2016: a look back in anguish

Historians will probably describe the last 12 months as ‘significant’. We probably each have our own thoughts on that. I’m just glad that I decided at the outset against making any predictions. The year started – in the same way that it ends - with speculation that the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project may yet be beached by the UK government. We will learn soon if anything has changed. The regeneration scene has been a busy one. There was excitement over plans that will reshape Swansea’s city centre. Terry Matthews, chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region, was particularly enthusiastic. The latest word is that funding options have given the imaginative scheme a fresh impetus - which is more t

‘Tis the season to check the energy bills

It used to be that panto season was the only occasion when you would hear mention of ‘robber barons’. Nowadays it seems to be a year-round role for Britain’s energy giants, at least that’s according to regulator Ofgem. They estimate that suppliers are pocketing an extra £2.5 billion every year at the expense of unsuspecting customers. The reason is that millions of people are on standard variable tariffs – which happens to be the most expensive way to pay for gas and electricity. Ofgem has published its first energy company league table, comparing the most expensive standard tariffs with the cheapest deals on the market. An examination across the board shows that almost 20 million people – t

Making tracks in the wrong direction?

It’s been intriguing to watch how transport has shifted back and forth in the Welsh regeneration perspective as being either a problem or a solution – and occasionally both. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one or two academics are questioning the worth of the proposed M4 relief road and the South Wales Metro in terms of benefit outside Cardiff. And as First Minister Carwyn Jones heads off to Brussels in an attempt to tap the EU for £110m support funding, a leading economist has warned that the Welsh capital could be the only immediate winner from building a new integrated transport sys tem with valleys communities having to wait decades before they see any benefit. Historically speaking, cre

The election that nobody wants

In a year of seismic political upsets, the recent Liberal Democrat by-election victory in leafy West London changes very little on balance. Zac Goldsmith's attempt to redeem his shabby racist reputation by standing on principle over a third Heathrow runway was seen by most of his contemporaries as a piece of conceited gesture politics. The voters turned out to be of the same opinion. Those pundits who still think they have a grasp on matters will want to tell you anyway how this is a case of the constituency returning once again to the Lib Dem fold. Leader Tim Farron thinks differently and he’s probably right. Nearly six months after the event, Brexit is still an on-going battle fought by pe

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