No longer a consuming passion

I’ve never quite managed to get my head around the Black Friday phenomenon. Don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate the prospect of a bargain as much as anyone. It’s the notion of fighting through frenzied crowds for the microwave of my choice that I find unsettling. The same seems to have been true for a proportion of UK shoppers this year as stores report slightly less than expected numbers coming through the doors. An estimated £8bn was registered at the tills. Yet consumer habits are changing noticeably as what used to be a frenetic scramble for a knock-down plasma TV screen has morphed into a leisurely retail weekend. Indeed, two fashionable ladies of my acquaintance favoured the option of

Swansea’s skyline is about to change

Big things stem from small beginnings - and as much as marketing people throw around buzzwords like ‘transformational’, it’s hard to think of a better description for Swansea’s regeneration aims. Speaking last week at the Federation of Small Businesses annual meeting, major projects boss Rob Francis-Davies took his audience through an impressive list of planned developments. Around £340 million in construction-related spending represents the biggest single rebuilding programme for 70 years. Modest actions such as rejigging the Kingsway are a precursor for some serious activity. Connecting the city centre to the waterfront has been a long held ambition. It finally looks likely to succeed thro

The main problem facing the government … is the government

“Shambolic, erratic and totally without a clue”. Normally you’d expect such comments to come from a Swans fan but on this occasion, it was a Conservative backbencher talking about the government. You can understand his frustration. Collective responsibility is a big thing in Westminster yet it’s currently hard to discern that particular trait among a deeply factionalised cabinet seemingly riven by self-interest. This tendency to wilfully bump into the Downing Street furniture is fairly endemic, according to veteran watchers who insist the total of resignations prompted by ministerial misdeeds should be nearer double figures. One example cited is the manner by which chief whip Gavin Williamso

Old tricks in new apps

There are probably few workplaces where you can walk straight into a passionate exchange as to whether ‘post-truth’ politics is actually a thing – but I blame myself for that one. What was being discussed is the effectiveness (or otherwise) of an approach where debate focuses on emotion and repetition rather than facts. My professional view is that there’s nothing new in the methodology but it’s the advent of online influence that has changed the game dramatically. Members of a US Senate committee recently heard how reports of ‘unbridled islamification’ back in May last year provoked an angry crowd in one state to take to the streets in protest. The event was arranged via social media by a g

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