Dear Editor, So £600m is not enough to replace the much criticised New Street station.
But £545m is enough to by two new Birmingham hospitals, the new "Super Acute Hospital" replacing the QE and Selly Oak Hospitals and now recently opened "state of the art" mental health facilities.
The new acute hospital as you can imaging will have the most up to date high spec diagnostic and technical equipment that can be found anywhere in Europe.
This equipment is not cheap and with the high specification required for the buildings it makes you wonder what is going to be included in the new station that makes it so expensive.
A further comparator is the new Wembley Stadium £757m for 80,000 or so seats around a football pitch, yes they have lots of toilets and bars but hey its hardly high tech.
A Commons Select Committee is reported to have said that the proposed £600m spend on the New Street site would be an expensive sticking plaster. To my mind let's spend another £545 on health care in the city and pump a £1m or so into tarting up the station concourse area if that's what's needed.
I use the Cross City line every week and spend less than 15 minutes on the platforms themselves.
Yes there could be more seating on the platforms but it's only a transit area.
The real issues as I understand it is the predicted increase in rail traffic and whether the current New Street tracks and platforms can cope, so can we get away from the "let's have loads of glass and water" designs of the concourse and concentrate on solving the rail traffic increase which may cost less than the estimated £600m.
Our two new hospitals appear to be a bargain..
Brown moves from education to a strategy of failure
Dear Editor. Eleven years into a Labour government, we have now come full circle from the triumphant words of Tony Blair, “education, education, education, to the dismal reputation of Gordon Brown, “failure, failure, failure”.
The news that 20 per cent of teenagers are missing the opportunities of education puts paid to the very first Blair pledge on which his entire premiership was based. The impact of Gordon Brown’s huge raid on pensions, one of his first decisions as Chancellor and partly ignored at the time, can now be seen for what it is, the robbery of swathes of pensioners who are suffering from almost every decision he has made since. As we commence the final spiral of this government to its unhappy end we will be faced with the same legacy of every Labour government on record, huge debts, and a demoralised population. But this government will leave an even worse legacy as they have contributed to the total breakdown in society with a range of liberal laws which have destroyed many of the values which put the ‘Great’ into Britain and favoured those who wish to ‘opt out’ of society rather than ‘opt in’.
Whilst most of the values which many in our country have valued and been taught by our parents to value have crumbled, just look at what has gone up. Taxation is high, and not even honestly high as the government has used a range of what we are told are stealth taxes or quietly slipped in, so that we might not recognise or notice them. Whichever way we turn in life, wherever we go, whatever we buy, it costs more and a great deal more.
So what do we hear from the Prime Minister and all of his cohorts ? Crime is down, but it’s not; what is down it’s the way it’s recorded, if at all, so that we are hoodwinked into thinking we live in a safer society whilst we might also have got better at protecting what belongs to us.
The prisons are full with ‘house full’ notices and convicted criminals are allowed out early to roam the streets and threaten us all again. We are told our economy is stronger than every other country yet we read that public deficits are in crisis, as is the Chancellor’s office. Millions of us face huge rises in the basic commodities of all, food, heat and energy; the same millions will be pushed to afford to run even an old motor car.
If that were not enough, the standing of those who govern and lead us is at its lowest. We rarely believe what they say – usually because it turns out to be wrong. The way in which they have preserved regulations for themselves which are denied to the rest of us, has encouraged a lack of respect for MPs which we have never experienced before. Attempts by the minority [where were all the others] to change the system of what MPs take from the taxpayer to fund a lifestyle which most of us can never aspire to, have failed, and many will pay for this folly at the ballot box.
Until MPs are seen to treat the people fairly, their reputations will continue to suffer. Much of what has happened, if not actually started, has occurred on this government’s watch and it is for them to put it right.
Sir Bernard Zissman.
Sheer delight at the talent in the CBSO
Dear Editor, My wife and I attended - in my private capacity - the Sonu Niigaam Concert entitled “Rafi resurrected”, which was performed at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 15th July 2008.
I felt that I had to share my sheer delight at the huge talent that exists within the CBSO. The grace, excellence and mastery of Indian music by English performers was a incredible experience for the eyes and ears, as the CBSO effortlessly mixed with popular Indian cinema music to create such a huge impact.
The performance did Birmingham proud and was followed up with similar concerts, during last week, in Manchester and London. The CBSO does us proud and is a great asset for Birmingham!
I hope you see fit to print my praise of the CBSO. Thanks.
Dr Mirza Ahmad LLD (Hon), MBA, LLM, Barrister
Chief Legal Officer, Birmingham City Council, Ingleby House, 11 -14 Cannon Street.
Eating cake with dogs on the bed
Dear Editor, We have been advised by our millionaire gas chief to wear two jumpers this winter.
Would he also advise us to eat cake because of the high cost of bread or do as the American Indians did in the winter and throw a couple of dogs on the bed?
If so I would remind him of the fate of those advisors.
Poor man at the gate,