Dear Editor, There have been so many letters over the years about the new name for our conurbation or City Region, I’d like to stick my oar in and hopefully create some feedback.
The fact is our “city” of urban sprawl contains many townships and suburbs, and irrespective of their official local authorities (in brackets), Walsall (WS), West Bromwich (SW), Dudley (D), Halesowen (D), Rubery (BG), Solihull (SH) and Sutton Coldfield (B) are all equi-distant from the city centre and to look at these places on a map suggests they are “unofficial” suburbs of Birmingham. I appreciate Stourbridge and Wolverhampton are further out than Dudley, but they intrinsically link to Birmingham through the chain of never-ending urbanity and can be included as “suburbs” too.
I would note here that Coventry is in no way joined to our conurbation and should be re-instated back into a new Warwickshire as soon as possible, so that the other county towns like Warwick and Nuneaton have a city to link up with.
Although the term “Greater Birmingham” is frowned upon with suspicion by Black Country folk the City Region name has to include a geographical clue for a global public, rather than the confusing and continuing use of the term “West Midlands”.
In 1974 it was decided to use this name because we live in an area that is West of the East Midlands, but the decision was flawed because the counties of Hereford, Worcester and Shropshire being further West than our conurbation, were never in the equation. Using this theory the true geographical name of our conurbation should really be called “Central Midlands”, but that would sound pathetic to describe a “city” of 2.5 million.
Another confusion of the term “West Midlands” is that the local media keep using it to describe the rural region and the urban area to suit their particular story which could be stopped overnight by using “Greater Birmingham” instead for the latter.
To add to this nonsense, I know of a golf course in Warwickshire called West Midlands Golf Course, a hospital in Cradley Heath called West Midlands Hospital, and of course there is the West Midlands Safari Park too. The naming of these facilities all emit a vagueness and offer no information for visitors to help pinpoint them within the region.
So to conclude, we can’t have a region of 5.5 million people having the same name as an urban conurbation of 2.5 million citizens. Therefore the City Region must have a strong focal title and the dominant city being Birmingham, must be at the centre of the name. People from Ashkabad to Zanzibar won’t have a clue where West Midlands or where Sandwell is, for example, but after a quick glance at a UK map will find a great big dot slap bang in the middle of the country labelled Birmingham.
Mr Chubb’s lack of judgement over Winterval
Dear Editor, Michael Chubb praises his invention, Winterval from 1997 (Birmingham Post, November 5).
Apparently, at the time, we the public were too dim to grasp his idea (or ‘brand’ as he calls it). Worse still, malevolent journalists misrepresented it because there wasn’t enough news around – though gaining media coverage was apparently one of his goals. Mr Chubb tells us that his aim was to gain positive national and international coverage for Birmingham.
He was ‘amazed’ to find that instead of promoting our city, his ‘brand’ held it up for criticism and ridicule. Well, I am also amazed. I find it breathtaking that the Council could employ someone with such poor judgement in the job of Head of Events: someone who could not imagine the possible consequences of this lame idea. He and the Council then repeated the mistake by having a second Winterval in 1998, predictably followed by further mockery. And if further evidence of his lack of judgement were needed, Mr Chubb concludes by declaring that it is now time for the city to stand up and be proud of Winterval.
With memories of being wished a Merry Winterval by Mancunian friends, you can include me out of that one, Mr Chubb.
Dr Allan J Norris,