All I want for Christmas

Proper recognition for engineers, and perhaps a supercar, are top of our anonymous blogger’s Christmas list. What’s on yours?

Despite upholding the finest traditions of engineers through the ages and doing my best to ignore the impending onset of the ironically titled “Festive Season”, I recognise there comes a point where one must finally admit defeat. So, given that we must face the bucolic spectre of Christmas Present why not use it to our advantage and consider what we would like as… well, a Christmas present…if you see what I mean?

Of course in the wider scheme of things we can take it as read that world peace, an end to human suffering and the eradication of anyone who has taken part in a “reality TV” programme (whatever one of those may be) is included. However for the purposes of the readership what would we, as engineers, like? Perhaps more large, news-worthy projects?

Recently there has been much copy generated by HS2, off-shore wind farms and HMS Audacious – the new nuclear powered sardine tin – but these have been met with somewhat less than a uniformly rapturous reception by the public. How about something a little more formal, like the Queen Elizabeth Prize? It has a whopping £1 million on offer which in these straitened times is not to be sniffed at. Mind you it’s still less than one sixth of the privately raised prize money for making two flights to the edge of space; which possibly sort of tarnishes the shine a little.

On the other hand it would be rather fine if our nice but dim Prime Minister, his tea boy and the clown who sits opposite (no political favouritism here, all are treated with equal contempt) highlighted our beleaguered profession a tad more.

As I recall there was an announcement that manufacturing would drag us out of the recession, almost immediately followed by a less well publicised declaration that although we bring the money in we don’t employee enough people doing so – therefore manufacturing shouldn’t be lauded and encouraged after all. Possibly the first time anyone’s been castigated for being efficient along with a u-turn that happened so quickly it’s a wonder no-one got whiplash.

What would I like? Well, as you’re asking, I’d like a concerted grass roots level campaign to draw attention to what we do and how the modern world relies upon us. Something that isn’t “knowingly wacky” or that dumbs down in the belief that 99.9% of the public are congenital idiots. A crusade that doesn’t preface every interesting fact with an apologetic reference to “scientific bits” or “nerds.”

What I want is a sustained change in the general perception at all levels regarding what we know can be a hugely exciting, important and rewarding profession. Well, that and a Bugatti Veyron with a case of the ‘28 Krug on the passenger seat. So a Merry Christmas to you all and what would you like?