Leading article: Bradford bulls

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The Independent Online

Now, then: Bradford has been named the fattest city in Britain, roundly condemned for eating and drinking too much and not exercising enough. Its stout citizenry, mostly, apparently, lying on their sofas, must now suffer the sniggers of the rest of the country as we jog to our health club.

Well. Bradford is quite able to look after itself, but such considerations have never carried weight with leader writers. I know, too, about the dangers of over-indulgence of appetite and under-employment of shorts and trainers, but, please, a little sympathy.

If you're now expecting something about it being very cold and windy up there, I'm sorry, as I want to tell you other things about Bradford. And chief among these is that the Bradford temperament is not suited to the ungenerous share or portion. Bradford is a four-square city, and so, traditionally, are its folk, as a visit to watch the Bradford Bulls playing at Odsal will confirm. You should know, too, that many Bradfordians are descended from the Vikings, a people rarely noted for restraint.

Many more claim other ties: Bradford has a proud history of having the world to stay. Contrary to cliché, this is an expansive place. And its favourite sons and daughters are not exactly models of the ascetic or the cold unlush, either: the Brontës and Delius, for example, and, of course, Hockney.

So it might be that Bradford has made a choice. Consider this, from another son, JB Priestley, at a hot crushed gala Bradford dinner of roast beef and apple tart: "Under the coloured-paper decorations, we sweated like bulls. The ale went down sizzling. But we were happy, no doubt about that."