An interesting spat broke on Twitter this morning.
At the centre of it all, wannabe Birmingham mayor (yes, Birmingham is in the process of deciding if it wants an elected mayor not not) Gisela Stuart (@giselastuart) took an open pot shot at the local website, Birmingham: It’s Not Shit@bounder, and my better half (@probablydrunk) often pens articles for the site. However, I have been aware of the site for years, often interviewing Bounds as a response to the yearly poundings of Birmingham in various travel guides.
Get a Grip
I’m not even a Brummie (I am originally from Wolverhampton) but even I feel incredibly proud of this city. Yes, it has it’s issues (which urban area doesn’t?), and the city is constantly on the back foot defending itself from it’s industrial, grubby past but anyone who’s stepped foot in the city (especially after a long absence) is genuinely surprised at it’s transformation. Which Brummie hasn’t puffed their chest a little when someone from “out of town” nods their head approvingly at the Bullring or Brindley Place?
What makes us different from the host of other rejuvenated cities such as Newcastle, Manchester and Belfast, is that we don’t shout Birmingham’s name from the rooftops. Instead we take the knocks on the chin and wait patiently until someone notices our new hairdo.
For years Birmingham, and in fact most of the West Midlands, has been seen as the dirty, noisy, arguing folk living next door to the glamorous south. It’s something people in this city have grown to accept with a huge dose of grace and humour.
Close it Down??
Which brings me to Birmingham: It’s Not Shit – and Stuart’s call to for it to be closed down.
For starters, it is a website run by a fiercely proud Brummie who uses a tongue-in-cheek style to draw attention to the good things happening in this city. Accusing @bounder (and his writers) of a lack of pride is an enormous insult to the people actually doing something to change perception, both inside and outside of the city.
Secondly, she called for the site to be “closed down” (then “renamed” in a later tweet), revealing a lack of understanding. I can’t work out if she’s misread the title, didn’t visit the site before commenting, or simply has no sense of humour – either way, it was pretty badly handled.
ADD: Gisela Stuart has now apologized to BINS (“Apologies to @BirminghamiNS and thanks all for putting me right!”) and the matter is now put to bed.