EDITOR'S CHAIR: Heads should roll if Newport and Wales miss out on NATO benefits

South Wales Argus: EDITOR'S CHAIR: Heads should roll if Newport and Wales miss out on NATO benefits EDITOR'S CHAIR: Heads should roll if Newport and Wales miss out on NATO benefits

I HAVE been critical in this column before about the slow pace of the public sector in Wales.

Some, particularly in local government, have criticised me for my views and some have even suggested few people share them.

That's fine - but I wonder if they will be quite so dismissive of Ian Edwards and Simon Gibson, two key players in the South Wales economy due to their senior roles at the Celtic Manor Resort and with the Re:Newport project.

This week Mr Edwards and Mr Gibson gave evidence to MPs on the Welsh affairs committee, primarily about the preparations for the Nato summit at the resort in September.

And they were not exactly complimentary about the way in which the Welsh Government, in particular, was going about marketing the area in advance of the summit.

Mr Edwards, the Celtic Manor's chief operating officer, said nothing had been nailed down in terms of an outreach programme around the summit.

He was critical of the Welsh Government-owned Cardiff Airport, saying: "At the moment it's more viable for us to have an alliance with Bristol Airport to put on an international campaign because they have more routes coming into Bristol than into Cardiff. How shameful is that?"

He said there was no-one in the Welsh Government promoting the conference market.

Mr Edwards said Wales had not benefitted as much as it could have done from the Ryder Cup in 2010.

"We've got to learn the lesson from the Ryder Cup and make sure we don't make the same mistakes with Nato," he said.

Let us not forget the summit is five times the size of the Ryder Cup.

Mr Gibson, a director of the Celtic Manor and the man heading the Welsh Government-backed Re:Newport project aimed at revitalising the city centre, was particularly critical of Wales being at the "back of the queue" when it came to funding from UKTI, the government department whose job it is to help British businesses.

Make no mistake, the Nato summit it is an absolutely massive opportunity for Wales and Newport.

The eyes of the world will be on this area for the best part of a week. The president of the most powerful nation on earth will be here. There will be thousands of support staff and journalists. There will also be many protesters.

The summit is a feather in the cap of Wales and Newport. But if it comes and goes without those in control at the Senedd and the civic centre having done everything in their power to make the most of every possible benefit and opportunity offered by the summit, then what is the point of staging it here at all.

I do not doubt the will is there to make these things happen.

But all too often we see lots of talking and nowhere near enough action. How many consultations do we see local and central government undertaking on what are often the simplest of subjects?

From time to time - and I am not making this up - consultations are set up to review the outcome of consultations.

Just consider the M4 relief road. There have been at least 20 years of consultations on that one project and we are no nearer to seeing anything actually happening.

It is an orgy of navel-gazing that we simply cannot afford in the increasingly short time span between now and the start of the Nato summit.

September's event has the potential to provide real and lasting benefits for this area.

If that potential is not fulfilled then our political leaders and their mandarins should not just hang their heads in shame. Some of their heads should roll.

Comments (8)

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10:31am Thu 15 May 14

KarloMarko says...

Just what is this "Newport" that must grasp the near Nato "experience" or die? I wandered through its grim centre yesterday, where everyday is now a Sunday and saw nothing that would entice a heroic delegate, a hungry hack, or even a workshopping anarchist.

In your dreams Kevin. It aint built, they aint coming...

Mind you, I have already printed up my "Love U Nato!" T shirts. ...with a laughing opium poppy logo. A snip at £21.99
Just what is this "Newport" that must grasp the near Nato "experience" or die? I wandered through its grim centre yesterday, where everyday is now a Sunday and saw nothing that would entice a heroic delegate, a hungry hack, or even a workshopping anarchist. In your dreams Kevin. It aint built, they aint coming... Mind you, I have already printed up my "Love U Nato!" T shirts. ...with a laughing opium poppy logo. A snip at £21.99 KarloMarko
  • Score: -3

11:05am Thu 15 May 14

Llanmartinangel says...

'I HAVE been critical in this column before about the slow pace of the public sector in Wales'

The public sector in Wales would make a snail look like Lewis Hamilton.
'I HAVE been critical in this column before about the slow pace of the public sector in Wales' The public sector in Wales would make a snail look like Lewis Hamilton. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 3

11:07am Thu 15 May 14

Walter Devereux says...

"At the moment it's more viable for us to have an alliance with Bristol Airport to put on an international campaign because they have more routes coming into Bristol than into Cardiff. How shameful is that?"

It's not shameful at all: Bristol Airport is a mile nearer the Celtic Manor by road than Cardiff Airport. Stop framing everything in terms of arbitrary borders.
"At the moment it's more viable for us to have an alliance with Bristol Airport to put on an international campaign because they have more routes coming into Bristol than into Cardiff. How shameful is that?" It's not shameful at all: Bristol Airport is a mile nearer the Celtic Manor by road than Cardiff Airport. Stop framing everything in terms of arbitrary borders. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 11

2:16pm Thu 15 May 14

Llanmartinangel says...

Walter Devereux wrote:
"At the moment it's more viable for us to have an alliance with Bristol Airport to put on an international campaign because they have more routes coming into Bristol than into Cardiff. How shameful is that?"

It's not shameful at all: Bristol Airport is a mile nearer the Celtic Manor by road than Cardiff Airport. Stop framing everything in terms of arbitrary borders.
Quite. The border is fictitious anyway and only of any interest to people entertaining delusions about imaginary countries.
[quote][p][bold]Walter Devereux[/bold] wrote: "At the moment it's more viable for us to have an alliance with Bristol Airport to put on an international campaign because they have more routes coming into Bristol than into Cardiff. How shameful is that?" It's not shameful at all: Bristol Airport is a mile nearer the Celtic Manor by road than Cardiff Airport. Stop framing everything in terms of arbitrary borders.[/p][/quote]Quite. The border is fictitious anyway and only of any interest to people entertaining delusions about imaginary countries. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 1

2:53pm Thu 15 May 14

KarloMarko says...

Question. If this conference was held in say Belgium, on the outskirts of some rust bucket town, but only twenty or thirty miles from Brussels, where would you as a delegate etc. chose to spend your free time? And free money?


Answers on a postcard to The Argus.
Question. If this conference was held in say Belgium, on the outskirts of some rust bucket town, but only twenty or thirty miles from Brussels, where would you as a delegate etc. chose to spend your free time? And free money? Answers on a postcard to The Argus. KarloMarko
  • Score: -2

7:18pm Thu 15 May 14

cath 872 says...

Wales, including Newport didn't benefit at all during the Ryder Cup. We won't benefit from the NATO summit either. Imagine if you were Barack Obama, rich and very powerful - would you come to Newport? Oops, sorry, 'Vale of Glamorgan'.....
Wales, including Newport didn't benefit at all during the Ryder Cup. We won't benefit from the NATO summit either. Imagine if you were Barack Obama, rich and very powerful - would you come to Newport? Oops, sorry, 'Vale of Glamorgan'..... cath 872
  • Score: 3

7:24pm Thu 15 May 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

"The president of the most powerful nation on earth will be here."

I didn't know Russia was in NATO?;)
"The president of the most powerful nation on earth will be here." I didn't know Russia was in NATO?;) Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 3

9:34pm Tue 20 May 14

Frankfurt says...

I suspect that the only reason the summit is coming to Wales is because 400 bed hotels that can be emptied at fairly short notice to allow the conference to proceed and have sealable boundaries are pretty rare. It's nothing to do with Wales or Newport. It's to do with the Celtic Manor and the sooner it's over and they all clear off the better I think.
I suspect that the only reason the summit is coming to Wales is because 400 bed hotels that can be emptied at fairly short notice to allow the conference to proceed and have sealable boundaries are pretty rare. It's nothing to do with Wales or Newport. It's to do with the Celtic Manor and the sooner it's over and they all clear off the better I think. Frankfurt
  • Score: 0

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