A NEWPORT-born Guardian journalist has defended his portrayal of the city in a piece which provoked anger today.
Stephen Moss, who grew up in Ringland and whose parents and brother still live in the city, wrote in his editorial piece for today’s newspaper that Newport was a town, that it was “culturally confused” as to whether it was English or Welsh, that it was “industrially depressed” and that its train station was “hideous”.
He told the Argus he meant the piece to be “affectionate” and that he admired many strands of its history, such as its “radical edge”.
And he admitted he had confused Goldie Lookin Chain’s parody of Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) for the original song in the piece but said he stood by the rest of what he had written.
He said classifying Newport as a city was “bogus” because its population is too small to be typically classified as one, and that its identity was “part of a distinctive world centred round the Bristol Estuary.”
The mayor of Newport, Cllr Matthew Evans, said parts of the editorial verged on “crass”.
He added: “As far as I’m concerned, Newportonians are extremely proud of their city.”
While Newport resident Glyn Hall said there were lots of positive things happening.
He said: “A few years ago, if you walked through the town you’d think, oh god. There are more buildings going up, the new bus station; there’s plenty of access in the new station.”
Meanwhile, Newport West’s MP Paul Flynn said portrayal was “woefully out of date”.
He added: “Newport's location is firmly anchored in Wales since 1974. The image of deprivation is an old false stereotype. Newport has bounced back from heavy industry job losses with high quality public sector jobs that augur well for a prosperous future.”
Mr Flynn has previously blamed Cardiff-based publicists for exaggerating the city’s role in the forthcoming summit, after BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Channel 4 news, the Guardian and the Daily Mail claimed it was to be there.
And the city’s other MP Jessica Morden said: “As a proud resident of Newport, I really hope that some of those participating get the chance to get out and see what Newport has to offer. This week is a great opportunity to show the world the best of our city.”