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Old March 5th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #1
Elizabeth Kinoke
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Birmingham Post & Mail

Well what on earth has happened to this paper? I picked up a copy today and read a large article on Birmingham's downfalls with the headline... "Learn to love London and show some swagger"

article featuring a mainly patronising report by some **** called professor Michael Parkinson.

'Professor Michael Parkinson has been studying Brum for less than a year but in that short time appears to have understood perfectly what makes this city such an unusual place.
His 66 page visioning study, mapping out the future of 2,000 acres of the city centre, contains the following joke.
"When asked which is the second most important city in the UK, Glaswegians say Glasgow, Mancunians say Manchester, Brummies can't decide but Liverpudlians say London.'
Scousers have the swagger and Brummies generally do not, blah blah blah... more blah blah blah.. yet more blah blah (a picture of the **** and he is one ugly mother ******)... He talks about selling Birmingham as a suburb of London

The article does raise some very serious points but nothing that Brummies haven't been saying for years like better arts and culture scene provided by the council, looking after the old buildings, getting tougher on allowing crap architecture, making more of the hidden gems like Digbeth and Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham not selling itself well enough... IMO the whole point of why Brum is so great is that we don't feel the need to shout about how good we are, that surely is a better show of self assured confidence and its a good trait, modesty.. Jesus I'm having deja vu here, I do actually take strong exception to being told how to act like a Scouser or Cockney, I wonder who paid this joker to come up with so much crap, it seemed very anti Bham Council and the positives he pointed out are so blatantly obvious that even a spanner could have told you.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #2
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He talks about selling Birmingham as a suburb of London

not a clue.

What about..

selling Birmingham as the capital of central England
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Old March 5th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #3
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I have to say I totally disagree with you. He did exactly as he was asked - he put together an unbiased report on the city. Yes, it may echo what many of us have already said but that's a bonus - it gives the report more credence. It what he came up with was totally contradictory to Brummie's feelings it'd be a load of crap.

The important part of it is it emphasises all of the examples you gave to the council. Politicians don't do **** all lately without outside consultants backing them up, and this is a great first step.

As for being understated and modest - that won't do anymore. That only works if everyone else is. But if everyone else is shouting about how great they are and we maintain a 'dignified' silence, it rather makes us look like we have nothing to shout about.

With regards to the suburb of London comment - he was quoting someone he interviewed - probably a business leader - pointing out how we can take some of the strain off London and share in their success.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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Well the suburb of London statement did not read that way to me and the fact he quoted someone indicates he echoes their sentiments along with saying Brummies need to learn to love London... that's an easy statement to make but it's no good trying to love someone/thing that can't love you back , the report is telling me as a Brummie to adopt a Scouser swagger... sorry matey that is utter bollox, Brummies DO champion their city constantly under great pressure but unfortunately much investment DOES go south and Political support DOES go north at present and what the city has achieved mainly has been through its own hard effort, that is not imagined and the bias against Birmingham is as real as you and I, and so by forcing ourselves on people as an arrogant city is just going to drive us further away from the hearts of the nation.

Plenty is going on in this city but I do agree that the council or whoever??? is getting paid to look after our interests should be more vociferous with what Birmingham is/was/will be about, we do need more identity in the city, well it used to be there but it was fecking well taken from the people by numb nuts like the original library, snow hill station, new street station, free science museum replaced with a watered down version at millennium point which now costs a fortune and they wonder why families don't go there, people complained but no one listened.

Anyway I repeat, why does it take a professor from Liverpool to add credence to what the good people of Birmingham have been fighting bloody hard for, all of a sudden this guy comes along and waves his magic wand and the mist clears and the council rejoice, it will be a different story putting these ideas into practice, if it helps then great but I am sorry I do not like being told to learn to love London or to swagger like a Scouser or become less Brummie which is basically what he is saying, and to whoever said Brum could be a suburb of London, they really can take the highway, Birmingham has suffered massive levels of unemployment simply because of the rapid collapse of its traditional employment which obviously was in industry.

I think what Birmingham needs is to choose a slogan, forget second city, we are the second largest city in England but we are most definitely central England's Capital... no swagger or bullshit needed there, then continue to build on it, its not that I am disagreeing with the report but I am astonished it took a professor to make people like Whitby sit up and notice
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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Elizabeth, I would suggest reading the report before commenting upon it. I think it's an excellent report, worth reading in full, and I think that Prof. Parkinson - far from being "some ****" - was absolutely the right man for the job, and absolutely knows what he's talking about.

Selling Birmingham as a suburb of London is a clever idea and one based on realism and not fantasy. The fantasy is that Birmingham can somehow compete with London. It can't. No other city in the UK can. In fact, no other city in Europe can, except perhaps Paris. Luckily most Brummies recognise this (although it wasn't always so).

This particular idea means taking a new approach to selling Birmingham, because others have failed. Birmingham as the 'capital of Central England' is a non-starter because the English do not tend to think of England as having a north, a middle and a south. They talk of the north, and of the south, and partition the middle between those two as they see fit. Only Midlanders are fully conscious of the Midlands, and even then the sense of geographical identity is weak.

What Parkinson is saying is that London is London, and its success, stature, size and wealth grow unrelentingly, like an unstoppable train. It's pointless for any other city to try and match it, so why not try and benefit from its success instead? Turn the proximity to London into an advantage. I believe this is sometimes known as 'thinking outside the box'...
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel Ludovic View Post
Elizabeth, I would suggest reading the report before commenting upon it. I think it's an excellent report, worth reading in full, and I think that Prof. Parkinson - far from being "some ****" - was absolutely the right man for the job, and absolutely knows what he's talking about.
I think I read enough to get the gist of the report, but I will take time to read again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel Ludovic View Post
Selling Birmingham as a suburb of London is a clever idea and one based on realism and not fantasy. The fantasy is that Birmingham can somehow compete with London. It can't. No other city in the UK can. In fact, no other city in Europe can, except perhaps Paris. Luckily most Brummies recognise this (although it wasn't always so).
Birmingham can't compete against London I agree, I do repeat once again though, there is little to be achieved from loving something/someone that cannot or is not interested in returning that gesture, Birmingham can learn to love London all it likes but IMO the benefits of promoting Birmingham as the capital of central England far outweigh those of becoming a "London suburb" it may benefit those that work in Birmingham and live in the south east but Birmingham has been working hard to achieve a better image for years, we simply need a stronger leadership with a backbone to mirror the people on the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel Ludovic View Post
This particular idea means taking a new approach to selling Birmingham, because others have failed. Birmingham as the 'capital of Central England' is a non-starter because the English do not tend to think of England as having a north, a middle and a south. They talk of the north, and of the south, and partition the middle between those two as they see fit. Only Midlanders are fully conscious of the Midlands, and even then the sense of geographical identity is weak.
Central England is quite real and the fact other parts of the UK don't acknowledge it exists is simply down to lack of identity, nothing tangible, that could so easily be addressed if other cities such as Coventry and Wolverhampton got on board, sure sell Birmingham as a place that welcomes investment from London but to market it as a suburb is an insult to every thing Birmingham has worked hard to achieve from Industrial revolution to present day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel Ludovic View Post
What Parkinson is saying is that London is London, and its success, stature, size and wealth grow unrelentingly, like an unstoppable train. It's pointless for any other city to try and match it, so why not try and benefit from its success instead? Turn the proximity to London into an advantage. I believe this is sometimes known as 'thinking outside the box'...
Sure but doesn't this happen already to an extent, hardly thinking outside the box really, and I would love to hear a Londoners take on the idea of snuggling up to Birmingham, whats in it for them if they already have it all? Birmingham may be within close proximity of London in a business sense but that's about as far as it goes.

Birmingham needs more investment from the Government in areas such as New Street Station and Metro network, a stronger identity in the form of a leader such as Digby Jones and a decent marketing team... with teeth preferably. It needs a catchy title that is unique like..

"Birmingham, Capital of Central England"

Theres no "second best" in that.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #7
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Totally agree Bel. I had a speed read earlier and think its a really good report.

Rubbishing Prof Parkinson is like saying Lyons shouldnt be doing the report on council tax. He is extremely well regarded and comes from an academic background like Lyons. He has done a sterling report.

Like it or not we are a suburb of London in the eyes of some. Dont forget to a lot of the world when they talk about UK they refer to it as England and even then London england as some great megapolis.
Birmingham is a hub and its existence owes to the quirks of being a good spot to form a network for rest of country. In carrying on that tradition we can enable London to succeed as an outpost and get stronger for it.

Ive always thought proximity good, especially when so much of politics and education still hubbed in London. Just think if we built a maglev (put aside the practicalities) with one stop it would be a 20 min journey between brum and London. Once we have sorted out the links so trains from Cov can go into Snow Hill and we get the reinstated Welshpool - Brum line then I think its going to be interesting times in the transport links between Brum and London.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:41 PM   #8
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We do punch our weight in London, largest financial services outside london, also largest IT centre outside London. Still the UKs manufacturing hub. Legal services we are expecting to get a High Court too compliment London's and in legal and some financial quarters we are recognised as having a london level of success and profile in a much nicer city that more familiar than cut throat.

I think because we carry on to some extent we arent checked upon or supported to the extent that would actually benefit the UK.

I think that title sounds a little cheesy to be honest.
Id like to be the 'UKs local hub' or the one thats been used 'many worlds, one city'.
Perhaps turning the NetworkWestMidlands titling, we could be summed up as NetworkUK or HubUK.

think im getting carried away now
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Kinoke View Post
He talks about selling Birmingham as a suburb of London

not a clue.

What about..

selling Birmingham as the capital of central England

There was a recent report that showed the area of London's economic influence, a "Greater Greater London", and Brum was on the fringes of this area. I did a google and found it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...30/ncens30.xml

"We now have a greater, Greater London," said Professor Daniel Dorling, co-author of the Census Atlas. "We guess that the reason is the growth of the finance sector." By contrast, the rest of Britain is defined as an "archipelago" of islands - with each cluster of towns and cities looking to London rather than to neighbouring islands for its greatest influence. Prosperity in these islands depends on their proximity and transport links to the capital."

Parts of Warwickshire have been seeing growing commuter communities to the capital for years, especially Rugby and Leamington/Warwick. Brum can't be a "capital of central England" when much of central England is looking towards London for its economic prosperity and regards London as its capital. Other parts of the midlands are set to benefit from this proximity as well.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel Ludovic View Post
Elizabeth, I would suggest reading the report before commenting upon it. I think it's an excellent report, worth reading in full, and I think that Prof. Parkinson - far from being "some ****" - was absolutely the right man for the job, and absolutely knows what he's talking about.

Selling Birmingham as a suburb of London is a clever idea and one based on realism and not fantasy. The fantasy is that Birmingham can somehow compete with London. It can't. No other city in the UK can. In fact, no other city in Europe can, except perhaps Paris. Luckily most Brummies recognise this (although it wasn't always so).

This particular idea means taking a new approach to selling Birmingham, because others have failed. Birmingham as the 'capital of Central England' is a non-starter because the English do not tend to think of England as having a north, a middle and a south. They talk of the north, and of the south, and partition the middle between those two as they see fit. Only Midlanders are fully conscious of the Midlands, and even then the sense of geographical identity is weak.

What Parkinson is saying is that London is London, and its success, stature, size and wealth grow unrelentingly, like an unstoppable train. It's pointless for any other city to try and match it, so why not try and benefit from its success instead? Turn the proximity to London into an advantage. I believe this is sometimes known as 'thinking outside the box'...
Well said. I agree fully.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feltip View Post
Totally agree Bel. I had a speed read earlier and think its a really good report.

Rubbishing Prof Parkinson is like saying Lyons shouldnt be doing the report on council tax. He is extremely well regarded and comes from an academic background like Lyons. He has done a sterling report.

Like it or not we are a suburb of London in the eyes of some. Dont forget to a lot of the world when they talk about UK they refer to it as England and even then London england as some great megapolis.
Birmingham is a hub and its existence owes to the quirks of being a good spot to form a network for rest of country. In carrying on that tradition we can enable London to succeed as an outpost and get stronger for it.

Ive always thought proximity good, especially when so much of politics and education still hubbed in London. Just think if we built a maglev (put aside the practicalities) with one stop it would be a 20 min journey between brum and London. Once we have sorted out the links so trains from Cov can go into Snow Hill and we get the reinstated Welshpool - Brum line then I think its going to be interesting times in the transport links between Brum and London.
Brum owes a lot of its existence to the local coal and also the medieval laws that prevented Coventry from growing. Pre industrial revolution, Coventry was the largest town in the region and was a natural target for industry, but its growth was stifled by the common-land laws that prevented building outside the city fortifications. So it all went up the road to the little market town that wasn't constrained by archaic laws.

I don't know what Elizabeth is complaining about - there's huge amounts of cultural stuff in Brum. I was over that way a couple of weeks ago to see a band at symphony hall, and spent the day in museums, restaurants, pubs and then at the venue itself. There aren't many cities that offer that in the UK!
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Elizabeth Kinoke View Post
I think I read enough to get the gist of the report, but I will take time to read again.



Birmingham can't compete against London I agree, I do repeat once again though, there is little to be achieved from loving something/someone that cannot or is not interested in returning that gesture, Birmingham can learn to love London all it likes but IMO the benefits of promoting Birmingham as the capital of central England far outweigh those of becoming a "London suburb" it may benefit those that work in Birmingham and live in the south east but Birmingham has been working hard to achieve a better image for years, we simply need a stronger leadership with a backbone to mirror the people on the ground.



Central England is quite real and the fact other parts of the UK don't acknowledge it exists is simply down to lack of identity, nothing tangible, that could so easily be addressed if other cities such as Coventry and Wolverhampton got on board, sure sell Birmingham as a place that welcomes investment from London but to market it as a suburb is an insult to every thing Birmingham has worked hard to achieve from Industrial revolution to present day.




Sure but doesn't this happen already to an extent, hardly thinking outside the box really, and I would love to hear a Londoners take on the idea of snuggling up to Birmingham, whats in it for them if they already have it all? Birmingham may be within close proximity of London in a business sense but that's about as far as it goes.

Birmingham needs more investment from the Government in areas such as New Street Station and Metro network, a stronger identity in the form of a leader such as Digby Jones and a decent marketing team... with teeth preferably. It needs a catchy title that is unique like..

"Birmingham, Capital of Central England"

Theres no "second best" in that.
The Midlands has lots of identity, and is a diverse region. What your gripe is that the whole midlands doesn't have a "brummie" identity, and much of it doesn't really want one.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=feltip;12025154]Like it or not we are a suburb of London in the eyes of some. [QUOTE=feltip;12025154]

Jesus even reading that sounds horrific, I don't know any one that has EVER referred to Brum as a suburb of London, and I certainly have NEVER thought of Brum as this, its really does sound lame. If Birmingham is a suburb of London then what does that makes Coventry. I wonder what Scousers would think if a Brummie proff were to write a report on how Liverpool could become stronger economically and better liked in the UK by referring to itself as a suburb of Manchester? Birmingham does not NEED to become engulfed by London to succeed, we have our own history and identity quite separate from London.

Quote:
Originally Posted by feltip View Post
Dont forget to a lot of the world when they talk about UK they refer to it as England and even then London england as some great megapolis.
Birmingham is a hub and its existence owes to the quirks of being a good spot to form a network for rest of country. In carrying on that tradition we can enable London to succeed as an outpost and get stronger for it.
Yes, this is already happening but again why need a professor to say it just so that our council leader can agree, what use is it to us? its stating the bloody obvious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by feltip View Post
Ive always thought proximity good, especially when so much of politics and education still hubbed in London. Just think if we built a maglev (put aside the practicalities) with one stop it would be a 20 min journey between brum and London. Once we have sorted out the links so trains from Cov can go into Snow Hill and we get the reinstated Welshpool - Brum line then I think its going to be interesting times in the transport links between Brum and London.
Yes great improve transport between Brum and london, but how does this justify relating to Birmingham as a suburb of London?
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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We do punch our weight in London, largest financial services outside london, also largest IT centre outside London. Still the UKs manufacturing hub. Legal services we are expecting to get a High Court too compliment London's and in legal and some financial quarters we are recognised as having a london level of success and profile in a much nicer city that more familiar than cut throat.
This is true, we are a separate entity to London, a city without attitude, no "swagger" needed or desire to "love" London.

Quote:
I think that title sounds a little cheesy to be honest.
Id like to be the 'UKs local hub' or the one thats been used 'many worlds, one city'.
Perhaps turning the NetworkWestMidlands titling, we could be summed up as NetworkUK or HubUK.think im getting carried away now
I think you've lost your bloody marbles mate, all those names could be applied to anywhere in the UK, suburb of London even worse, I reiterate its REALLY offensive and will not wash I'm afraid. It undoes years of brilliant work by both councils, why don't we change the name to Brumdon and have done with it. Birmingham's identity is already there it just needs exposing which was part of what the guy said I think, so with that I will strongly agree.

Last edited by Elizabeth Kinoke; March 5th, 2007 at 11:49 PM.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:48 PM   #15
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Brum owes a lot of its existence to the local coal and also the medieval laws that prevented Coventry from growing. Pre industrial revolution, Coventry was the largest town in the region and was a natural target for industry, but its growth was stifled by the common-land laws that prevented building outside the city fortifications. So it all went up the road to the little market town that wasn't constrained by archaic laws.

I don't know what Elizabeth is complaining about - there's huge amounts of cultural stuff in Brum. I was over that way a couple of weeks ago to see a band at symphony hall, and spent the day in museums, restaurants, pubs and then at the venue itself. There aren't many cities that offer that in the UK!
I'm not complaining that Brum lacks cultural "stuff" but a cultural quarter would boost the city's image but I guess this is happening in Digbeth anyway to an extent. I would like to see more free things to do in central Brum, I would like to see a super sports stadium for central England, a transport museum, a military museum, a museum of culture maybe all rolled into one. Millennium point is OK but is a poor effort IMO.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #16
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The Midlands has lots of identity, and is a diverse region. What your gripe is that the whole midlands doesn't have a "brummie" identity, and much of it doesn't really want one.
no actually that isn't my gripe

I think your statement shows what a lot of the problem is here, there are many people who simply do not like Brum and so they constantly chip away at the city and its achievements, its a big place and it gets plenty of stick as its such a huge target for criticism and is definitely awkward to market, I'd be happy to stick simply to "Birmingham" no apologies to any weasley ****** , the idea of the tag line is just to try and get away from this second city issue which has been a thorn in Brum's side for years, Brummies have standards too you know Martin, I am sure many of us would happily disassociate ourselves with a few backwaters not too far away.

I tell you what, Coventry is welcome to become a great suburb of London and I am happy for Birmingham to remain the largest most economically powerful city of Central England. with close ties to our great southern neighbour
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:28 AM   #17
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EK, i have to admit though, it seems clearer that you havent read the full report, or if so do not appreciate its angle.

however, i for one am totally behind it and although it may sound shocking to you, i just want whats best for my city and if that means selling itself as a london suburb then so be it!
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #18
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doh! you said it again, stop it, sounds evil!!! I will read this bloody thing now but I still cannot see how anyone can justify that ridiculous label.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #19
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To reject the idea of capitalising on our closeness to London out of some ill-found sense of injured pride would be absolutely crazy.

London is one of a handful of global megacities, Birmingham has in the past tried to compete and failed. We've also grumbled about the fact that our proximity to London works against us.

Maybe it is time to start to use this in our favour, which will involve forgetting outdated prejudices. Moaning and bitching about whether we've the right to call ourselves the second city any more is surely missing the point entirely. In a country as focused on its capital as much as this country is, being the "second city" is entirely meaningless. We've got a huge advantage in that we are easily reachable from London, lets start exploiting that.

I, and lots of other people, live in Leamington and worked in London for 2 years, commuting down. Brum is my home city, the city I go shopping in, the city I go to for my culture fix. London was the city I went to to make a living. When you look at that microlevel, there must be thousands upon thousands of examples of the way Brum can benefit from its proximity to the capital.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:02 AM   #20
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I'm off to a meeting in London tomorrow (with Railtrack... I'll keep my eyes peeled...) - but that's only my afternoon - the morning will be "as normal". If I was going to a meeting in London from Manchester, my day would be all gone - the majority of it on the train. That's the advantage of being closer to London, not that we are some kind of dormitory town, but that if you need to go there it doesn't impact too much on your day. And it's something we should be selling.
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