EDITOR'S CHAIR: Newport needs to know what the plans are to make the most of the Nato summit

EDITOR'S CHAIR: Newport needs to know what the plans are to make the most of the Nato summit

US secretary of state John Kerry meets Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones in Brussels

Newport NATO Summit Logo

First published in News
Last updated
South Wales Argus: NEW EDITOR: Kevin Ward by

THERE are people in Newport who see September's Nato summit as an event that means nothing to them, and that will do nothing for them other than disrupt their lives for a few days.

I do not happen to agree with them, but their voices should not be ignored and their opinions should not be discounted.

The best way to deal with such views is to confront them head on and to show how Newport will benefit from having the eyes of the world on the city for the best part of a week.

So it's over to Nato and the UK and Welsh governments for a full explanation of this and all the plans they have in place to showcase Newport to the world.

Well, there's the logo for the summit which includes what appears to be a Lego-inspired interpretation of the Transporter Bridge.

And that's about it.

So we have a logo that no doubt cost a fortune but seems to have had no input at all from anyone with any design abilities. It contains an iconic Newport image but you'd have to explain that to anyone visiting the city because there is no other mention of Newport, even though that is the venue for the summit.

The summit has been officially dubbed Nato Wales. I'm sure this will delight the people of Anglesey and Haverfordwest but it has infuriated many in Newport.

The last Nato summit was not called the USA summit, it was called the Chicago summit because that was where it was held.

September's summit is being held in Newport. It should be Nato Newport.

It is the people of Newport who will be inconvenienced over a number of days by disruption caused by the summit.

Via a pretty disastrous drip-drip PR exercise, we now know there is likely to be severe travel disruption in and around the city, schools may be closed, and rugby and football matches have been moved from Rodney Parade for security reasons.

I think most people would be willing to put up with a few days of disruption if they understood fully the benefits the city would be getting in return.

I believe the summit has huge potential for Newport at a pivotal time in the city's regeneration.

But I have absolutely no idea what plans are in place to ensure Newport gets the prime benefit from the event in return for the disruption its people will have to endure - and I have yet to speak to anybody in authority who knows this information either.

I absolve the city council from any blame in this because I know the political leadership and senior officers are as frustrated as anyone else at the apparent lack of firm plans to help Newport benefit from the summit.

This apparent lack of forward planning was highlighted by the directors of the Celtic Manor, the hosts of the summit, when they gave evidence to a committee of MPs earlier this year.

There must be something in place?

If there is not then the Welsh Government, in particular, is to blame.

I accept there are huge security issues surrounding the summit - but these should not prevent the people of Newport being told how they will benefit.

Pictures of the First Minister glad-handing US Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels are all very well.

But the people of this city need to know what the Nato summit will do for Newport in the long term.

They are not interested in what it will do for Cardiff, or the city region, or Wales as a whole. They want to know what's in it for them.

If that sounds selfish, then so be it.

Frankly, it is about time Newport became a bit more selfish in these matters.

So here is my challenge to the Welsh Government - tell us, in detail, the plans you have in place for Newport to benefit from the Nato summit.

That surely cannot be too much to ask?

Comments (7)

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9:43am Thu 26 Jun 14

paddyparry says...

How about they organise a flypast with planes from every nation, have the various navies dock in Newport and park the tanks on the lawn on the Celtic Manor? What do people expect from the summit? It is not an exhibition but a meeting of heads of government and senior military staff. They do not tend to walk around the host city meeting and greeting the public. Wasn't it last year that The Argus was saying what a prestigious honour this was for Newport and how it would put it on the map? Now reality has sunk in your do a volte face and moan about it. For a newspaper you show a subtle lack of understanding.
How about they organise a flypast with planes from every nation, have the various navies dock in Newport and park the tanks on the lawn on the Celtic Manor? What do people expect from the summit? It is not an exhibition but a meeting of heads of government and senior military staff. They do not tend to walk around the host city meeting and greeting the public. Wasn't it last year that The Argus was saying what a prestigious honour this was for Newport and how it would put it on the map? Now reality has sunk in your do a volte face and moan about it. For a newspaper you show a subtle lack of understanding. paddyparry
  • Score: -1

10:34am Thu 26 Jun 14

theviking666 says...

US secretary of state John Kerry meets Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones , he must be thinking, who this is man, and where is that in the picture, can I go now.
US secretary of state John Kerry meets Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones , he must be thinking, who this is man, and where is that in the picture, can I go now. theviking666
  • Score: 4

11:24am Thu 26 Jun 14

DavidMclean says...

I have to question the very idea that a NATO Summit presents a PR and marketing opportunity. OK, so the world's media will be focussed on the event, but it will be focussed on the actual summit and international politics that are discussed.

Many people seem to think of the NATO Summit as a travelling business trade show or a meeting of holiday companies. It's not. It's a meeting of political leaders to discuss international security issues - wars and stuff. The very last thing any of them will be considering is; 'Let's check out the location as a place to recommend for holidays or to do business.' They'll be considering whether to sent troops into combat, not wondering about local restaurants or how well the road infrastructure is set up for business.

Did the previous host cities jump up and down in excitement when NATO Summits arrived? I very much doubt it. Lisbon, London, Chicago etc would have been far more laid back and just concentrated on trying to host the events and control protesters. Of course they are all less in need of promotion, PR and awareness than Newport is, but that in itself underlines the fact that the NATO Summit does not exist as a travelling vehicle to promote host cities.

People need to get realistic about this.

The NATO Summit has NEVER promised any real opportunity. But it certainly presents a challenge that needs to be the primary focus. Let's try and get through this with our city left intact.
I have to question the very idea that a NATO Summit presents a PR and marketing opportunity. OK, so the world's media will be focussed on the event, but it will be focussed on the actual summit and international politics that are discussed. Many people seem to think of the NATO Summit as a travelling business trade show or a meeting of holiday companies. It's not. It's a meeting of political leaders to discuss international security issues - wars and stuff. The very last thing any of them will be considering is; 'Let's check out the location as a place to recommend for holidays or to do business.' They'll be considering whether to sent troops into combat, not wondering about local restaurants or how well the road infrastructure is set up for business. Did the previous host cities jump up and down in excitement when NATO Summits arrived? I very much doubt it. Lisbon, London, Chicago etc would have been far more laid back and just concentrated on trying to host the events and control protesters. Of course they are all less in need of promotion, PR and awareness than Newport is, but that in itself underlines the fact that the NATO Summit does not exist as a travelling vehicle to promote host cities. People need to get realistic about this. The NATO Summit has NEVER promised any real opportunity. But it certainly presents a challenge that needs to be the primary focus. Let's try and get through this with our city left intact. DavidMclean
  • Score: 3

11:49am Thu 26 Jun 14

billy boy 2 says...

Fly them in bus them to Cardiff send the eco warriors to smash up Newport city centre that sound about right and I'm still waiting for the benefits from the ryder cup
Fly them in bus them to Cardiff send the eco warriors to smash up Newport city centre that sound about right and I'm still waiting for the benefits from the ryder cup billy boy 2
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Thu 26 Jun 14

throwy1 says...

Well Paddy, it would appear Mr Obama will be touring some Newport schools during the summit.
Well Paddy, it would appear Mr Obama will be touring some Newport schools during the summit. throwy1
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

The body language in the accompanying pic of John Kerry and Carwyn Jones reminds me of a school bully cornering a smaller kid in the corridor to demand he hands over his tuck shop money:)
The body language in the accompanying pic of John Kerry and Carwyn Jones reminds me of a school bully cornering a smaller kid in the corridor to demand he hands over his tuck shop money:) Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 1

6:33pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Chartist follower says...

No benefit at all to Newport
Great inconvenience to all who live here
Great publicity for the Celtic Manor in the vale of usk.

Any recruitment for extra staff from Newport? -no -they import agency staff.
No benefit at all to Newport Great inconvenience to all who live here Great publicity for the Celtic Manor in the vale of usk. Any recruitment for extra staff from Newport? -no -they import agency staff. Chartist follower
  • Score: 0

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