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Mr. Llwyd: Let me finish what I am saying. The hon. Gentleman can have inclusive politics—allegedly the flavour of the month in Cardiff—or he can pick a fight. He can choose what he wants, but he should not lead with his chin.

Mr. David: I reiterate the point that I made in the debate on the Finance Bill. First, not one Welsh nationalist Member set foot in this Chamber for any length of time. Some of them might have poked their heads around the door to see what was happening, but they made no contribution. Secondly, it is an utter disgrace when a member of the Scottish National party has to speak on behalf of Plaid Cymru. Those two parties might have a cosy relationship, but that has no credibility with the people of Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: When the hon. Gentleman has been here long enough and begins to learn a little of our practice, he will find out that only one of my hon. Friends was entitled to speak, and my hon. Friend the Member for Angus spoke that evening. As for the hon. Gentleman's record, he went home instead of taking part in that debate on Japan, so he should stop digging when he is in a hole.

Mr. David rose

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): Order. The hon. Gentleman has finished his speech.

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4 pm

Mr. Martin Caton (Gower): I am a member of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs, which undertook this inquiry. One of the most illuminating pieces of evidence that we considered was the report, which has already been mentioned by at least two hon. Members, on the British Council's survey of the attitudes of young professionals and postgraduate students in some 28 countries throughout the world. The survey was conducted by MORI in 1999 and 2000, and published under the title "Through Other Eyes".

As one assumes that the people surveyed—well-educated men and women aged between 24 and 35, with above-average incomes and excellent prospects—will be among the next generation of movers and shakers on the international scene, their attitudes towards Wales and the United Kingdom generally should be of more than passing interest.

For the United Kingdom as a whole, the message was mixed. There was generally a high opinion of our higher education provision, our businesses and our institutions, including our democratic institutions. However, we scored low, in their perception, for creativity and innovation. We did particularly badly under the heading "People and society", as there was a widespread view that we are still deeply divided by class and that we are sometimes racially intolerant and unwelcoming to foreigners.

Before dealing with the attitudes towards Wales, it is important to recognise that we in Wales have our part to play in building on the positive aspects of the perception of the United Kingdom and overcoming or correcting the negative image of the United Kingdom that some people identified.

When those in our young, upwardly mobile survey group were asked about the images that best summed up Wales for them, 20 per cent. identified Diana, Princess of Wales; 13 per cent. identified Charles, Prince of Wales; and 8 per cent. identified the royal family generally. They then listed castles, rugby and beautiful landscapes in that order, and all with less than 7 per cent.

To be fair, the associations with the other nations of the United Kingdom were almost equally limited and distorting. With Scotland, the No. 1 icon was kilts, followed by whisky, bagpipes, the highlands and cold weather.

In 1999 and 2000, when young go-getters from around the world were asked what they associated with Northern Ireland, 34 per cent. replied violence and religious conflict, followed by the IRA and then the scenery. Perhaps that has begun to change since then. England was represented by the Queen, football, London, the Houses of Parliament, Oxbridge education and bad weather in that order.

Perhaps Wales does not come out much worse than anyone else in that icon association game, although I am not sure that the Welsh contemporaries of those in the international survey group would agree with them in putting the royal family in the top three spots, even in this jubilee year. That may tie in with a more revealing figure: 16 per cent. of those intelligent and successful young people replied that they did not associate anything with Wales. I suspect that that figure would have been even higher if it had not been for the tragic loss of Princess Diana and the fact that the name "Wales" had appeared a great deal in the media in the two years before the survey.

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When asked the same question, the figure was only 3 per cent. for England, 6 per cent. for Scotland and 10 per cent. for Northern Ireland. Clearly, Wales projects by far the least distinct image internationally of any of the countries of the United Kingdom. That is reinforced by the response to the question, "What countries go to make up the UK?" As has already been said, 85 per cent. identified England; 80 per cent., Scotland; 72 per cent., Northern Ireland; and just 67 per cent., Wales.

So we in Wales have an identity problem in the perception of the world. Of course, the significance of that can be easily exaggerated. We are a small nation that is part of a bigger state. We cannot expect everyone to know about us or to be aware of all our qualities. Let us face it, we would have a much bigger long-term problem if we somehow managed to create a fantastic image of Wales, but the quality—the substance, as opposed to the spin—did not come anywhere near matching it. Our challenge is to get the message across and tell people just how good Wales is and how much it has to offer, but we have not yet managed to do that well enough in some ways. That is true in several different, but related ways.

In our report, we broke the subject of Wales in the world into three broad categories: trade and investment, tourism and culture, and language and sport. Those are sensible subdivisions in which to address the practical issues that we considered in our inquiry, but the boundary lines are nowhere near as distinct, if they exist at all, when considering the more nebulous concepts of image, identification and recognition.

Put at its most obvious, we all know of investment decisions in Wales that have been influenced by positive experiences that the decision makers have had in their higher education, on holidays, attending conferences or through some cultural association. Equally, we all know of the impact—positive and negative—on image that the use of locations in major international films can have. Whatever people thought of the film "Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring", I have not met many who did not admit that it had increased their desire to visit New Zealand.

Establishing and marketing the right sort of consistent image can be valuable across a range of economic activities. I was going to talk about Scotland and Ireland, but they have been dealt with quite well by other hon. Members and the time is getting on.

Adam Price: The hon. Gentleman has just mentioned Scotland and Ireland in passing, but the hon. Member for Clwyd, South (Mr. Jones) mentioned the fact that there is now greater diplomatic representation in Edinburgh and Belfast. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that possibly one of the reasons for that greater representation is the fact the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly have law-making powers?

Mr. Caton: That is not yet a significant factor, but it may well come to that. Scotland and Ireland have moved away from a caricature image in people's minds towards a much more accurate and three-dimensional image because of various economic and cultural developments in both those countries. That is happening in Wales as well, but we are a little behind.

Chris Ruane: Is my hon. Friend aware that the American consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh have not

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just been established but have existed for more than 100 years? Is he also aware that the consulate in Wales was withdrawn in 1965—years before devolution?

Mr. Caton: Yes, I am aware of that. Like my hon. Friend and the other members of the Select Committee, I know that we need to do all we can to get those consulate and international representatives into Cardiff. When we met the Irish consul general, he said how important the type of networking that is provided by the fact he is in Cardiff is for the Republic of Ireland and for Wales. We need to work on that.

I should like quickly to consider the inward investment and trade aspect of our inquiry. Naturally, we gave most of our attention to the role of Government—especially the UK Government—and agencies in promoting those twin objectives. However, it is important to remember that the most important component in getting foreign business to locate in Wales or in selling what we produce in Wales is not how we are promoted by the Government at any level, but the quality of what we offer and how well it fits what the investor or the customer wants.

For inward investment, the communications and sourcing materials and components, and the quality of education, training and the environment are far more significant than how good the WDA video was or how nice the Foreign and Commonwealth Office people were. Some investors, who have made a real contribution to our economic development in Wales, have become aware of what we have to offer through channels other than those offered by the Government at any level. I think in particular of the value of the higher education sector. Our universities and colleges can be a magnet for high-quality, high-tech, cutting-edge employment in Wales. This was brought home to me twice in the last few months, once in south Wales and once in north Wales.

The first occasion was the opening of the Technium centre on the docks in Swansea, which is a joint project involving the university, the Welsh Development Agency and the council, and which is the next stage on from the college's innovation centre. It is a base for developing the business and the technology for a whole new range of products. It is exciting, not least because it brings together established, successful and, sometimes, foreign companies with a new generation of Welsh entrepreneurs. That initiative needs to be rolled out across the whole of Wales to tie in to our existing educational and research network.

In north Wales, just a few weeks ago, the Welsh Affairs Committee was taking evidence for our current inquiry into broadband cabling in Wales. There was a lot of criticism of and concern about the adequacy of broadband provision and the comparative costs in north-west Wales in particular. Not unreasonably, therefore, we asked one company involved in advanced research and development why it had decided to locate in Bangor when it knew the disadvantages. It immediately replied, "Because of the university." It went on to explain the partnership that it had developed with the relevant department in the university, which was mutually beneficial. The quality of the graduates and postgraduates coming out of that department was even more important, however, and it had offered employment to some of them.

I am sure that maintaining and improving the excellence of our higher education and research institutions will be more and more important in attracting

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investment and developing new Welsh products. In fact, that can play a valuable part in improving Wales's identity and image in the world. One of the things that those young people whom the British Council surveyed admired about the UK was our educational institutions. The only colleges that they mentioned, however, were Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics. Welsh universities, which are already world leaders in many areas, need to be recognised for a more general level of excellence.

I was going to talk about tourism, but that has been covered well in the debate. As many other Members wish to speak, I shall conclude.

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