A city proud of its welcoming reputation
Dear Editor, Once again Paul Burke's pen runs away with itself without first checking the credentials of his own party. (A political correctness too far, Post Nov 2).
It is not very long ago that one of his own was unceremoniously dumped from office by his own party for attempting to rename the Birmingham Christmas Market as the German Market - how quickly the memory fades!
At the council meeting held on 5th December 2006, Labour Councillor Chauhdry Rashid received thundering applause from all sides of the chamber for his condemnation of the idea to rephrase Christmas lights as festive lights
I quote from his speech: "As a Muslim, I have no objections to the outward and visible celebration of Christmas be it in our schools, in our homes or in our communities. It is a religious Christian festival and as such should be celebrated and shared.
I would compare this with the Muslim celebrations of Eid. As a Muslim, I would be angry and hurt if for political correctness, the celebrations of Eid were undermined and undervalued because it was felt to be not quite right to have this outward show of Muslim beliefs. I know this would be the same for Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and for members of all religions. I would ask this council and its members to remember this when they are deciding what is politically correct or not."
Birmingham can be proud of its record in welcoming, understanding and accepting many religions and their celebrations. The city council goes to great lengths to ensure everyone who lives and works in Birmingham regardless of religion, race or creed can feel at home in our city.
Unfortunately, all religions and political parties have a few individuals who attempt to isolate themselves from such tolerance through inappropriate behaviour or communications. I would venture to say that Paul Burke's letter is one such example; an ill-thought out, off the cuff letter that was aimed at taking a cheap swipe at the Birmingham Labour Party but instead highlighted his own small-mindedness and, to quote Mr Burke, "a sure way of creating division within our communities".
COUN JAN DRINKWATER, Weoley Ward
Neighbours putting their lives at risk
Dear Editor, The Alcester warehouse blaze over the weekend is a tragic and stark reminder of the risks some people are prepared to take as a normal part of their working day. This is what they choose to do for a living and while they hope for a safe and quiet shift, they know that one call can put their futures at risk.
As the smoke clears over Warwickshire this morning, perhaps it would do us all good to put our own jobs in perspective. As we drag ourselves into work and complain about packed buses and jammed roads; then as we sit slumped at our desks and complain about another task being added to our list we should turn our thoughts to the thousands of our neighbours in the Midlands who have traded in safety and security for service. They deserve our unfailing gratitude.
ARTHUR LEADLEY, by email
We are being run by mobile phone
Dear Editor, Oh Dear. Liam Byrne is in trouble for two (more) reasons. Firstly, he has troubled the legal system with his mobile phone shenanigans, and embarrassed his party into the bargain.
But secondly, he should be in the firing line from his voters. Are we really expected to believe that Mr Byrne and his department are so disorganised that he is having to make obviously key decisions on a mobile phone in his car? Please tell me that things are more organised than that in a frontline government department.
BETTY HIGHGROVE, Shrewsbury
Our city centre really works
Dear Editor, I am an unusual Brummie, in that I am an office-Brummie and not a house-Brummie.
I have worked in the city - and seen it grow up - for many years, but have always lived forty miles away. But a few days ago I got a rare opportunity to spend an evening in Birmingham and had an eye-opening time. The much-derided Broad Street was packed, but everyone was having a great time and I didn't see a sign of trouble.
The pubs were inviting and the smaller bars and restaurants on Brindleyplace and at the Mailbox would not have looked out of place in any top European city.
Who'd have thought it? Birmingham city centre is an out and out success!
MICHAEL DARLINGTON, Harborne