Your recent features on Birmingham (26 May, page 44) and Manchester (27 January) do seem to demonstrate considerable editorial bias. While your article on Birmingham's "broken dreams" spells out many a truth that I myself have written letters on to the local press, it is plainly incorrect to say that the "city's transformation never got off the ground".
Anybody with more that a passing knowledge of Birmingham will tell you that large areas of the city have been transformed in the past 20 years. Brindleyplace has been hailed worldwide for its regeneration of the waterside area and the Bullring and its Selfridges building have brought Birmingham retail prowess second only to London's West End. Your article prefers to highlight the areas still suffering from underinvestment and poverty. Yes, they are an issue for the city, but these issues are common to all cities in this country, Manchester included.
You bring up Birmingham's failures on the national stage. What you fail to mention is that in the case of the millennium exhibition and the national stadium, the city had cheaper and more accessible solutions for the nation as a whole, but fell foul of political agendas.
Your article merely recycled quotes from the local media, and took opinions from local people - Selfridges has been a hotly debated building since it was built, but nobody can argue against its place on the architectural stage, whether as a fan or critic. In contrast, your Manchester feature allowed Tony Wilson to take editorial control of an entire issue and use it to proclaim his city to be "Britain's most vibrant" on the front cover. If you gave me such control, I could certainly do the same for Birmingham.
Peter Winnicott, Bournville, Birmingham
The property industry has a phrase to describe a valuation where the surveyor clearly missed the point or was not appraised of the facts - "a drive-by valuation". Does journalism have the equivalent? It's the only rational explanation for your article on Birmingham.