If cities had personalities, what would Birmingham be like? It’s a question nobody is asking themselves but indulge me anyway.
In my head, Liverpool would be the type to play practical jokes. Not the nasty kind, like putting your hand in warm water when you sleep, more like using whoopie cushions. Newcastle, forgive me, is a friendly uncle who likes football and beer, while London has a lovely dress but is too busy to talk to you.
If Birmingham was a person, what would she or he be like?
I like to think it wouldn’t take too long until you got to the word “nice”.
When Midland artist Temper was asked to create some public art for The Cube development, he came up with “ The Lovely People ” – sculptures of people from the city with giant hearts for heads - precisely for this reason.
Brummies are, in general, good eggs.
Anyway, I won’t stretch this any further, suffice to say this is a place where we like to be nice.
This is why the Birmingham Mail’s backing for the City of Sanctuary case , and calls for the city to take in 500 refugees made homeless by unthinkable horrors in their own countries, is the right thing to do.
It is out of step with many comments on the lower half of the internet but completely in step with this city’s past, present and future.
This is a place where people come to better themselves – a city of innovation where cultures intermingle and things get made.
As I have already alluded to, people would be right to point out that Birmingham has enough problems of its own.
We have as much social deprivation as any other city, we lag other cities for skills, unemployment is still higher than it should be and child poverty levels are shameful.
That must not come at the cost of our conscience.
Birmingham, and the West Midlands, has always been a grounded place with real values, where people say “hello” back.
So yes, as the skills and wealth story improve, we must make sure that gets through to the pockets of deprivation.
We have to help our own people.
Have no doubt, if Boomtown Brum , as we have called it, fails to help people at the bottom of the ladder then it has all been for nothing.
But this isn’t a city where people watch children wash up dead on a shore then go to bed and sleep like a baby.
We are citizens of the Earth – a collection of a thousand cultures cultures which are stronger together – and parts of the world are in need.
In this time of need, it is time to stand up and remember who we are.
Graeme Brown is the agenda editor at BPM Media, the publisher of the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail