DIARY: Brum loses the plot, Prescott the jester, and Hill crushes our man

Conspiracy theories abound in Birmingham as the city struggles to accept losing the capital of culture 2008 bid. While fellow losers, Newcastle-Gateshead, Bristol and Oxford have been cheerfully getting on with their own cultural campaigns, Birmingham is convinced it is the victim of a foul plot. A scrutiny committee has been sitting for weeks with cries of "it's not sour grapes but..." emitting from all and sundry. Aston Villa FC chairman 'Deadly' Doug Ellis is the latest to advance his theory. "We were up against the London mafia and there is no doubt that things were going on behind the scenes," he told the committee, adding that Liverpool's win was politically influenced. The surprise of the loss to Birmingham is confusing Diary. With six cities competing and only one prize? You do the maths.

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