Joint bid for culture city status makes no sense

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The list is impressive whether you are part of the fabric of Portsmouth or an outsider. Consider these: the Spinnaker Tower; two large thriving theatres and a major concert hall; centuries of naval history and the old ships and magnificent buildings that go with it.

Then there are the city’s links with a clutch of the world’s greatest literary figures: Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen and Nevil Shute.

Add to this enticing list the thriving independent and colourful arts scene surrounding Albert Road, and Southsea in general.

And there’s more: what about all our museums – the unique D-Day Museum, City Museum, Royal Naval Museum.

And so it goes on. All perfectly good reasons why Portsmouth should be considered as the UK City of Culture in 2017.

So why on earth have we teamed with Southampton to submit a joint bid for that title in four years?

Yes, they are our rivals in many aspects of life, apart from the football, but are these two great cities not big and bold enough to fight their corners individually?

We believe Portsmouth, as a thrusting 21st century university city, has thrown off enough of its grimy old past to have the confidence to stand on its own two feet and go it alone. The buzzing cultural life of Portsmouth past and present is surely evidence of that.

The decision to make a joint bid makes no sense.

Southampton too is strong enough to also make an individual bid. So why don’t we both fight it out with the other contenders?

Can you imagine the scenes should the joint bid win?

Events in 2017 would be split between the two cities and those attracted to them would go away with lasting memories... of a drab, soulless drive on the M27 with probably a traffic jam at either end.

Is that really the impression with which we want to send people away? Of course not.

Let’s be sensible and if it’s not too late, divorce Portsmouth from Southampton. Let both contend with the others and allow our wonderful heritage to speak for itself.