Common sense analysis of this, that and the other


with 3 comments

As the British economy continues to crumble, the evidence that cultural laziness and/or lack of investment in key industries is why nations fail to remain economically viable is vindicated by which are climbing out of or not even in recession (the US, Germany) and which are not – Spain, UK et al. In the US and Germany, the government and investors have poured billions into new technologies (mainly solar in Germany) so not only creating or retaining jobs, but seeding and laying the foundations for the industries of the future. This provides a solid bedrock for long term employment and tax revenue, so everyone wins.

Thirty years ago, a remarkable British invention, the HOTOL SSTO Space Plane was conceived. It’s incredible propulsion technology was based on a hybrid engine that offered the low altitude air breathing benefits of a jet engine with a high altitude/space fairing rocket motor – allowing a craft to take off like a regular airplane and then rocket off almost into space where it could fly half way around the world at many times the speed of sound – with no worries about the sonic boom waking Mr. & Mrs. Jones at 4am. However, as is often the case with British innovation, we failed to capitalise on it, and 30 years later, the world is still firing rocket only craft into space and Britain’s economy has not benefited from HOTOL at all.

Make it so!

Well, today, with a more optimised version of the engine in the form of Skylon now undergoing testing, and only £250 million or so required to take things further, the British government, banks and private equity has a superb opportunity to further develop and harness this technology before it is left by the wayside or benefits someone overseas. What better way to inspire the young, who are currently obsessed with the very worst role models than by triggering their imaginations with such developments such that they can study the technology behind Skylon and be inspired to train for employment or entrepreneurship in aerospace and the future of humankind up there where it’s at.

FLight back club: Mr. (David) Cameron, now is your moment. Mr. Osborne? Fire up that cheque book!

Update: 16 July 2013 – UK gov to invest £60m in Reaction Engines.


Written by Oflife

April 28, 2012 at 12:27 am

3 Responses

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  1. The legendary American business writer Peter Drucker had a section in one of his books where he talked about how so many of the great innovations of the 20th Century (computer, Jet engine, medical scanners) had originated in Britain but were grabbed by other countries who invested in their development and hence reaped the rewards. Similarly its often the same way with highly creative/inventive people. Even Leonardo Da Vinci, whilst unparalleled in churning out creative ideas, often lacked the ‘follow-through’ necessary to turn them into something tangible.

    Appart from all the usually mentioned problems, I think one of the things that holds back the UK compared to the US is that high house-prices here contribute to a ‘mortgage-paying’ culture rather than a ‘stocks and shares investment’ culture amongst the population.

    I’m perpetually puzzled by how the French economy always does so well though. We are continually told that in order for an economy to succeed it needs to be open, dynamic, have flexible labour laws etc. France breaks so many of the rules, and STILL has a larger economy than ours, and they don’t even have the benefit of the English language. Whats going on there?


    April 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    • Interesting. Yes, I also wondered about France. But it is quite a controlled society. Illegal to walk on the grass in parks. Fairly strict laws on the wearing of a Burkha, etc. Also, quite close to more leftist nations such as Russia, who may help it with oil and energy resources, beyond it’s fairly large nuclear power industry. It maybe France’s defence expenditure is less than ours? No longer an ‘aggressive’ colonial power, perhaps it leaves more cash for other things? This is all outside my area of knowledge and education so will need to do some research or hope someone else posts a comment once I begin to hype my blog. (I have been blogging or writing blog like newsletters since mid 1990s but never announced or hyped my blog, it’s just a mental release!)


      May 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  2. The only theories I’ve been able to come up with so far are:

    (1) The French governments, over the years, worked hard to support their manufacturing industries and keep them French, whilst ours were either largely allowed to die or sold off to foreign companies.

    (2) The French have more land, hence more land for farming and have a profitable food industry because of this.

    (3) Their geographical position means they are ideally suited to do lots of business with their Euro neighbours, and also are an extremely desirable tourist destination (particularly with Americans who seem to view Paris as the epitome of a European city.

    Nevertheless, France doesn’t seem to be that innovative in terms of online activity, and has shorter working hours.


    May 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

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