For anyone who has managed to come across my blog, you may be wondering where I’m going with it!!

Is it just a rant from an old fool who has been unable to accept that the days of Brunel and Empire are long since past?


Its not that at all.

I’m doing this to try and explain (to myself if nobody else is reading this) why I still do what I do. Why I’m still impassioned about UK manufacturing, and above all else why I firmly believe that if we learn from the lessons of the past we WILL still be able to have a vibrant, successful manufacturing base in this country.

So, with that in mind……back to the story………………………………………..


When Northern Rock closed its doors in September 2007 it triggered a financial crisis that was unique in living memory. This was because it led directly to a recession that for the first time wasn’t my fault!

Every other recession we had experienced since the 1970’s were a direct result of our low levels of efficiency and performance in our industries and a resultant inability to challenge the competition as they moved in and took our customers, markets and jobs.

But 2007 was different.

This was a recession based on financial profligacy, where money was in seemingly inexhaustible supply, and if you wanted anything, there was someone perfectly happy to lend the money to you with apparently scant regard of whether or not you had the ability to pay it back. However, money was of course not inexhaustible, especially when the country was no longer generating real money through the engine of manufacturing, and therefore the inevitable financial ‘perfect storm’ transpired……….and the money ran out!

Now I know this is a massively simplified version of what was a highly complicated situation with any number of other factors……. but that’s the nub of it!

In the immediate aftermath of this disaster, with the Government propping up our financial institutions and bankers being metaphorically flogged in the streets, everyone (and this time I mean EVERYONE, not just those of us in Industry) conveniently forgot their part in the situation, and selectively chose to ignore that WE ALL showed a similar rashness when borrowing money without considering the consequences.

But there we were.

Then the Government of the day did something quite unprecedented, it turned to the manufacturing sector, and began to encourage that we actually MAKE THINGS and then SELL THEM, as a means of generating wealth for the country.

Not exactly ‘rocket science’ is it?

However, there were, and still are huge problems with this strategy:

·         Our industries are decimated

·         We haven’t run meaningful Apprenticeship schemes for almost 40 years, and as a result our ‘skilled workers’ have either retired, or found other ways to earn a living

·         There has been no discernible plan to train for the skills which are so urgently needed RIGHT NOW

·         The realisation for the need the re-introduction of a robust apprenticeship programme, on the scale our modern industries require has been painfully slow in emerging, with the actions needed to implement it even slower!

·         Our workforce is still

o   mistrusting of Management

o   unaware of the critical nature of it’s contribution in our success

o   completely demotivated and disengaged be continued