Imagine you were one of the competitors for the European City of Culture 2008 title - say Gateshead/Newcastle or Birmingham. Wouldn't you be feeling fed-up at what has been going on in Liverpool in the past couple of weeks? The competition winning design for the Fourth Grace, by Will Alsop - used by Liverpool as evidence of its commitment to architecture, the public realm and the city's cultural future - was scrapped behind closed doors. What this means is that Liverpool's successful bid was based on a false prospectus, and will be used as evidence that the cultural promises from that city are worthless. As it happens, Liverpool Corporation is not a scheme funder, nor does it directly own the site. This did not stop its chief executive making his kiss-of-death announcement without talking to the winning consortium or Alsop, which one would have thought common decency required.