At the end of my last blog I explained why I felt a sense of personal responsibility for the demise of British Industry, and now I want to go on to explain why I feel EVERYONE connected with industry should feel that similar sense of complicity, whether they were involved in:

·         The governance of it

·         The management of it

·         Simply working within it

So, following the challenge from foreign competition, the ‘rot’ continued to set in……………………. 

In very short order the industries that we considered to be ‘safe’ began to struggle, shrink, and ultimately close…….not just here and there, but suddenly like dominoes they tumbled, and so arrived the demise of so many sectors: shipbuilding in the North-East, Scotland and Northern Ireland; Textiles in the North, Coal mining and steel-making in Wales, the heavy industries of the Midlands all begun to shrivel and die.

With the demise of our manufacturing base came unemployment, social deprivation on a scale not seen for decades and a sense of hopelessness which saw families suffer communities collapse as businesses closed and weren’t replaced with any viable alternatives, and the vast array of skills and trades turn to rust.

And like I said, I was partly to blame.

Not entirely to blame, of course, there were other culprits!

·       Successive governments stood by and watched the collapse, either unable or unwilling to act

·         Workers fought and squabbled with their employers to secure pay increases that were simply not sustainable

·         Employers treated their so called ‘greatest asset’ with contempt and distain, which only fuelled the ‘trench warfare’ that was doing such damage

And whilst this was going on, the rest of the world continued to improve, learn and develop ever better ways to beat us at our own game.

Of course, everybody blamed everybody else; it was the bosses fault, the unions fault, the government’s fault, the Management’s fault, in fact, it was everybody’s fault but ours! In fact, at this dreadfully divisive time there was only one thing we could all agree on, one enemy that we could all clearly identify………them there foreigners!

The one thing we could all be sure of, and in some strange way take collective strength from was that there was nothing we could do about the demise of our industries because we were all powerless to stop the rot because it was based on one simple thing: those foreigners were stealing our place in the market by exploiting their workers.

What could you do when they could pay their people a pittance, and therefore massively undercut us on price? It was simply not fair! Not fair at all!!

And so we did the only thing that seemed appropriate under the circumstances…we whinged!

We bemoaned the injustice of it all, we muttered that the world “would be sorry” when the awful quality of what these ‘cowboys’ were producing became apparent, we were collectively assured that ‘they’d be back’ when they realized what they were getting for their money.

So, was there any foundation in such a viewpoint……………….to be continued