Jim Armitage: Spinners of nonsense try to grab a catchy headline


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The Independent Online

Outlook Mayhem in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria may make the world seem increasingly unbearable, but the heightened global attention on what Nato is going to do about the mess means its summit this week in Wales will be the most high profile in years.

And, if you believe some, that means one thing: big money.

Barclays’s head of Wales, John Union, reckons the summit could bring in a windfall of as much as £35m for the Welsh economy as delegates pack the local hotels, bars and restaurants.

But the immediate income for taxi firms, landlords and hoteliers is just the start of it, Barclays says. The blanket media coverage will give Wales its biggest marketing push ever across Europe and the US.

That, Mr Union says, will bring tourists from across the world rushing to Wales for their holidays next year, and set companies around the world salivating to invest there.

I’m not so sure. It seems to me far more likely that, with the global media coverage from Wales most likely spliced with images of journalists in orange jumpsuits awaiting their beheading, next summer’s vacation will be the last thing on viewers’ minds.

Local worthies and senior business folks are just trying to talk up Wales to win headlines for themselves and their employers. But the public are cleverer than they think.

People don’t like being spun with nonsense claims based on thin air. Such as the Government’s irritating re-announcement yesterday of Britain’s £3.5bn order for Scout armoured vehicles built in Wales by General Dynamics.

“300 jobs safeguarded!” we were told.

But this so-called “news”, timed to welcome the Nato summit, had already been announced in 2011.

Those in the Welsh defence industry might wryly recall the 185 redundancies pushed through by General Dynamics last year, as well as the hundreds of Welsh armed services job cuts in recent years.

But, hey, who cares if you can get a catchy headline.