We should not have to lose name of Black Country

What’s in a name?

A lot, as it happens. It is an identity, a personality and when it comes to the names of places, they are the things that put them on the map.

There is currently no such place as Greater Birmingham.

But there might have to be if Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister and fulfils a promise to hand billions of pounds over to so-called ‘city regions’.

He says places like Wolverhampton and Birmingham will have to work together, but is fully aware of the issues surrounding names.

The people of Bolton do not consider themselves to be Mancunian. But they are lumped in with Greater Manchester.

And the people of Black Country boroughs already find themselves asked if they are Brummie on holiday.

The way that councils can access Mr Miliband’s millions will be to create a joint authority. This idea comes almost 30 years since the abolition of the old West Midlands County Council, which lasted just 12 years and became a by-word for wasteful bureaucracy.

Four years ago Labour’s last big devolution project, the regional development agencies such as Advantage West Midlands, were also scrapped because they spent too much on themselves.

Birmingham has done well over the past few decades. It is a city transformed with the biggest library in Europe, an attractive canalside and is currently getting a £600 million train station built.

The Black Country has had little more than the crumbs off the table, by comparison.

Wolverhampton, lumped in with the Black Country but a distinctive and individual city in its own right, never got its £176 million transport interchange, just a bus station.

So Mr Miliband and David Cameron must both be prepared to accept a certain degree of cynicism when it comes to their respective promises to revive the Black Country.

This is an area that has watched the investment flood into Birmingham while the towns have missed out.

No-one is clamouring for the return of West Midlands County Council. If anything, there are more people in areas such as Sandwell that would prefer to see the return of their former town councils. Swallowing the Black Country and its diverse array of towns into one big region named after Birmingham will do it no favours. Investment is essential if the Black Country is to survive and thrive.

But it should not have to sacrifice its very identity to get it.

Comments for: "We should not have to lose name of Black Country"

funny old world

I wouldn't be surprised if the word black wasn't removed under labours multicultural utopia.

Codsallman

It's not that long a ago when Wolverhampton was in Staffordshire.

Switching to the West Midlands was the start of Greater Birmingham.

Wolverhampton holds no status now, it has been run down over the last 20 years or more and is now no more than a satellite of Birmingham.

Too late to start shouting now E & S.

daniel.badger.16

There is no "place" called the Black Country. It's a label that is used regardless of boundaries. It is not an official label or area, it just is. Having a Greater Birmingham will NOT change this, the Black Country will always exist. It doesn't matter in the slightest. The Black Country will exist in the same way that the Jewellery Quarter exists, the Gun Quarter exists, or Digbeth exists. We are not becoming part of Birmingham, we are becoming part of Greater Birmingham - something Birmingham is also doing. It doesn't matter.

PJW Holland

Labour were the architects of the gerrymandered boundaries that have caused so much damage. In the printed edition the Express and Star talks of Millie Bland "leaping"... hardly a leap when it took weeks to happen.

Labour cannot be trusted on Local or National Government. Here was a classic example of the double talk from a lying politician talking out of both sides of his mouth and his a**e at the same time.

This blackmail attempt is the same as any other. There is a price and no likelihood of delivery.

DJ Hughes

Wolverhampton does not need to part of a Greater Birmingham or the Black Country for that matter. Why can't Wolverhampton, a city with 240k people, stand on its own feet and apply for funding itself which can be used in Wolverhampton. Why should Wolverhampton add its 240k population to that of Birmingham so that Birmingham can get more funding as a bigger area because we know where that money will be spent and it won't be on improving Wolverhampton.

Codsallman

DJ Hughes, Wolverhampton, I am afraid, has proved it is incapable of standing on its own two feet and is a few months away from bankruptcy.

Just tell me where Wolverhampton has improved anywhere in the last 40 years.

My concern is where will the Greater Birmingham boundary finish?

I think it will probably extend upto the M54 which will engulf areas such as Codsall, Bilbrook, Perton, and all areas east of the motorway.

Oh, and you won't be able to do a thing about it.....just like joining the EEC.

Annie Bro

Gerrymandering is the labour supporters favourite tactic to gain power, they know a 'Greater Birmingham' will forever be 'red', effectively wiping out representation for the half million conservative voters that will be enslaved by labour's destructive policies;

Don't believe me?As another poster points out, it's been happening in Wolverhampton for years, well since the breakup of Wednesfield 1899 ( Wednesfield Heath, which then became Heath Town in 1929 and now the Heath Town ward itself having been split,. ends up within a few hundred yards of the 'Village' itself), all in an attempt to swing the boundaries in favour of labour; Wolves NE ( effectively historic Wednesfield) has always been a swing seat, not exclusively Labour, but not anymore, since the Gerrymandering of Pendeford into the seat and the renaming of areas to take out the Wednesfield links, with even the islands of Bushbury encroaching !

Of course the actions of Roger Lawrence ( big supporter of the laughably called 'Greater Birmingham'), has rapidly hastened Wolverhampton's decline with incompetence and politically motivated wasteful spending policies and made it easy meat;

It might also be a 'tad' beneficial for Birmingham to annexe Wolverhampton & the Black Country to pay off it's £1bn+ debts and fund future massive spending on infrastructure in Birmingham, whilst WV & BC get f...all as per usual;

Fight this typical left wing, big government, anti-democratic bullying agenda folks before it's too late, ( if it isn't a 'done deal ' already)

Codsallman

Annie Bro,

Bang on....but it is too late,...and there is no one out there who will do a thing about it....except moan on here or Facebook.

Crell

Exactly the same is being done in the States vis-a-ve land grabs and open borders. The super state has been systematically destroying this region for yeas - why do you think it is so despised? It has struggled to gain an identity on account of it being treated as a social and political dumping ground.. a place of low wages and long hours, high population density and some of the worst traffic and congestion in Europe. You see few articles or video blogs painting this region in a positive light. The powers that be do no want this region to have an identity much the same as the US government does not want Americans having the last say over their borders, their identity and and their land rights. And it's been like this here for many, many years. Why do you think it's so hard to place this area on a map? Because the super-state does not want it to be on one. If this were the Ukraine it would be called balkanization but since it's the Black Country, since it's England.. it's called multiculturalism. This was never agreed, it was forced on a populace that was conditioned never to answer back.

jason.smith.796569

Annie bro:you are spot on there with your comment!