So, we have had another 'shut up and behave' warning from the Birmingham mafia - this time Chamber of Commerce president Simon Topman.

You would have thought they had got the message by now that this is a media-dominated age.

You can't get away any more with trying to carve things up behind the scenes.

Contrived "unity" doesn't work.

Opening debate up to the public is actually a good thing.

"There may be some people who would rather further their own interests by seeking easy PR or playing the controversialist rather than concentrate on being a great team player," says Mr Topman.

"To those who seek the bubble reputation, please remember this - it's amazing what you can achieve if you don't care who takes the credit."

Tell that to all those arguing over the super-casino, Mr Topman, including your own organisation.

I would suggest that Coventry has by far the best case because it could have one up and running in no time.

Are the NEC and Birmingham City Football Club going to step aside in the interest of unity? I don't think so.

What is wrong with giving the council a good kicking so it tries harder to produce an iconic building for Birmingham? It already seems to be having an effect with the new library designs.

What is wrong with openly criticising the latest blueprint for New Street station as no better than a bog standard multiplex cinema?

Aiming high is surely to be applauded.

After all, what iconic buildings do we have in Birmingham?

The best known are fatally flawed - the Rotunda, now being transformed but still representing the worst of 1970s concrete Birmingham, and Fort Dunlop, also being given a new lease of life, but an evocative memory of a long lost industrial age.

There is the Selfridges building, which I like but many others don't.

Er . . . that's it.

The trouble with a little cotterie trying to decide what is best for everyone else is that you end up with bland ideas which haven't been tested, conformity to the lowest common denominator and lazy thinking. You can't force unity - there has to be something that people want to unite behind.

Far better to have diversity, free-spirits and argument, because that is more likely to force the bureaucrats and the plodders to go the extra mile.

Mr Topman wants us "to think carefully about who is watching us and what messages they are receiving".

Yes, London pulls the political levers on finances . . . but has London ever done Birmingham any favours apart from stitch us up on things like the Millennium Dome and the new Wembley?

Birmingham is far better off and has always been at its best in control of its own destiny.

But the sooner the control freaks who think only they deserve the right to run Birmingham get off this city's back the better.