Thursday 30 September 2010

Anyone for golf?

Clearly, the fact that the Ryder Cup is being held in Wales will attract publicity for Wales; and it's reasonable to hope that it will increase Wales' profile and improve our image internationally. It will also give people in Wales a chance to see world class sportspeople in action. Those are worthy aims in themselves.

I'm not convinced that it will bring the claimed economic benefits, though. And the efforts of government spokespeople to spin this in terms of £s and jobs look to me as though figures are more or less being plucked out of the air. That there will be some benefit to local businesses particularly in catering and accommodation seems reasonably certain; but whether it repays the investment looks rather less so.

But does it matter? Should we really look at events like this solely in terms of pounds and pennies? If we always took such a narrow view, then Wales would never bid for any major events, and we would be confining ourselves to the backwaters.

A confident, outward-looking Wales has a role to play in the world, and that includes hosting international events from time to time. We might need to pick and choose which we can afford, and which we think will do most for us and the people of Wales, but we shouldn't just decline to consider any such events on the basis of a simple profit and loss exercise. Neither should we seek to justify them on the basis of figures which are, at best, of dubious provenance.

My concern isn't about whether such events achieve the results which the government promise in advance (and which are ultimately pretty unprovable anyway), it's about whether we choose the right events, and whether we are able to afford the ones we select. Oh - and where the money comes from. I'm not sure that is is right or sensible to spend economic development money on such events.


Anonymous said...

there will of course be people watching this tournament who sadly will not have heard of wales before....or if they have will in all probability not be aware that it's a nation in its own right!

Let's hope staging the ryder cup in Wales does something to change this!

Leigh Richards

Unknown said...

Pity about he rain!

I'm a bit concerned, also, that the WAG and Newport put so much money in, only to see sir TM bad mouth them about the farmhouse that he had neglected to deal with in the past 9 years, and then promptly put the whole Celtic Manor complex up for sale publicly, on television!

I'm left with the feeling that we have been , in some way manipulated, and it is not a nice feeling!