British Manufacturing

British Manufacturing
British Manufacturing

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Living in cloud cuckoo land

The UK has massive backlogs of repairs to hospitals, schools, courts and roads. Local authorities are collapsing. Armed forces can’t recruit not least because living accommodation is in desperate need of repair. Local authorities are having to cut vital but not legally required services, not least in community and youth services. We were woefully illprepared for Covid. Having cut all available corners from PPE stocks to care home resources. Add to this a cost of living crisis with food banks stretched to the limit. 

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the UK was becoming just another medium sized nation dwarfed by the superpowers but with leaders of both political parties who could not shake off their sense of this being the mother country of an ‘Empire on which the sun never set’. This has meant that public expenditure has always been distracted by a defence commitment that was disproportionate.

Our public services are stretched beyond endurance, yet we are the sixth wealthiest country in the world and government is hinting of tax cuts! Brexit has critically damaged our economy  

We are living in cloud cuckoo land. 

Where has that money gone?

Part of the answer is the obscene gap between rich and not even poor but most people. The wealth of the rich is not employed productively but is invested in overpriced dwellings which aren’t even occupied. Austerity and an insane dash for growth through unfunded tax cuts have compounded the problem  

It seems that one result is that Labour has ditched much of its green investment plan. This investment is fundamental to both our green transition but also industrial renewal and making good our infrastructure.

If we don’t manufacture, what of services? Financial services don’t rate highly when British companies choose to list in New York

We need some honesty from our politicians.

The Brighton Pavilion a symbol of the glamour of Victoria’s reign now undergoing urgent repairs - perhaps a metaphor of these times.

Friday 19 January 2024

110,000 visits to my blog

I began the blog in 2008 when I was studying for my MA in Professional Writing at University College Falmouth. 

At the start I wrote about some of the books I read. Of these Engelby by Sebastian Faulkes was particularly memorable. I looked at Teen Fiction but also dipped my toe into Shakespeare (1599 by James Shapiro) to gain a sense of 17th century England as the setting for an historical novel. 

In the end I settled in the banking crisis as the setting for my MA project with a title Broken Bonds about one of the creators of the financial instruments that led to the crash, and yes, his bond of marriage also broke. 

There is then a gap as I returned to full time employment as CEO at Lincoln Cathedral where I got to know Magna Carta for its 800th anniversary. This blog has some of my thoughts on the Great charter and its implications today.

After leaving my job at the cathedral I was fortunate enough to be appointed chair of the Lincoln Arts Trust which ran Lincoln Drill Hall. The blog has a number of post about this wonderful arts venue and its history. I was also appointed chair of the Lincoln Book Festival and wrote a number of pieces on this and other subjects both for the blog and the Lincolnshire Echo. 

In January 2016 I went to Lesvos with my wife and two other friends to work at the Moria refugee camp. The main writing on this was the Lesvos blog.

2016 was also the year of the EU referendum and I wrote a number of pieces in passionate support for remaining. At around the same time a number of us started CompassionateLincoln in support of refugees but also our local homeless.

2018 marked the centenary of the end of the Great War and a highlight for me was the visit of the Proms to the Drill Hall. We also held a commemoration of Lincoln in WW1.

I used the blog for my early thoughts on what became my two books on UK manufacturing.

The blog continues to be a place where I offer thoughts on a range of mainly political issues although a current project exploring Shakespeare may feature in due course. Earlier blog pieces on Macbeth and Titus Andronicus may be in point. 

Lincoln Drill Hall