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The cost of backtracking on electrification

There are some thoughtful ways you can break bad news. You know, like when the doctor advises against making any long-term plans or your offspring mentions you won’t need to renew the MOT on the family car. Alternatively, if you’re an inconsiderate so-and-so, one method sure to offend is to announce something gob-smackingly important like dumping plans for rail electrification in a newspaper interview. It’s not just in south west Wales but also the Midlands mainline and parts of the North where work has been halted. So call me picky, but I’d have thought that what with Chris Grayling being UK Transport Secretary and all, the appropriate thing would be to spell things out in a ministerial sta

A message about opportunity

Wherever I’ve gone during the last few days, I’ve picked up on the same message about opportunity. Things started when UWTSD stalwarts Medwin Hughes and Randolph Thomas treated guests at the Honorary Fellows Dinner in Dylan Thomas Centre to a powerful account of the talents and potential that young people can offer Wales – provided we get the right investment approach. I could see their words striking a chord with those who had attended an earlier private briefing elsewhere on how public money is ‘leaking’ out of the region. Indeed, a soon to be published study estimates that up to £2bn a year of capital project funding notionally spent in Wales actually flows back across Offa’s Dyke, thanks

It's a funny old game is politics

Politics in the Westminster village is a funny old game – and it usually gets even more diverting in the run-up to the Summer Recess. At present, the favourite pastime in the Commons has been ‘spot the stalking horse’. This coded reference goes back to the days of Margaret Thatcher when Swansea-born Michael Heseltine challenged the Iron Lady in a leadership fight and fatally damaged her authority. Things are different this time of course. Theresa May barely commands a majority, let alone a mandate, and the grey suits know that casting adrift a flawed leader without crippling the party’s fragile control of parliament is virtually impossible. And so the Brexit negotiations rumble on. Each day,

Confusion reigns in Swansea

It’s a time-honoured tradition in journalism to take a seemingly provocative comment slightly out of context and then go looking for reaction. Witness the feedback to reported views by Andrew Carter of the Centre for Cities who described Swansea as ‘confused’ and 15 years behind Cardiff, in terms of development. Predictable knee-jerk stuff aside though, it’s worth analysing what he has to say - even if it does come across as someone sticking a hosepipe up your trouser leg and telling you it’s raining. Firstly, we should remember how it’s only a couple of decades since official Westminster economic thinking was that you can boost a nation’s prosperity by force-feeding its capital city. Indeed

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