Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Not out of the starting block for North East Commonwealth Games bid

In the contest to be the host of the Commonwealth Games in 2022, the North East England bid was nowhere to be seen. Nick Forbes, who splits his time between polishing his halo and leading Newcastle City Council, announced a possible bid to take on the Games in 2015 when he said, "I would like a devolution deal to look seriously at major investment in rural broadband and a big unifying project like bringing the Commonwealth Games to the region. That would be a great way of bringing us all together, putting us on the national and international stage and leaving a legacy of sporting facilities and tourism infrastructure for decades to come.”

There is little in that comment with which I can disagree. I am a strong advocate for tourism in the North East to boost the regional economy. I am also a strong advocate of devolution. A directly accountable regional political player could have led a bid for the Games and for other international events.

Alas, the North East has no devolution settlement because Labour fell apart over the issue. They have messed it up in an incompetent display of dummy spitting. No bid for the Commonwealth Games was made. The opportunity to bring lots of people to the North East, spending lots of money in our regional economy, is lost. And you can point the finger of blame at Labour's warring factions for this.

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