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  • Lawrence Bailey

It’s been one of those weeks

I’m not sure what to make of the last seven days or so.

Admittedly it’s been full of news. The French got themselves a new president while the US is still coming to terms with theirs following Donald Trump’s sacking of the FBI director midway through an alleged investigation into the Oval Office.

It turns out that that NHS hospitals, the Nissan plant at Tyne & Wear and the Russian Interior Ministry all share a vulnerability to something called ransomware.

And on top of everything else, we learned that cows apparently pose a menace to Gower communities.

It was also a fraught time at the ‘day job’ as I went from testing out a new fish and chip emporium at Mumbles Pier to stalking film celebs (a long and embarrassing story) and marvelling at how negative officialdom still manages to thrive in civic life.

On the general election front, Mrs May went north to rediscover the working class while Jezza stayed home to deal with a leaked Labour manifesto and a deputy leader who reportedly thinks the Tories are headed for a landslide.

It’s to be presumed that leading business groups think the same, which is why five of them have warned the prime minister she could damage the economy by renewing a commitment to reduce net migration to under 100,000 a year. The current figure for the year to September stands at 273,000 or thereabouts

I’m sure the Green Party has a view on this but we won’t be hearing much of it as they’ve been denied a spot in the televised debates – despite standing well above UKIP in popular polls.

Anything else? Oh yes, there was the minor matter of the Swans staying in the Premiership, thanks in part to Sam Allardyce and his guys. I fully expected one of the political parties to claim the credit.

Someone asked me the other day how the area would cope without the prestige of top-flight football. I’m really glad the question turned out to be rhetorical.


Forecasting regional growth

Despite looming Brexit concerns that beset many business decisions these days, enough of the current regional signs manage to register as positive.

Indeed, the big challenge is how to grasp opportunities that will stem from billions in public and private investment sources over the next decade.

That was the message at the Growth Factor conference & exhibition staged yesterday [Monday] at Liberty Stadium. Hosted by networking group Swansea Bay Futures, the day-long event focused on big-money projects headed our way.

My hope is that the strategic vision at the top is matched by commercial delivery on the ground. Swansea council leader Rob Stewart recently served notice on the jobsworths not to tie up the City Deal in red tape – let’s hope he’s successful.

The day also saw several roundtable discussions on key sectoral issues which I’m sure will be put to good use.

Congratulations to Helen Bowden, Zoe Antrobus and the SBF team on a great event.

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