We need to make more of manufacturing

QUITE some time ago, I was driving out of a car park in an Essex industrial estate and stopped to let a mother and son cross the road. As they passed I heard the youngster ask what went on inside the huge building I had just exited. He was told sternly, "That's where you'll end up if you don't do well in school." As it happens, the place in question was the European engineering and research headquarters of one of the world's largest automotive manufacturers. I wasn't too surprised by what I'd heard. I'd stopped years ago from trying to wise up misguided folks who believed a blue oval logo on the outside of a building must mean that the interior was full of people doing mundane tasks in noisy

Leave the chain of command alone

EVERY so often I find myself reading how someone thinks the cure to most, if not all of local government ills is the installation of a directly elected mayor. I'm afraid that you have to be put me down as 'unconvinced' on this one. That's mostly because the suggestion always comes across to me professionally as a one-size solution to the wrong problem. Let's be clear. I'm very much in favour of seeing significant changes in Welsh local government. It's just that I think the options currently available to citizens would have as much practical effect on matters as changing the curtains. Some people like to portray the idea of having a powerful mayor like Boris Johnson as something radical and

Can we ever afford to have affordable housing again?

It was March 1976. Harold Wilson had just stepped down as prime minister, Brotherhood of Man were top of the charts and I had finally mastered walking on three-inch platforms shoes without looking like I had a hernia. The pub door opened and in came my mate Phil to breathlessly announce that he and his girlfriend needed to get married sharpish. The rest of us exchanged knowing looks but it turned out the urgency was connected to his purchase of an old house in Morriston. It was a different time and a different world. In those days you could get a sizeable cheque from the council for doing up an old property. Married couples were top of the queue. The same went for the council house waiting l

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