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Thursday, April 05, 2018

What's in a name?

Having checked that it is the fifth of April and not the first, it is difficult to know where to start with the decision to rename the second Severn Crossing the Prince of Wales bridge. At least with the original designation it did what it said on the tin. And of course this expanse of motorway, an engineering triumph if ever there was one, is so much more than just a bridge.

There are many, myself included, that will resent the implication that Wales is still thought of by the Wales Office as a Principality with all the implications of subservience that entails. Others will baulk at the Secretary of State's deference to the crown, whilst some will point to a failure of imagination in the naming choice.

We are told that the Secretary of State for Wales believes that the name is a fitting tribute to Prince Charles' dedication and commitment to our country, but it is not as if there is a scarcity of objects and places named after the Prince of Wales on this side of Offa's Dyke.

There was no consultation with the public over this choice of name. Did the Secretary of State even ask the Welsh Government if they agreed?  And why has no name been allocated to the old bridge. I am astonished in the circumstances that the bridge that no carries the M48 was not rechristened 'The Camilla Crossing'.

But the biggest objection has to be in the missed opportunity. Stadiums and other commercial ventures can make millions from naming rights. Given the strain on public finances, would it not have been appropriate to have put the name out to tender so as to defray the cost of running the Secretary of State's office?

Personally, I would be far more comfortable driving over the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut Bridge than one named after the Prince of Wales.
If Neath Port Talbot council had had anything to do with it, the bridge would clearly have been named the "Nelson Mandela Causeway".
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