YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle
THERE is no doubting Sir Terry Matthews’ stunning success as an entrepreneur but his suggestion of Newport becoming a district of Cardiff is so left field.
Cardiff is a smashing city and capital, which has developed rapidly over the last couple of decades.
But I find his suggestion that Newport should somehow become a sort of district like Ely or Llanrumney as rather insulting.
Wales is much more than about just Cardiff.
Newport has its own rich history and traditions and should stand on its own two feet.
There is great rivalry between the two cities, particularly on the sporting front, and long may that continue.
Both cities have their own identities, while I can’t imagine those in the Valleys wanting to be subsumed into Cardiff either.
Can you imagine the reaction from the west if it was suggested that Swansea should become a district of Cardiff or, for instance, Coventry should become a district of an even bigger Birmingham?
Those suggestions would be laughed out of court, and rightly so.
Sure, Newport has its problems and has been struggling because of the decline of the city centre, linked to the loss of key retailers, while Cardiff has the big high street names.
But I don’t believe there is any reason why Newport cannot prosper in the future.
It can attract investment, as it has done in the past, while Cardiff certainly hasn’t always been as vibrant as it is today.
A task force set up by the Welsh Government will look at how to turn things around in Newport and they need to come up with a viable action plan.
Of course the two cities should work together when it is right but I don’t want to see a takeover of Newport by Cardiff.
Living in Canada Sir Terry has perhaps lost touch with reality back in the land of his fathers and this is one suggestion which should go no further.
I’m not keen on people from outside telling us in Wales what is good for us – we’ve suffered enough from that in the past.
Sir Terry’s comments were raised with me by pupils studying politics when I visited Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool last week.
As politicians we all need to do more to engage with young people and encourage them to take part in the democratic process.
Politics impacts on everyone’s lives, whether young or old.
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