Swansea is a mystery.
It’s less than an hour from the capital, has a beautiful coast line, a good university, a population with all the talents you could ask for, and yet it languishes.
Cambridge lies an hour from London, has an excellent university and a talented population, but no coast line. Yet it soars above the fray; parts of Swansea waddle through the squalor and litter of unrealised potential.
How do we turn this around?
Politics tends to get bogged down in the margins, discussions of how the most vulnerable parts of the community lack crucial resources, or how minority groups are mistreated or undervalued.
Last week, in the Manchester derby, two exciting teams of multi-millionnaires played oiut an exciting match in front of tens of thousands of appreciative supporters and millions of enthralled TV vbiwers. And then the news story was about one moron in the stands who racially abused one multi-millionnaire on the pitch. Why focus on the transgressions of one moron when there is all that talent, energy, entertainment and community spirit to celebrate? Quietly prosecute him, but keep him out of the story.
Politics also tends to focus on individual cases of squalor, neglect, incompetence and inadequate resources, but Swansea is much, much more than these failures. I can cycle along the sea front to the Mumbles, then walk on to Limeslade Bay. I can drive to Oxwich and walk one of the UK’s most beautiful stretches of coast line to Port Eynon. Or I can walk the local streets and observe litter and discarded furniture, or walk further afield to areas where housing is over-crowded and local services, such as recycling and refuse disposal, struggle to keep up with demand.
What are the biggest problems? List them.
How can they be tackled? Invite suggestions and contributions.