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While I like the new AJ on the whole, I must say I greeted the return of Will Alsop as a columnist with mixed feelings. But it seems, from his latest offering, that with the passage of time Alsop is becoming a bit wiser.

'The threads of our pluralistic culture need to become clear and not transformed into a potentially corrected version of some new sense of identity. A struggle for independence from the past is a sign of insecurity and weakness, ' he wrote last week (AJ 01.09.05).

Hear, hear! So how does Alsop square these noble sentiments with the absurd makeovers he keeps proposing for places such as Barnsley and Middlesbrough, with their seeming contempt for history? Perhaps we will be told.

Ivor Patterson, Banbury, Oxfordshire

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