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POLITICS: That GCLH moment - with no drink for comfort.

Byline: By Paul Dale

Bored hacks forced to stand through Birmingham City Council's tedious sale-of-the-century presentation of 60 development sites, with only trendy pearisotto and shepherd's pie canapes and not a sign of an alcoholic livener to fortify them, passed the time by betting on the performance of council leader Mike Whitby.

How often would he utter the immortal phrase "global city with a local heart" in his speech to property developers at Opus Restaurant?

Amazingly, the huge prize pot was not claimed. We all over-estimated the global factor.

There were only three GCLH mentions in a speech of Castro-like proportions, although the stewards' were divided over whether a reference to "global interest" and the "heart of Birmingham" counted. It was decided it did not.

Council regeneration chief Clive Dutton, anxious as always not to overshadow his boss, risked only one GCLH moment in his speech.

There were, however, at least 12 mentions of GCLH in the glossy sales brochures distributed to prospective investors.

In addition, a written welcome from Whitby contained the words global and globe no less than six times in five paragraphs.

I think we get the message.

Bets are now being taken on Whitby's State of the City speech which he will deliver at this Tuesday's full council meeting. Phrases will be scored on a points system as follows, with the first person to 50 points declared the winner: Global City with a Local Heart - one point (too easy).

Progressive Partnership - one point (goes without saying).

Fiscal responsibility - two points.

Cushman & Wakefield - two points.

Conservative-led - three points.

Team Birmingham - four points.

Mipim - three points.

Cleaner streets - four points.

Empirical evidence - four points.

Britain's cleanest city - six points.

There is no I in team - twenty points.

James North chooses my ties - thirty points.

I owe it all to the Liberal Democrats and I wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart - get out of jail free, automatic win, pass Go and collect pounds 200.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 8, 2007
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