Industrial action

As the ever-increasing deluge of replies to this column indicates, there’s nothing quite like a recession to galvanise opinion.

And it’s fair to say that throwing money at failing banks doesn’t figure anywhere on an engineer reader’s wish-list of government responses to the current downturn.

But cathartic though it is to air your views on a forum like this, a growing sense that the UK government is trailing behind other countries in grasping the importance of safeguarding and stimulating its manufacturing and technology sectors would suggest that government still isn’t listening closely enough to the concerns of industry.

So if you’re fed up with preaching to the converted here’s a suggestion from our sister publication MWP (formerly Metalworking Production), that we think sounds like a good idea.

Imagine, if on a given date, every single member of the commons turned up to prime minister’s question time with the thoughts and concerns of UK manufacturers fresh in their minds.

It sounds somewhat hopeful, and perhaps a little idealistic, but if a large number of the 35,000 engineers reading this column were to email their MPs at the same time with their thoughts and concerns about UK manufacturing, it could conceivably have some impact.

So here’s the challenge: on the morning of Wednesday 18th March – or possibly the day before – email your local MP with your views about what should be done to safeguard the UK’s manufacturing industry: you might want to highlight specific measures to protect our most skilled jobs and leading edge R&D, you might want to highlight the urgent need to press ahead with schemes of public works, you might even be in possession of the magic bullet that will turn the economy round and put the UK on the path to recovery! If you don’t try, you won’t find out.

While it might prove no more fruitful than airing your views on The Engineer’s website, it could also conceivably, plant a seed in the mind of someone with the power and influence to make things happen and the political nouse to recognise a vote-winner when he or she sees it.

So here’s that date again: Wednesday 18th March. And if you’re not sure how to contact your MP, you can find them here:

The Engineer will be tuning in expectantly.

Jon Excell, deputy editor