The most important events for engineers and industry in general this week are the ones that only a handful of people know anything about. They are, of course, taking place in the Cabinet Office, and will decide whether the next government will be a Conservative minority with tacit Liberal Democrat support, a Con-LibDem coalition or, if the talks between Cameron’s Clique and Clegg’s Cabal break down completely, a rainbow alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, and anybody else who fancies the ride.
It’s not like we can complain about this, because it’s what we voted for; the implications of a hung parliament were trailed extensively before the election. At least, it’s what 65% of us voted for. We can only speculate on what might have happened if the hundreds of people who, for some reason, overwhelmed Polling Stations who weren’t expecting this barely-moderate turnout, were allowed to vote; or, indeed, if the remaining thousands had made the arduous and insurmountable trek to the polls (or to put it another way, had bothered to turn up).
In any case, as this newsletter reaches you, some three hundred readers have told us what their favoured result from the election will be on our current poll. Interestingly, a Conservative-LibDem coalition is currently by far the least popular option. Could that be because it’s the one that nobody expected to happen — least of all the LibDem science and technology spokesman Evan Harris, who lost his seat on Thursday?
By a complete coincidence, today is the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill taking over the wartime coalition government. Famously, Churchill had nothing to offer the country but blood, toil, tears and sweat; equally famously, he was unceremoniously chucked out of office once the coalition disbanded for the 1945 General Election. Does the UK’s structural deficit mean we can expect similar hardship in the coming years? And will the next prime minister face the same fate? Let us know what you think.
In the meantime, we can expect to hear today what effect the Icelandic volcano had on UK airports in financial terms, as BAA issues its monthly traffic figures. And still with the aerospace sector, one of the biggest players in this arena, Airbus, is presenting its latest technologies at its annual Innovation Days event in Chester; we’ll be reporting on that in the next few days.