor, one of the advantages is that they can be highprofile figures who represent cities on a national and world stage.

Certainly, there are mayors in other countries who have become international figures.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, was praised across the world for his strong and visible leadership following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Of course, the eyes of the world were on New York at the time. But the city's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is also a major figure, visiting Gordon Brown in Downing Street when Mr Brown was Prime Minister, and meeting David Cameron when Mr Cameron visited the United States. In many countries, becoming mayor of a major city can lead naturally to other senior posts.

Jacques Chirac was mayor of Paris for 18 years - until he quit to become President of France.

But is it possible that the leaders of major cities like Paris, New York or London would enjoy an equally high profile if they were simple council leaders rather than mayors? After all, simply becoming a mayor is not a passport to fame. Not many people can name the mayor of Bedford, for example (it's Liberal Democrat Dave Hodgson), or the mayor of Hackney (Labour's Jules Pipe). …