Metro ideas for a growing metropolis #opinion
It has been announced that the Midland Metro tram system will be extended from Wednesbury to Merry Hill via Toll End and Dudley. Work on the new ‘super hospital’ in Smethwick, also called the ‘Metro’ will be speeded up, too. The government will go ahead with HS2 as well which will sort of link with the Metro tram system in the Midlands. Who will benefit from all this infrastructure construction? The big construction companies will benefit, but I’m not too sure about anyone else.
In the Black Country, we don’t want to be swallowed up by a Greater Birmingham. In Wednesbury, we were swallowed up by Sandwell, a metropolitan council and now they are trying to fuse Sandwell and Birmingham together into a great metropolis where I assume the new mayor will have a huge staff of over-paid helpers and a limousine to tour his empire in. The Tories seem to have already picked out this new ‘Metro Mayor’. I think it will be a bigger disaster than the Police Commissioner and I doubt the new Metro hospital will be a great success either. Big is not beautiful, some people enjoy rock festivals surrounded by 50,000 people and others would rather have an intimate soiree listening to Bach. The latter is unfashionable, the former is as cool as a Beckham tattoo on your buttocks. I prefer Bach…
The Black Country
The Black Country is an urban sprawl taking in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley. People travel here from outlying counties and come in by motorway. Maybe we need Metro tram links for those suburban workers so they don’t have to use their cars and clog up our roads? It would make more sense for those wealthier suburbanites to travel in and spend money in the more deprived Black Country as well as coming here to steal all our jobs.
I think these people who want to turn Birmingham and the Black Country into a giant Metropolis watch too many Superman films. The Metro tram system is their symbol of advanced urban travel but it just looks like it was designed on Krypton. We had electric trams in the Black Country a hundred years ago and the technology isn’t that much different. There wasn’t even a Metro in the superman Metropolis was there? This fantasy of a super-modern metropolis is all very well if it were consistent. It isn’t consistent, though, they throw money at the modern structures and leave our heritage to crumble. Civic centres have been favoured over historic and prestigious town halls and that took power away from the people. The bureaucrats and politicians, far removed from the people they serve, get carried away with their metro ideas. The fantasies of a huge metropolis with digital highways, high-speed trains and gentrified shopping centres are all very well in dreams. Here in the real world, the people are shopping at Aldi and Lidl and see their heritage being replaced by mosques and temples.
Perhaps, I’m just getting old and find all this stuff distasteful. I value our historic town halls and parks. I dislike the greyness of many modern buildings. Walsall is grey and West Bromwich is just confusing. I got lost in a car park in West Brom. While Walsall has the civic centre that looks like the Kremlin, Darlaston becomes a little HMO metropolis. Darlo really does need superman to sort it out. Mind you, the HMO Daddy think’s he is superman, making millions from a housing crisis, a stupid housing benefit system and low-interest rates. The world has gone mad!
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