It recognises our excellence as 'the world in one city'.We must now redouble our efforts to see if we can take the prize."Odds: 7/2 The city says it is "putting its money where its faith is." That means spending £3bn in regenerating the physical fabric of the city and investing in arts and culture by 2008.The city's smart website dutifully lists all the arguments in favour of Bradford, from David Hockney to multiculturalism. "Giving Bradford the designation will demonstrate the government's commitment to the regeneration of muticultural cities.What will the UK and Europe be like in the future if a place like Bradford cannot be made to prosper? Bohemian, on the edge of England and looking towards mainland European, at the cutting edge of culture." Reaction: Chairwoman of the bid campaign Jackie Lythell said: "It's a disappointment but the bid was very worthwhile.We can be trusted to deliver large scale capital projects and ensure they have impact not only nationally but also at a very local level in arts, health, education and communities - where it can make a huge difference to people's life chances." Odds: 7/4 It's nothing if not self-assured, the Oxford bid: "Few cities can claim to have added so much to the sum of human knowledge and culture as Oxford.It's a microcosm of civilisation, a cradle of toleration and enlightenment, a crusader for freedom...It also plays up its grassroots approach, proudly proclaiming that it is "not a metropolitan centre that will import large cultural events to replicate or outshine previous holders of the title." Selling point?
It brought huge benefits in enabling us to market the city when international visitors were falling because of September 11." Canterbury The city which claims to be the "most European part of Britain." Its slogan: "Inspired. Its ambition: a bright future - "In 2008 the skies and streets will be ablaze with light as this historic city and the surrounding region reflects a new focus on the future." Reaction: Canterbury council leader Alex Perkins said: "We're obviously disappointed but we learnt so much from the bid and that's the important thing.Our global profile for cultural excellence, combined with exciting plans for 2008, will help Oxford attract more visitors to the UK than any other city in the competition."Odds: 5/1 The rejected bids Probably the most ambitious and stylish website of all the bids; Belfast should also win some kind of award for the portentous - not to say pretentious - style of its bid document.Sample quote: "History and tradition, legend and myth, giants and little people; we will make Belfast the meeting place of Europe's legends where the meaning of history and belief find a home and a sanctuary from caricature, parody and oblivion." Reaction: The city's Lord Mayor Alex Maskey, a Sinn Féin politician, voiced dismay but urged all those behind the bid to press ahead.We put in a tremendous effort and my thanks go to everyone who contributed.We were rank outsiders from the outset but we felt we made a big impression on the judging panel.