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Europe (continued)

On 12 Dec 2011 at 12:36pm Rational Adult wrote:
It always makes me smile when people rant on about how Thatcher 'closed manufacturing down'. Various people on here have pointed out that she saw the way the world was changing - you can only make things when you are competitive, otherwise you are merely subsidising loss-making concerns. So when Unions, expectations of working conditions and wage levels dictate that it costs more to make stuff in Britain than it does elsewhere, the world changes.
This is one of the problems with Europe - certain member states aren't competitive even with other European states, let alone with other continents. Hence the Euro isn't saved; it will soon crash and burn I'm afraid, which will badly damage lots of countries in the medium term. But at least the UK won't be entirely at the epicentre of that nightmare, with an even larger bill for it's failed rescue hanging around our neck
On 12 Dec 2011 at 12:50pm alkalgarbut wrote:
On 12 Dec 2011 at 1:20pm Merlin Milner wrote:
I have always worked in British manufacturing. Just to let you know it is alive and some of it doing quite well. The UK is the 6th largest manufacturing country in the world. Please stop saying that we do not make anything anymore. This is not true. What is true is what we make is quite different and that 60% of our manufacturing base is not UK owned.
It is about time that we support our significant manufacturing base. It is a sad reflection that the current crop of MPs have lowest amount of engineering and science backgrounds ever.
More children need to do science and engineering both vocationally and academic. I went to a Polytechnic and it was a perfect grounding for my particular industry, shame they are no more.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 1:39pm Proud wrote:
The single currency fudge has been going on for years. In 2004, France and Germany lead the argument for a relaxation of the fiscal rules. Now I understand they are arguing for them them to be tightened. They want it both ways all for their own end.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 1:46pm Deelite wrote:
In 7 years circumstances have changed. You'd have to be pretty silly not to adapt to them.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 2:05pm Gsdegdalcj wrote:
On 12 Dec 2011 at 2:55pm Clifford wrote:
Rational Adult wrote: 'It always makes me smile when people rant on about how Thatcher 'closed manufacturing down'. Various people on here have pointed out that she saw the way the world was changing - you can only make things when you are competitive...'

And if you have an over-valued pound (as Thatcher and then Brown did) because it keeps the City happy, it's difficult for manufacturing to be competitive. You know, don't you, that there has been a struggle between financial interests and manufacturing interests since at least 1900 and financial interests have usually won, to the detriment of manufacturing. One of the things that continues to fascinate me about the right-wing posters on this site is just how little awareness of history they seem to have.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 3:19pm Rational Adult wrote:
Sorry - your point is?
I pointed out that Thatcher didn't close down manufacturing. The UK began changing to high-value manufacturing, as the lastest in a long history of 'adapt and survive'.
The last couple of posts seem to be supporting that view, including yours Clifford?
On 12 Dec 2011 at 3:20pm Southover Queen wrote:
What always makes me smile on this forum is the patronising tone of the right wingers...

In the last 50 years, most of the grand marques of British manufacturing have disappeared. That hasn't happened in Germany: from a very similar base they've managed to earn a reputation for very high quality engineering, whereas we've simply sold it off. As one previous Tory Prime Minister memorably put it, Thatcher sold off the family silver and bribed the populace with reduced taxes. So my house is full of German engineering, Japanese electronics and a US manufactured computer. Even my car is French.

That has nothing to do with union demands, and everything to a complete failure of successive governments to support those sectors over the years. We don't invest in good design, so our bright young graduates go abroad instead. We treat skilled workers with absolute contempt, as though they are somehow the enemy. And we allow the wage gap to increase to a factor of thousands so that a shop floor worker may be getting the minimum wage while the CEO is taking home millions.

Our state has needed a bit of a steer - perhaps even some discrete nannying - for many years. That's the job of government and they've failed. Germany's had the vision to educate its workforce appropriately and to understand that everyone will pay for excellence, whether it's someone in Lewes or Shanghai. And I'm afraid the Tory posturing about Europe is just the pathetic remnant of the smug jingoism which has run us into the ground in the first place.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 3:35pm Merlin Milner wrote:
Engineering has always been treated as 'trade' and has suffered as a result. Engineering and science have not treated as a professions in the same way as law or finance.
I have found it difficult to recruit good electronics engineers recently. Some new univertities are letting graduates out with degrees that are worthless.
Lets be positive and celebrate being the 6th largest manufacturing country in the world and encourage our children to take an interest in science, engineering and the business of manufacturing.
For one I find working in manuacturing the best career choice I could have made.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 3:52pm Clifford wrote:
Rational Adult wrote: 'Sorry - your point is? I pointed out that Thatcher didn't close down manufacturing.'

30% of British manufacturing was destroyed between 1979 and 1983 through Thatcher's high interest rate policy - the famous 'one club' policy. This suited the City down to the ground and it boomed. Now we've seen the price to be paid by staking our fate on the bankers. That is what is meant by Thatcher's destruction of manufacturing. Have you any views on the struggle between the financial and manufacturing sectors for much of the 20th century, Rational Adult?
On 12 Dec 2011 at 3:57pm Southover Queen wrote:
Exactly right, Merlin. Again, looking at Germany, once you've got your engineering degree you're known as Mr Engineer Milner, on a par with a medical doctor or lawyer. It's a high status job with commensurate rewards.

Unfortunately most graduates here seem to want to be on the telly, or failing that, working in telly. So the demand is for tens of thousands of media studies places; never mind the fact that there are virtually no jobs for them and most of them will work unpaid for a couple of years before going off to get a proper job somewhere.

That's a good example of the free market failing. If all those 18 year olds want to study media how can it be wrong? And so what if they emerge mostly unable to do the jobs they think they're training for?

Government could decide to incentivise the courses which deliver graduates with skills industry needs, but instead they close because "there isn't the demand" for chemistry or physics. So why not set up grants (not loans) for students wanting to study subjects which will actually benefit the economy? And why not limit the number of students doing course like media which are economically not productive? And how about working with employers so that the educational system actually turns out graduates with the skills industry needs?
On 12 Dec 2011 at 5:16pm SHS wrote:
Good to hear MM talking of being positive, science & engineering teaching, the future etc. Instead of yet more campaigns to preserve this and report on that and support ABC Social Enterprise how about action in Lewes to boost businesses producing things and getting everyone off benefits and working. For some reason now everyone wants a degree. Building a brick wall is useful as is tipping the pan in a foundry or ploughing a field. Everyone can be taught these things, no need for a degree in Media Studies from colleges re-named Universities. And. erm, why is this thread called 'Europe (Continued)'?
On 12 Dec 2011 at 5:17pm jrsussex wrote:
Well said Southover Queen. Government and universitiea should encourage engineering and science and similar careers. I have argued for years that the very idea that all should be able to go to university is fundamentally wrong. Universities are places for higher education and only those that are academically capable should be selected and that has nothing whatever to do with whether you are from a working, middle or upper class background. It is simply have you worked hard during your formative years in education? I would gladly contribute, through the tax system, to fund those taking degrees in engineering and science but not those that treat university as a social event to which as a young person they are entitled, those that drop out or those that having found things a little harder than expected so drop into media studies or some other that is equally pointless.
I am not having a go at those who choose media studies but why does it need to be a university degree? Something along the lines of the old polytechnics would do the job equally as well.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 5:33pm Rational Adult wrote:
It's called 'Europe continued' because the earlier Going into Europe thread was full, and this is a continuation of that one.
With the greatest respect Clifford, you must be mildly idiotic to think that the reduction in manufacturing between 79-83 was down purely to interest rate policy. I would suggest that a large chunk of that shrinkage was down to long-standing decline simply reaching a point of no return.
I don't have particular views on the past century of interaction between finance and industry. It's history, after all. I do though agree that it's a shame that many UK marques and brands have disappeared, but it's not a surprise when you consider the rotten management of them which led to product ranges which no-one wanted, and Union-led (but not solely them, Southover Queen!) workforces such as British Leyland's who couldn't care less about the quality of what they produced. Reputations sank, coupled with the rise of Far East countries who could dramatically reduce labour costs for fairly menial mass work.
And Good God JR! You remind me of my old Headmaster, who believed that polytechnics were for the less able! Polys were great for targeted, practical courses, especially those with sandwich structures. But you are dead right about the worthless 'degrees for all' position we now find ourselves in...
On 12 Dec 2011 at 6:27pm Clifford wrote:
Rational Adult, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 10:14pm jrsussex wrote:
Rational Adult - Your last paragragh, I know what you are saying and you are partially correct, perhaps I did not present my view as well as I could have done, I am not saying polytechnic type facilities were for the less able but the fact is they did feel that hole for the less academic, one of which was me. That is, in my opinion, far better than the all consuming drive of the past 10/15yrs to ensure that all and sundry can go to university irrespective of their abilities and subsequently possibly feeling a failure as a rssult.
On 12 Dec 2011 at 11:04pm Rational Adult wrote:
Agreed, 100%!
On 13 Dec 2011 at 6:57am Paul Newman wrote:
Germany's manufacturing is, of course, assisted by a wildly undervalued currency , this is one of the reasons we have such a trade deficit with the Hun . Thats why their threats to stop dumping half price BMWs on us are a risible fiction.
In any case even if Germany does have some admirable features it is not proven that acquiring is a process of more tax and spend left wing government run by the Unions as has been the assumption. Sweden , another supposed lefty heaven actually has a less redistributive tax system than ours stronger property laws and , vitally , school free of the state ,a reform resisted by the Teaching Unions for the usual selfish reasons.
The decline of the British manufacturing dates back to the late Victorian recession and in fact , unlike Germany , it was only for s relatively short period that Manufacturing was dominant in this country.
It was killed off by the failure of successive Butskellite administrations to enact supply side reforms
I think Switzerland is the model Despite its strong currency its specialises in ultra high tech quality products ,watches instruments , pharmaceuticals and so on and also services.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 8:09am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I thought the reason we had a trade deficit with Germany was because they make better cars, kitchen applicances etc than we do.
Something I read yesterday put the share of GDP in these proportions: manufacturing 10%, financial services 9.2%, arts 8%. Given that a third of the financial services "product" is the retail sector, the productivity of the city barrow boys is only 6%. Borrowing for investment in manufacturing is hard to come by, funding for the arts has been slashed but the fat mcat speculators still get their big bonuses while their business is being protected by the government.
Doesn't add up to me.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 9:01am Southover Queen wrote:
Where did you read that, ACT? It sounds very interesting.
"I thought the reason we had a trade deficit with Germany was because they make better cars, kitchen applicances etc than we do." And what's more they produce the marques the world wants to own.
The Tories have never understood the value of the arts to this country; anything "creative" has historically been consigned straight to the cuts column every time there's been any kind of economic pressure. In terms of employment in the arts we now have a largely casualised workforce many of whom are not even being paid let alone making a living wage. This lack of stability means that there are no career paths any more, and poor training and development. We're staggering along on good will alone, but believe me there's a kind of desperation in that sector now which will kill off that quite soon. From those figures it's quite clear to me that we can't afford to treat the creative sectors as if they're some kind of pointless frippery of no economic value.

The following email popped into my inbox yesterday: "Brighton and Hove Council are proposing to cut funding to the Brighton and Hove Music & Arts Service by 50% in 2012 and by 100% by 2013. This will have an enormous effect on the opportunities for children and young people in our city to have access to the wonderful world of playing music, this will also have a great impact on music teachers, choirs and orchestras." I'm absolutely sure this is going on right round the country in the name of austerity. Maybe what it's really doing is killing off the golden goose...
On 13 Dec 2011 at 9:38am Nellwavak wrote:
On 13 Dec 2011 at 9:39am PaulNewman wrote:
They do make good stuff ANC but if it was in DMs it would be about 50% more expensive. 80% of trade is internal and we have lost our domestic market for manufactured goods partly because of the advantage to Germany of the Euro.
The value of Banking is its profits not the size of the sector.I am not sure why arts should be subsidised especially, neither am I much impressed with the UKs artistic output.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 10:01am Southover Queen wrote:
"I am not sure why arts should be subsidised especially, neither am I much impressed with the UKs artistic output."

I would have thought the economic case was clear: the arts are a big wealth generator, whether it's in overseas investment and work commissioned here, in tourism or all the rest of it. What do you think constitutes "the arts", Paul? Do you think of Tracey Emin or Pinewood studios? Or, god forbid, the BBC?

Education isn't "subsidy", it's seed funding for the future. For example, music education is the base of the pyramid, and without it we won't have professional orchestras, and without them we won't have Glyndebourne (to name a significant wealth generator for this area). Artists don't just magically appear, you know: they need support and training, and it's not happening. This isn't the first time this has happened either: music services were absolutely decimated under Thatcher and haven't really recovered. These kind of cuts will just kill it off for good.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 12:52pm Merlin Milner wrote:
Do not forget Engineering and science are also creative. Some may argue the most creative professions.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 2:34pm Mercian wrote:
Can you show me a reputable source which suggests that Sweden - tax income 46% of GDP - has a less redistributive state than UK - tax income circa 39% of GDP. Bear in mind that the pre-tax income distribution is more flat in Sweden anyway.
And in terms of property rights, are you familiar with the Swedish "Allemansraat"?

Check it out here »
On 13 Dec 2011 at 5:23pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Look how much money War Horse has made Paul - £5.2m for the NT alone and that was last year, before the movie came out. Tourism brings in a fair bit - our fantastic museums, galleries and historic houses are a major attraction for overseas visitors, not to mention the hordes flocking to West End shows. Events like the Buxton, Chichester and Brighton festivals generate huge amounts for the economy of those areas.
The arts enhance all our lives, imo.
On 13 Dec 2011 at 5:54pm Paul Newman wrote:
Yes Mercian but we are spending about 52% , gets the deficit in proportion doesn`t it .No I cannot be bothered to track down the progressiveness of the Swedish tax system.Its a fairly well known fact and you have immediately grapsed why that is. It is, as you say, because the income distribution is so much flatter. In that income distribtion here, has got less flat during a period of increased redistribution this may give the tax and spend brigade pause for thought. How much good has all that money done the wasteland estates of Glasgow , Labour central . Not much.
Perhaps a re-think on gross hand outs is required on the grounds of social justice . Thats exactly what I happen to believe
On 13 Dec 2011 at 11:54pm Radical Alternative wrote:
I've long thought that the low-life of this country should be sterilised. We've enough scroats already.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 1:37am In1gra8490 wrote:
#edited, Had to remove.. having trouble posting properly.

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