Thriving in our Science City status
Dear Editor, As current chair of the national body of Science Cities and a member of the Birmingham Science City Partnership Board, you will appreciate my initial alarm when I saw the headline on Wednesday's front page story, which read "Funding fears over Science City status" (Post, December 12).

I would first like to point out that Birmingham's status as a Science City is not in jeopardy, it is, in fact, thriving. The announcement of the large shortfall in funding by the new Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a concern, and has serious implications for the future of physics research in the UK.

Whilst it is regrettable, it has nothing to do with the funding of Birmingham as a Science City. Science City initiatives are funded from a wide range of different income streams, unconnected with the STFC.

One example of this funding is the unique way in which Advantage West Midlands has committed up to

£80million for the universities of Birmingham and Warwick to collaborate on ground-breaking research into energy futures, advanced materials and translational medicine. The first of the capital projects is already awarded - £6.3 million is funding research into how hydrogen energy can be generated, stored and used as a power source in buildings and transport.

The city and region's commitment to Birmingham as a Science City is beyond question. It is the foundation of the next stage in Birmingham's economic transformation as it will attract greater inward investment to the region. More importantly, Birmingham's development as a significant knowledge-driven economy for science will also impact on and improve the quality of life of our region's citizens.
 Prof MICHAEL CLARKE, Vice-Principal, University of Birmingham,
 Chair of National Science Cities Group,
 Member of Birmingham Science City Partnership Board

Perfect role models and questionable characters
Dear Editor, Gisela Stuart (Labour, Edgbaston) is keen to praise Cherie Blair as a role model for young girls and quick to criticise Margaret Thatcher.

Gisela Stuart chose to overlook the fact that "perfect mum" Cherie used the services of a known ''conman'' to secure a discount on two Bristol flats - perfect role models don't get involved with such questionable characters - do they?

Or is that the norm in Gisela's New Labour?
 DANNY KEANEY, Stratford-upon-Avon

Thrill of the bulldozer
Dear Editor, Ray Hassall, the Birmingham cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, is wrong in his belief that the City wants new multi-million pounds sports centres instead of refurbishing existing facilities (Fears for Moseley baths, Post December 13).

Only seven indoor swimming pools in Britain have been granted Grade II* status, of which Moseley Road Baths is one - making it a building of national significance.

Population trends and road changes have forever altered the character of Moseley Road, but this precious building surely offers the best possible foundations for any potential renewal of civic pride.

Moseley Road baths is not only a place to swim, it is also the living repository of a lifestyle that was common to millions of Britons in the 20th century. We are fortunate in Birmingham that we hold a national treasure in our hands, indeed, an aqua-theatre to be proud of.

Sadly, for the citizens of Birmingham, Councillor Hassall is talking about the historic swimming pools in the city as if he owns them. They belong to us and to future Brummies, not to councils, banks, or pension funds - they are our piece of Birmingham history and we should be determining how they are saved and cherished.

Even sadder for Brummies, is that philistines in the Council House find something rather thrilling about the idea of bulldozing through several generations of our wonderful history.
 GRAHAM SHORT, Bournville

Losing our traditions and culture
Dear Editor, I agree with Mark Pritchard, the Conservative MP who said failing to acknowledge the Christian message of Christmas in primary schools was taking away our traditions.

Political correctness and human rights are doing a great deal of harm to this country.  The heads in our schools, who fail to acknowledge the message of Christmas and blame other faiths should be sacked. I for one am fed up with what's going on.

Our Christmas traditions and culture are disappearing, and it's not the other faiths who are to blame, it's the headless idiots who think they know it all.
 G JEAVONS, Halesowen

Give it to charity
Dear Editor, Is anyone really so rich that they can justify splashing out £1,400 on a mobile phone? (Cashing in on the £1,400 price tag for mobile phones, Post Business, December 12).

I find it a very sad reflection on our society that this can really be seen as a "gap in the market".

If your man / woman / significant other possesses so much already that you're considering spending over £1,000 on this gadget, they obviously don't need a Christmas present at all this year. Give the money to charity instead. 
 PAUL BLACK, Birmingham

A waste of money
Dear Editor, Ray Hassall is totally right when he says we shouldn't be wasting time and money saving old swimming baths (Fears for Moseley baths, Post December 13).

However much we may hate it, children today - and most of their parents for that matter - just aren't interested in these basic facilities; they want water slides, jacuzzis, wave machines and other such things.

It would be wonderful if we could save the Moseley Road Baths, but perhaps we should be putting this fabulous building to some use other than swimming?
 BRENDA FRANKLEY, Moseley

Limit of 20mph at schools roads
Dear Editor, I fully support the views expressed by Mark Jackson in his letter about the speedophiles of Kings Heath (Taking action against the 'speedophiles', Post December 12).

What is clearly needed on the roads surrounding the school is a 20mph speed limit. Car drivers use the roads through the area to avoid the congestion elsewhere on the main roads. What they have to accept is their there journey will be slow and they should not not have priority on these roads.

Other schools across Birmingham have this designation - it escapes me why this can't happen here. This designation, combined with more effective speed humps, would be a start.

In future, perhaps the planned opening of the passenger rail line to Kings Heath and Moseley will also take some traffic off the roads. 
 PATRICK WILLCOCKS, Kings Heath