Birmingham finally bouncing back after 70 years says Centre for Cities (xpost /r/unitedkingdom)

I shall illustrate why I think this is with a short play.

Dramatis Personae

  • Bert, a Birmingham City Council person
  • Jocasta, a central government person
  • Archie, an architect
  • Rob, a Birmingham resident
  • Thomas, a travel guide writer

Act 1

INTERIOR: central government office, London. BERT and JOCASTA are talking.

  • BERT: Hi. We want to make Birmingham a truly excellent vibrant place, deserving of the title of England's second city, and a player on the world stage. We're trying to get away from the nasty 60s concrete brutalist image and build a great location for the 21st century. To do that, we need some money. Can we have some money, please?
  • JOCASTA: Ha ha ha ha! Give money to Birmingham? It's a shithole! Nobody wants to go there.
  • BERT: That's what we want to fix! Don't you get it?
  • JOCASTA: Ha ha ha you're so funny, you cute little provincial peasant. As if! I think we'll save that money and spend it on Covent Garden instead. Spend money on Birmingham? What a laugh.

Acts 2 through 25

(repeat Act 1, every year, with no success)

Act 26

INTERIOR: Birmingham city council offices. BERT speaks to the assembled COUNCIL MEMBERS.

  • BERT: right. We know what we want to do: the Big City Plan. We never get given enough money for it. So, here's what I propose. We just do it. We'll find the money, somehow. And then we'll be a gorgeous vibrant city and not the 60s horror that everyone thinks we are. It'll take a long time, but I'm taking this decision, because I want Birmingham to be wonderful.
  • CITY COUNCIL (ALL): Choo choo, motherfuckers! All aboard the Birmingham train!

Act 27

Various BUILDERS, CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS, ENTREPRENEURS, STARTUP TYPES, SHOPKEEPERS, and the like enter the stage and build many things for many years, including the best and biggest library in Europe.

  • ARCHIE: OK, your library is finished, and it's amazing, and it's already winning awards. Can I have my cheque now?
  • BERT: Er, yeah, about that...

Act 28

SCENE: on the internet

  • THOMAS: wow! Birmingham is amazing now! I must write articles about how cool it is in every magazine and newspaper on the planet!
  • BERT: um, you know how we built all this cool stuff? Now we haven't got any money to pay for it. Jocasta, can we have some money, please?
  • JOCASTA: hell no. We're not giving any money to Birmingham. We don't care that people think it's cool now; we need that money to spend on the Royal Opera House and MP's expenses. Go whistle for the money. In fact, you can have less money than you had last year, because we think your city is badly run despite how you've made it pretty amazing. I don't know why we think this: perhaps it's because you're not in London.
  • BERT: Dammit. OK, we'll have to cut a bunch of services to pay for things, because central government aren't interested in supporting anything outside London, and if we put taxes up people will complain. I am sad about this.
  • ROB: bah, loads of cuts! Why are there cuts to everything?
  • BERT: we know. We don't like it either.

Exeunt. Curtain.

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