Monday, 4 May 2009

Pee Off Gail

How to win friends and influence people by Gail Adams, Director of Immigration and Border control FOR THE MIDLANDS who told delegates at a Home Office conference last week, that Birmingham smells of urine.

Firstly, it doesn’t. And secondly, even if it did – why would anyone announce such an opinion at a conference in the very city about which they were talking?

More worryingly, Gail's line of defence is that she lives in Birmingham, is a former Birmingham City Council Executive- and the conference was held in the city purely at her insistence.

Well thanks Gail. Hard to know who came off worse – Birmingham or you? Fair to say you offended your fellow guests, your neighbours and indeed, an entire city.

Hardly great PR for Birmingham either. At a time when the city is battling the affects of the economic downturn – we hardly need you on your soap box, trying to clean up Birmingham. That operation happened a good while back and gave us Bullring, Brindley Place, The Mail Box, Fort Dunlop, The Custard Factory, Hotel du Vin, Millennium Point – not to mention regeneration schemes in Digbeth, The Jewellery Quarter and Eastside and much, much more.

In my humble opinion, every resident of Birmingham should start to do a bit of PR for place, starting at the top (civil servants like Gail - for example). So, I shall set a precedent. I live and work in Birmingham because I like it. I like the where it is, in the middle of the country, minutes from the motorway network and close enough to other major UK cities (and a good many international ones too).

I like the surrounding countryside and I like the shops, theatres, restaurants and museums. My son likes the Sea Life centre and I shouldn’t admit it, but I like “doing the weather” at the BBC’s Midlands HQ in the Mailbox.

Most of all, I like the people. I work in PR in Birmingham but never come across any media luvvies – just down to earth, honest, hard working folk, like the rest of the city’s inhabitants. Makes you wonder why Gail lives here really. And that brings me right back to how this article began, with a headline that pretty much sums up what I am feeling right now.


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