Who Says We Don't Make Stuff?

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ToraToraTora | 17:08 Mon 05th Aug 2013 | News
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Did anyone see the Top Gear tribute to British made stuff? Despite the standard anti British rantings of the left it seems we do make thngs. Even after Labour and the unions best efforts to destroy manufacturing in the 60's and 70's it seems we do have a thriving manufacturing base. Can we now stop saying we don't have a manufacturing industry when clearly we do.


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It was a gallant effort.

Shockingly let down by the subsequent programme due to terrible BBC scheduling.
Even after Labour and the unions best efforts to destroy manufacturing in the 60's and 70's

LOL, have to say that I could walk out of one job and straight into another one when I left school in the early seventies, doubt if many people could now.
We do make "stuff"- but not nearly as much as we used to do.
Whilst it is impressive it seems most of the manufacturing was done for foreign companies
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it's done in Britain by British workers, the owenership is largely irrelevant.
Not all the workers are British, TTT.
They forgot to mention that Ford recently pulled all UK transit production and moved it to Turkey.

That was a very impressive line-up they had along The Mall.
3T - Oh wow, talk about jingoistic right wing rhetoric. Hot air, no substance.

There is nothing inherently "anti-british" about being left of centre, despite your rather feeble attempt to link the two. Only in the minds of the most rabidly nationalistic right winger is this even remotely true.

Its the economists, the politicians, the commentators and observers who say we do not "manufacture things", and it is always a qualified comment anyway, comparing now to times past.

If you look at any decadal breakdown of the trends within british economic activity,ordered by market segment, you will notice the decline in the contribution toward the GDP that manufacturing represents, and a shift towards the service sector and banking. This is not in dispute. This is not a political assessment. It is factual. Its not even unique to Britain, although the shift is more marked because of our banking and financial services sector.

And given that many of " the left" in this country would be comprised of union members, it is they who would be most keen on promoting our manufacturing industries and urging more, if only for narrow self-interest reasons, since an increase in the manufacturing sector might imply more skilled and semi-skilled labouring jobs. On that basis alone, your hypothesis would be pretty unlikely!

Such a partisan question, without any credible base to it at all...Just another of your periodic swipes at "The Left", it seems.
I have quite a few tools and precision instruments (micrometers, depth gauges, go-no go gauges, etc) that my father used to work with, and they are stamped "Made in England". That's a sign of the past, isn't it?
it's done in Britain by British workers, the owenership is largely irrelevant

So let me get this right, British workers are good when their employers are foreign, bad when they work for British employers?

Could it be the ownership of the companies is actually what makes all the difference?
It was only Friday that I wrote this answer and I am repeating it already.

" The unions were not good in the 1970s but neither were the management. And contrary to your assertion, the management ran those failing companies, not the unions.
What remains of our car industry now is very successful and productivity is high and strikes are rare. They are still unionised, but the factories are now run by foreign owners with their own managers. "
Oh yes

Of course it's a common *left wing* complaint that we don't have a car industry anymore because the unions destroyed it isn't it?

The fact of course is that we have a thriving motor manufacturing industry - Our work force makes cars for all sorts of foreign companies not to mention the components industry and Formula 1

The one thing we seem incapable of doing is running a successful car company.

The fact that our motor industry is so successful is unfortunately a sad testament to how bad British management can be.

As a prime example I'd cite the Phoenix group's criminal mismanagement of Rover
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LG, I base my anti British labelling of the left on the fact that they always side with our enemies. For example his week the standard left wing approach over Gib was that we are the bad guys and we must give it to Spain. Ditto whenever the Falkland came up.

jno: "Could it be the ownership of the companies is actually what makes all the difference? " - perhaps but also the nuetering of the unions must have played a part, Unions are the enemy of employement. Do you remember the eighties, the activities of the government in that decade created the conditions where manufacturing is again possible, albeit with foriegn owned companies if necessary. Remember the attempted Nissan factory in Dundee? Unions would not agree to a single union, Nissan went elsewhere, QED union job destruction!
The French (although it pains me to say it) do a credible job of running car companies with state intervention.
no comment at all on British management, TTT?
@3T - Being critical of your countries foreign policy is not being "anti-british". I resent people like you wrapping yourself in the flag and claiming some kind of moral high ground from which to throw stereotypical political insult, smearing all. If you have specific links or examples, of this alleged anti-british behaviour, it would be far more appropriate to direct your ire and our attention to them, rather than tarring all with the same brush.

And, whilst we are at it, since when did Spain become "Our Enemy"? Did Cameron accidentally declare war whilst we were all watching the Olympics Revisited,1 year on?

Such nonsense rhetoric is unhelpful and is the height of nationalistic conceit.

With respect to the Falklands Islands conflict ; It is not unbritish to point out that, prior to the Falklands Islands invasion by Galtieri, Britain had been in long term discussions with successive argentinian regimes looking to arrange some sort of leaseback or shared sovereignty scheme, for the Falklands.

Negotiations like that, coupled with the removal of the RN HMS Endurance, was a factor in Galtieris ill-fated attempt to divert attention away from the appalling political domestic economics situation and dreadful human rights record in Argentina.

Politics is nuanced; The answer is usually not simple, it is rarely Black and White, or Left or Right.

I'm afraid, LG, that you're micturating into the breeze. Reasoned debate is, sadly, not a skill shared by all!
Although to be fair Grommit just before that you wrote:

//Our manufacturing base was decimated 20 years ago because it was dirty and old, in favour of nice clean service industries.//


If you meant decimatred in a strict sense of 1 in 10 I'd probably agree with you.

Although still no answer to why we have no British owned volume car manufacturers.

The French have Peugeot-citroen and Renault - they're hardly immune from labour disputes and labour laws favour employees even more there!

Personally I believe it's a failure to innovate.

British management have not ploughed back into new technologies and developments. You saw this clearly with Rover where new models were basically concept cars or old ones with new trim.

Jaguar were making the same tired old models until Ford tok them over and they invested in developing the S-type and the XF
// Although still no answer to why we have no British owned volume car manufacturers. //

Because the cars were rubbish, the industry wasn't subsidised by government, and BOTH the unions and management between them conspired to run it into the ground through stupidity and self interest.
The workers weren't the innocent little lambs caught in the middle either, they were the ones voting to strike for the silly pay rises and bringing sleeping bags in for the night shift after all.

LG is right. There's no simple explanation for the death of the British car industry. You'd need to write a thesis on it. To blame either the unions, management, or government alone is pretty daft.

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