With regard to S Charlton’s observations on the decline of the UK’s engineering and industrial base (We’re fighting for our economic lives), I frequently hear engineers like him wailing about the need ‘to produce things’.
Two factors matter: first, that we earn enough money abroad to pay for our imports; and second, that money is distributed internally. The former accounts for only 20 per cent of GDP.
Banks earn billions in foreign currency and so does tourism, although I agree that manufacturing makes a reasonable contribution to our exports.
However, we could easily replace that with things such as music CDs, TV programmes, films and fashion if we decided to support those industries more.
They have the advantage of being low consumers of energy and ‘hitech’, in that they are creative.
As for internal money distribution, it does not matter how this is done as long as it creates jobs. That is why the government pushed for extensive gambling and 24-hour drinking.
Next time you go on holiday to the Greek Islands remember that the waiter is extracting money from your pocket by producing nothing more than a moussaka or a glass of retsina. Leave manufacturing to the Chinese…and the Victorians.