A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I live in a brand? Yes, Brandtown in Brandshire!

Where do you live? In a town or village or large city? If it's a large city you'd be mistaken if you didn't think it was a "brand". According to those who claim to run things, Birmingham is a brand. Those of us who want to see Warwickshire restored to glory rather than as a truncated toy of the commercial world are going to need our wits about us.

There is some assinine think-tank called the Centre for Cities, which is an offshoot of the Institute of Public Policy Research. A certain Hannah Brown, of this think-tank, wrote a report in which she thinks the old West Midland "County" could be "rebranded" as Greater Birmingham. She says, “If you are trying to attract a global investor in Chicago or Shanghai, the chances of them knowing the ins and outs of the West Midlands, or the difference between Solihull and Dudley, are probably low. So you need an easy-to-understand brand. This could be Greater Birmingham. It could be something else, but a single identity is more likely to be successful. It does seem that in the West Midlands conurbation, there are a lot of cities which would be more successful if they clubbed together more than they do.”

Hannah, my dear, if any investor in Chicago or Shanghai was so dim as to not be able to find out where Solihull or Dudley was, they wouldn't be worth the effort! Anyway, what business is it of theirs to influence and force the hand of our politicians? They can look at Google Maps like the rest of us!

The trouble is that most of these characters are lamentably out of touch. Sandwell Council leader, Coun Bill Thomas, has said he favoured the name change for marketing purposes – as long as the Black Country boroughs retained their individual identities. "In terms of the name, we need to look at Manchester where they have successfully sold the concept of a Greater Manchester,” he said. “We need to bury our parochialism and work for the greater good of the region - and ‘Greater Birmingham’ would be recognised internationally.”

Speak for yourself Bill! It is not being parochial to want your local identity. He is prepared to have his identity preserved but appears not to want it for others. That is why many of us want our counties back and a stop to this horrendous hacking about of local areas. The Great Grocer started it and it seems he has left behind a number of devotees! Well, it's about time we moved them aside.


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