Aug 2008 13

First we had central government mistaking Newcastle-Under-Lyme for Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, now Birmingham City Council has gone one better and failed to recognise their own city.

Birminghamalabama If you live in Birmingham you will be receiving – or may have already received – a Birmingham City Council leaflet, complete with information on just how and when to recycle your household waste. The flyer urges you to keep your city green and tidy, and as a reminder of just what you’re rummaging through your bins for, a photograph of Brum in all her glory…

But hang on a second, where’s the Rotunda? The BT tower? Or Selfridges for that matter? Where’s the Beetham Tower, visible for miles? This city doesn’t look like Birmingham at all. It doesn’t even look British!

That’s because it’s not British, or even European, but it is Birmingham. Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

That’s correct, after printing no less than 720,000 recycling leaflets for the whole of the city, it took a local resident from Kings Norton to point out the obvious: that some lackadaisical staff member at BCC had clearly had one eye on the clock as they Googled for an image of Birmingham, and from that point on, right until the proof of the leaflet was okay-d with the printer, no-one at the city council happened to notice that they were promoting a green agenda for a city 4,000 miles away.

So just how could the press office turn this one around? What gem could the anonymous spokesman offer to help us realise that the mistake is ours, not theirs?Birminghamuk_4  

The following lame excuse for spin is as close as Birmingham City Council is ever going to get to admitting their complete incompetence:

“There’s no point tinkering with it…it’s a generic skyline picture. The picture on the leaflet is meant to symbolically represent an urban area”.

So Birmingham, Alabama is meant to symbolically represent an urban area like Birmingham in the UK? Hmmm. That’s what we pay their salaries for folks!

We’re assured these things aren’t going to be recalled and pulped, so at least this ineptitude isn’t going to cost us all extra, but nevertheless, it really does speak volumes of the attention to detail and level of service provided by this local authority.


  • Hardeep_Singh

    Even Birmingham city council must admit that the US Skyline looks a little more impressive than our UK equivalent. Didn’t this mistake trigger a thought in someone’s mind to wonder why the US Birmingham is more prosperous? At least they might have learned something up in the Midlands.

  • Arun Ahluwalia

    It is an era of cut & paste off google without a second glance. Might it be possible to cut & paste the brains of a dumb monkey onto the BCC
    employee who created the leaflet. Surely this would instill a sign of intelligence into him/her.

  • Diana Donald

    Just about says it all for our statutory sector with its cushioned pensions and jobs for life. There are two huge differences between our Birmingham and the US one; climate and accountability to citizens for all tax money down to the last cent.

  • Naysayer

    Erm… you do know that Birmingham is a Conservative run council don’t you? What’s your problem?

  • Chris

    Does it really matter? Its just a picture, after all.