Don't Let the Sneerers Win; as Critics Continue to Carp about the Midlands, We Must Put the Accent on the Region's Benefits
Williamson, Richard, Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
ARE we being paranoid or is the rest of the world really out to get us?
First, those sniggering southerners swore that David Ginola would never sign for Aston Villa because we don't have any decent houses up here in the wasteland of the West Midlands.
Then the Government snubbed us by refusing to buy Rovers for its ministers and officials, stirring up mutterings about an anti-Midlands conspiracy.
That was serious, whereas the absurd opinion of pompous food critic AA Gill was a mere flea bite.
Even so, it stuck in the gullet when he said that there were no decent restaurants around here but plenty where you needed to put a peg on your nose, as reported in the Sunday Mercury last week.
Hardly a day goes by without some sneering smart Alec trying to do us down.
Of course, they are almost always utterly wrong about us.
Monsieur Ginola, for instance, had the gumption to know that we don't live in mud huts and paint ourselves with woad north of Watford.
But every time the Midlands-bashers make a snide joke at our expense, they do a little more damage to our reputation.
All these jeers and jibes are also damned irritating.
True, it's often trivial nonsense, like Jeremy 'Motormouth' Clarkson getting crabby because he couldn't find a restaurant that sold lobster during the Motor Show.
But sometimes there is a much more sinister element to all this talking-down.
During the Rover crisis, there was a sense that London-based pundits with vindictive anti-Midland prejudices were keen to see the Longbridge factory fold altogether and would have cheerfully danced on our grave.
Many thought it was a sinister plot when Wembley won the race for the new national sports stadium.
Anyone with an ounce of sense knew that it should be built next to the NEC.
Ditto the row over what to do about celebrating the millennium.
We reckoned the NEC was the ideal and affordable location. So did the experts who penned the initial plans.
But no, the know-alls in London had to go and build the disastrous Dome.
At least we had the last laugh over that one.
Remember when Nigel Mansell was motor racing's world champion?
He was revered on both sides of the Atlantic by the ordinary fans who admired his skill, courage and sheer racer's instinct.
But whenever the elitists in London wrote about him, you could always bet on seeing those two sneering words 'Brummie' and 'whinger'.
Had he been a public schoolboy from Surrey he would have been acceptable, but they could never quite forgive him for talking like a Brummie. …