Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Problem with the future of Britain

This entry will explain why Britain will have an extremely hard future. I truly hope someone will disagree because the picture about to be painted is not one of wonderful grace, but rather a dismal leviathan of horrendous proportions.

The main problem with the UK currently is not that we have ceased to exist as a nation culturally. We have ceased to exist as an independent nation as the EU now controls the island and the people on it, needless to say without their consent. We have the unfortunate situation of having our lebensraum (sorry for paraphrasing Hitler) culturally controlled by ourselves but socially , and more importantly judicially, controlled by someone else. This is rather annoying as I am sure you must have found from time to time.

But when it comes down to it we are living of glories long lost and long past, derived mostly from the British Empire and the people who served it through out its very long history. It did some awful things, certainly, but I am of the opinion that it achieved more virtues than vices and voes. But here we are today and all the great inventions, policies, institutions, histories, landmarks etcetera, they were for the greater part not devised or derived from any of the governments for the last 30 years or - maybe even further back. But rather, as we shall see, they (the previous governments) have done possibly everything in their power to destroy Britain as an industrial nation.

Where did it all go wrong then? Well James Dyson in his Telegraph column tell us that

Where did it go wrong? Consolidation, nationalisation and union unrest suppressed our automotive industry. Soaring interest rates and increasingly complicated employment law stifled small engineering firms. The inventiveness demonstrated in the Second World War was not used to build an industrial future: Vickers, a pioneering and successful exporter (when foreign currency was desperately needed), had a request for £5 million in development funding rejected. Advanced plans for aircraft were scrapped, and instead hundreds of millions were spent on buying inferior American hardware.

I think he is partially wrong and partially right but mostly wrong.

What politicians in general just do not seem to comprehend is the issue of pride. You are proud if you are a civil servant, well at least you used to be before it became politicised, and you wear your "HM ad-hoc industry" -badge with great honour for being able to provide a service to the nation at large. Certainly the girls and boys at Oxbridge used to have their hopes set for a job within the civil service or the legal system. Now only the latter aspiration remains, thanks to amongst other things the Human Rights Act introduced under New Labour. Which has created a judicial conundrum, highly favourable to young budding lawyers wishing to make a quick buck (and lots of them) - not so for the tax payer.

One of the largest societies in Oxford is now the Oxford Entrepreneurs and the trend is the same for Cambridge and Imperial College. This is of course not a bad thing at all, society needs more creative clever people, for they are most definately not in Parliament. But while these young bright people are heading for the industry in their little start-up firms, not so many have their sights set upon the civil service maybe because there is not much left there that honest young people would like to occupy themselves with certainly scientifically inclined people. Consider the industries and government departments that have been privatized over the years (beware this is a long list):
  • National Grid UK
  • British Airways
  • British Coal
  • Central Electricity Generating Board
  • British Railways
  • National Freight Corporation
  • British Gas
  • British Steel
  • National Bus Company
  • Rolls-Royce
  • British Telecommunications
  • British Petroleum
  • National Enterprise Board
  • British Leyland
  • British Aerospace
  • British Telecom
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Royal Ordnance Factories
  • British Airport Authority
  • British Electricity Authority
  • British European Airways
  • British Overseas Airways Corporation
  • British Shipbuilders
  • British South American Airways
  • British Transport Commission
  • British Transport Docks Board
  • Central Electricity Authority
  • Consett Iron Company
  • East Midlands Electricity
  • East Yorkshire Motor Services
  • Eastern Counties Omnibus Company
  • Eastern Electricity Board
  • Electricity Council
  • Merseyside And North Wales Electricity Board
  • Thames Water Authority
  • Midland Red
  • Midlands Electricity
  • North West Electricity Board
  • National Bus Company
  • National Coal Board
  • National Express Coaches
  • National Grid
  • National Power
  • North West Water
  • North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
  • Northern Electric
  • Northumbrian Water Group
  • Oxford Bus Company
  • Pickfords
  • Public Electricity Suppliers
  • Red Star Parcels
  • South Eastern Electricity Board
  • Scottish Bus Group
  • Scottish Nuclear
  • Scottish Power
  • Scottish Bus Group
  • Severn Trent
  • South Wales Electricity
  • South West Water
  • South Western Electricity Board
  • South of Scotland Electricity Board
  • Southern Electric
  • Southern Water
  • State Management Scheme
  • Transport Holding Company
  • Ulster Transport Authority
  • Victoria Coach Station
  • Welsh Water
  • Wessex Water
  • Yorkshire Electricity
  • Yorkshire Traction
  • Yorkshire Water
Under New Labour:
  • Royal Mail
  • British Energy
  • London Underground
Government Departments:
  • Defence Evaluation Research Agency
  • Atomic Energy Research Establishment
  • National Engineering Laboratory
  • Laboratory of the Government Chemist
  • Building Research Establishment
  • Transport Research Establishment
  • Property Services Agency
There are many many more. These are the ones I could, through some dashing Google work, quickly find now. As to the financial aspects of nationalisation vs. privitisation I shall not comment upon, but possibly lament - for neither is doing a very good job at present at keeping the UK a float.

To put one of the above privitisations further under the microscope consider the DERA, which employed over 9,000 people mainly scientists, engineers and technicians. This agency consisted of the amalgamated (in 1995):
  1. Royal Aircraft Establishment
  2. Admirality Research Establishment
  3. Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment
  4. Royal Signals and Radar Establishment
  5. Defence and Test Evaluation Organisation
  6. Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment
  7. Centre for Defence Analysis
What the government did with it in 2001... they privatised it. Much malice can be placed at the feet of Mr. Blair but in my humble opinion this must be one of his gravest and dumbest decisions ever. Even Thatcher had the foresight to not touch these divisions of the government. Yet Blair, being the world renowned defence analyst that he is, decided that the sale of the nations defence research arm, for a profit, was a good idea. Mr. Obama wrote "Audacity of Hope" well Mr. Blair ought to write "Audacity of a dimwit" he would without a doubt be acknowledged with a Nobel price for his efforts.

Going back to the future of the UK. With the above in mind we clearly see what kind of vision the government has in future for the British drones: No honour in thy work but solely make a profit. This is the kind of thinking that permeates every single notion of the British governance today "how can we make a profit even though we are the School Board?" they care not for the furtherance of the people and the nation as a whole but how they can make more money for themselves. Management in Britain is notoriously bad but possibly this is why, they can only see so far as their profits go, not the impact of their innovation or how they could build upon it.

But herein lies the main problem where are our innovations going to come from if all the scientific divisions of the government have been privatised. Even the phoenix which was reborn out of the privitaisation of DERA, the dstl (defence science and technology laboratories) are boasting on their website how much cash they have managed to make out of their clever innovations. This is all well and good, but they only employ 1,000 of the initial 9,000 that was under DERA flag which means that all those other great gadgets are going into company pockets, safely locked away with no prospect for furtherance of public good only lining the pockets of the fat cats even more.

Britain has lost faith in governments which insist on selling everything which belongs to Britain and not the government, Britain and government are not synonyms for the same words which the latter would do well in reminding itself of once in a while. But also, one must concur that some nationalisations were not particularly thought out either, see British Leyland for example. Regardless, some fine institutions have been lost to the greedy hands of corporations and along with it the crucial know-how, built up during centuries, and the people behind the organisations who lost their civil service badge which they prided themselves with.

What will come of this? Apparently we are now a service based economy and all those evil manufacturing companies remaining in these forsaken lands are slowly being weeded out by the government as they are under intense pressure to stay alive. We know have to import most of the know-how, Britain the country that gave the world the steam engine amongst other great things, because otherwise the country would go out. Apparently there is no one in the 70 million+ strong population who can figure out how the hell a nuclear plant works. That is amazing.

Unless this is all turned around Britain does not have a future.

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