City slickers

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The Independent Online

Ambitions stirs once again in town hall corridors across the country; fingers and thumbs search for lapels as sonorously sober speeches of acceptance are rehearsed. Her Majesty The Queen has been minded to grant the status and privilege of city to four towns as part of the universal celebration of her golden jubilee next year.

Ambitions stirs once again in town hall corridors across the country; fingers and thumbs search for lapels as sonorously sober speeches of acceptance are rehearsed. Her Majesty The Queen has been minded to grant the status and privilege of city to four towns as part of the universal celebration of her golden jubilee next year.

Splendid, we're sure. But it does occur to us to wonder whether this city business is all that it's cracked up to be. Dignitaries, councillors, clerks: just think on. For starters, from the moment HM autographs your piece of parchment, you've suddenly got yourselves an inner city, and we know all about them. And then there are those myriad other city-associated troubles – the transport, the pollution, the angst caused by trying to be as achingly cool as Barcelona.

Besides, we have seen the straw in the wind, and it's going the other way. The Prince of Wales, always a reliable sock, is concentrating on the country these days. That's where the cash and the concern will be going. If we were you, we would be drawing up action plans and setting up a dedicated team to look at the position of your parks with a view to applying for hamlet status.

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