So are we London-by-the -sea? Does the capital cast such a shadow?

Will we always really be a suburb and never one of the great cities of Europe?

Last week someone suggested in the letters page that we throw in the towel and become "the London Borough of Brighton and extend the Underground'.

Until recently I've always challenged the patronising tone of the nickname.

I have tweaked the noses that people who call us that are looking down and reply that in fact London is 'Brighton in-land'.

But in my heart I have still felt like a teenager trying to be grown-up when I haven't been one hundred percent confident that we are.

My fists were shaken more in defiance than because of the reality of the town and of our economy.

But now I am beginning to feel a great deal more confident about our relationship with London.

And I am more inclined to agree with Lod Formani from Furze Hill (Tuesday Oct 17th) who wrote that "like it or not the economy of this baby by the sea is kept alive by an umbilical cord attached to its mother 50 miles north".

But for different reasons. For him it seems a weakness whereas I see it as a strength.

It gives us a unique access to talent and markets. We are not helplessly dependent on London but we will only get our relationship clear from a position of strength.

Let's consider the endlessly proposed 35 minute rail link. Set aside the fact that at the moment travelling on the trains in this country seems to be getting more and more like playing a mortal lottery, where disgracefully often our sympathies are being extended to people like those whose relatives and friends died in Hatfield this week and at Paddington a year ago.

And all the while the rail safety record of the industry buckles like the tracks under the irresponsibly blind eyes of the regulators and the greed of the operators.

But the rail link is vital. In the past the fear was that London commuters would pour down here in search of clean air and better schools, inflating house prices and having little loyalty to a place in which they only spent weekends. But now we are getting strong and can discourage people form commuting and begin to encourage them to move here in order to work and to invest, along with local entrepreneurs to provide higher quality jobs with better wages.

And it is not true that somehow local people just get the poor jobs. With the right skills anybody can compete for the best pay.

And not only Londoners inflate house prices. Someone local has to sell them the house in the first place. A buoyant house market merely makes it more essential than ever that we find new ways of financing mixed developments in the centre where low cost and top whack housing are combined.

You no longer have to be located in London to be at the centre of things. Many of the main firms in the key industries in Brighton and Hove are on the verge of becoming significant in their sectors. They bring a reputation back to the town.

We need to make "from Brighton and Hove" an international kitemark of creative quality. And we have to facilitate access to business markets, many of which are reached through London, not just by rail but electronically too.

We have the creative industry hub here to do that. If whole companies relocate to Brighton and Hove they need to be confident that they can gain access to a highly qualified labour force, decent office space and a good quality of life which knocks spots off living in the crush and squeeze of London.

And that they can still reach their markets with ease. This is about raising our aspirations and not putting up with the idea that a 35 minute train link will simply turn us into a commuters' dormitory, but rather a centre of enterprise with great links to markets. So I may have changed my mind about the fast track.

It's essentially about confidence backed up with a strong economy.

The Place to Be is about trying to build that confidence. So we can be a city by the sea and not London by the sea.