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OurSay: Life Sentence.

TODAY'S news that the West Midlands is not on the shortlist of potential sites for the country's first super-casino is outrageous.

Just what does this area need to do to win the support of the government when it is dishing out prestigious, money-spinning projects?

Yet in some ways it will surprise no-one - we have been snubbed time and again by the movers and shakers in London.

And, it must be said, many observers warned that the NEC bid did not accurately match the criteria demanded for a super-casino.

Make no mistake: we are furious that neither the National Exhibition Centre's bid nor that submitted by Coventry has made it on to the shortlist unlike every other major conurbation.

And we are sure readers will share our anger and bewilderment - especially at a time when this area has suffered such a devastating wave of redundancies.

The top brass at the ailing NEC will need to summon up all their energy, imagination and resolve to ensure that today's decision does not deliver a knock-out blow to what remains one of the West Midlands' most important enterprises. Can any comfort be drawn from the fact they have been shortlisted for one of the smaller casinos?

But let's also put our fury to one side to consider what exactly got us into this mess.

We can only speculate about whether Birmingham City FC's bid - which more closely matched the government's regeneration criteria - would have fared better.

Without wanting to crow, we would point out that the majority of our readers backed our campaign for Blues' bid to be chosen by Birmingham City Council.

The politicians will now have to reflect on their decision to ignore that campaign. Some may even call for heads to roll over what will be seen by many as a mistake.

And perhaps our MPs and business leaders can ask Mr Blair and his clique just when the West Midlands, so long the powerhouse of British industry but now in the grips of manufacturing meltdown, will get the support it so badly needs.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 24, 2006
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