Negative sign

FR Grant’s criticism of of the UK’s modern engineering legacy was both unfair and typical of the culture of negativity that has actually dragged this country down in the past few decades.


FR Grant’s criticism of of the UK’s modern engineering legacy (Talking Point, 15 January) was both unfair and typical of the culture of negativity that has actually dragged this country down in the past few decades.

We have become so used to telling each other that everything modern is useless and that the rest of the world does it so much better that we are in danger of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Mr/Ms Grant suggests that the Channel tunnel rail link and the new Wembley would hardly deserve comment in other countries, and goes on to point to the huge infrastructure projects underway in China and the middle east.

This is missing the point. The pace of development in nations such as China is dictated by the process of industrialisation. But these countries are only undergoing a similar process that we went through in the 18th and 19th centuries. What does the letter’s author think the reaction of the rest of the world was 150 years ago as it watched the Victorians turn the UK from an agricultural society into an industrial powerhouse?

No doubt they were amazed by the incredible feats of engineering that went on.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of our basic infrastructure is in place (that is not to say it doesn’t need updating). Not only that, but we have to some extent de-industrialised.

There is still plenty that our engineers do well, and we should not be blinded to that by the dazzling sight of other nations much larger than our own emerging from the pre-industrial era.

Alan Evans

Ipswich, Suffolk