Always Look On The Bright Side of Life?

This week, as the concerns over the Eurozone continue, the blog looks at what signs there are of a concerted strategy at the UK and Wales levels.

 As uncertainties over the future of the Eurozone persist, some are making comparisons with the last days of the Roman Empire! Interestingly, it has been claimed that it was in Wales that the influence of Rome continued for longest and that even up until 1282 (with the fall of Gwynedd) this could still be seen.

More importantly for the present day situation, history also shows that the societies and economies that recover quickest are those that are the most adaptable, but also those with the strongest sense of identity and history. If this is the case, how does Wales and the UK measure up?

Well, in terms of adaptability, entrepreneurship would seem to be a good measure. In terms of support for this, the evidence is, however, mixed.

On the one hand David Cameron has just announced a fund to support young entrepreneurs. On the other hand the perceived  lack of government action in assisting small business has also been criticised.

In Wales, one of the main discussions that may facilitate increased innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development more generally is the city region concept. Key current points of discussion highlighted, however, revolve around historic rivalries within Wales between her main cities, as well as those between North and South, and East and West.

It would be ironic, especially given the earlier discussion of economic resilience, if the very sense of local identity and history that exists in Wales reduced the potential benefits of the city-region concept. Clearly resolving these issues will be an important test for the Welsh government in the coming months.

So, returning to the historical comparisons made at the beginning of the blog,  the united nature of Europe was something first effectively created by Rome. This, however, is looking increasingly fragile at least in its monetary union aspects.

If we ask what the Romans can do for us now, that could help in the current situation, then some would ask for an injection on the demand side into infrastructure creation, particularly roads, perhaps more so than irrigation and the aquaduct! In addition, however, it is even more important to remember the words at the end of Monty Python’s film “The Life of Brian” and look on the bright side of life!

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