This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Our culture city rivals are "crap"
by Peter Warzynski
Leicester's three City of Culture rivals have been included in a national list of the UK's "crap towns''.
Hull, Dundee and Swansea all appear on the Crap Towns longlist – a collection of the 100 worst towns and cities in Great Britain.
However, Leicester – the home of Richard III, National Space Centre, Curve theatre and the Attenboroughs – is nowhere to be seen on the roster of rubbish places to live.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby welcomed the news, but said the real test would come in November when the 2017 UK City of Culture winner is revealed.
"Well, I already knew Leicester wasn't crap," he said.
"But I rather suspect that this list is a bit tongue in cheek because I know the three other City of Culture contenders have a lot to offer.
"So let's wait until November and we can prove once and for all we are the best city."
The 100 nominees will be whittled down to 50 via an online vote and included in a book of the UK's worst places to live.
Also making it on to the longlist is York – whose supporters are locked in a bitter battle with the University of Leicester over where the remains of Richard III should be laid to rest.
Despite Leicester's exclusion from the list, one county town made it into the top 100.
Loughborough can be found nestled comfortably between London and Louth, in Lincolnshire, on the alphabetical census of crapness.
Hearing the news yesterday, Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan said: "How deeply unfair. This has clearly been put together by someone who has never been to Loughborough.
"I know it's all a bit of fun, and tongue in cheek, but nobody wants to hear their home has been nominated as a 'crap town'.
"Oh well... I just hope people get voting and make sure that Loughborough doesn't make it any further than the top 100.
"We have a great town here, with a fantastic community spirit, wonderful tourist attractions and a top-class university."
David Cameron's constituency, Chipping Norton, is also on the longlist.
The quaint Oxfordshire market town – home to Jeremy Clarkson – is a surprise addition, but Crap Towns Returns editor Sam Jordison said it was not all about appearance.
He said: "Crap comes in many forms. Very often, the kind of towns that estate agents would describe as 'desirable' are the most stultifying, the most ugly and the most unpleasant to live in.
"They also tend to be full of the most ridiculous people. Our correspondents don't like Mayfair any more than they like deprivation and squalor.
"In fact, they often finger the affluent places as the cause of all the trouble in the first place. Or at least for failing to do anything about it and for having terrible, terrible pubs."