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Friday, November 18, 2011

Will Britain end up joining the Euro?

The more Euro-sceptic, Tory-supporting press, has jumped on the words of German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, that the UK will have to adopt the euro 'faster than people think' as if it is a major threat to life, the universe and everything.

The Daily Mail in particular is rather scathing, describing the comment as an astonishing claim that comes despite deepening crisis that threatens the existence of the single currency. They also say that Germany has drawn up secret plans that could prevent Britain holding a referendum, which could lead to powers being clawed back from Brussels.

If all this is sounding a bit 'Hello, hello', then that is because it is. Germany has its own position to protect as does Britain, but neither country is going to allow the other to interfere in any process that is in their own national interest. Nevertheless, Mr. Schäuble is not quite in the real world when he suggests that all of Europe will eventually have to adopt the single currency:

He told a German news agency that his government 'respects' Britain's decision not to join the euro, but predicted that when the currency stabilised the whole continent would queue up to join, and added: 'It will perhaps happen faster than some in the British Isles currently believe.'

I would suggest that the rush to sign up new members to the Euro club irrespective of their economic stability is part of the present problem. Germany would do well to consolidate what they have and bring the Euro currency nations under a single central bank before they even start looking to expand it further.
Euro Nord possibly!
Possibly. Germany makes things that people want to buy. The UK decided some time ago to concentrate on financial services as a way to make money. Now with over a million young people many of whom don't have real skills the UK is in a real pickle. The German education/training system for young people really works.

‘What on earth am I getting at?’

Germany will become our masters and deservedly so, they are trained and can make things for export. As a nation we have been so stupid over several generations that we deserve to be second mate, second class; we don’t export enough because we decided we don’t need to make things that people want to buy.

We actually have new jobs cropping up all the time in the UK, but British employers have discovered that young Brits just don't compete with Eastern European workers and so young Brits are not getting hired in anything like the numbers required.

So the UK (and Wales too) is going down the pan, a whole generation unable to market their skill base because even those with degrees don’t have real skills that can be used to make things for export. Debt-ridden consumption has been our way for too long. We denigrate the idea of working in factories to make things. A man/woman in overalls is often seen as a twit.

But the social engineering really didn't work did it. That we should all aim to go to university and make a better life for ourselves.

We need real engineering and applied science skills – but many universities have moved away from that. In Wales we have seen science pushed out – take Swansea University, it dumped its Chemistry Department. So many Welsh universities strive to education our young in media studies etc, and meanwhile our manufacturing base has gone bye-bye.

In Germany the technical schools don't pay much attention to humanities, and Germany's youth is very well trained in real skills that employers want.

"Oh Well, that did not work out well did it?" (Laurel and Hardy)
Actually our(UK) Engineering base is very strong but just not large enough.We have many brilliant engineers and scientists working at the high value end of the market.
I agree the image of engineering is not particularly attractive to young people. The image of a welder in the background to a recent BBC report on the poor image of British Engineers sums up the media's attitude to the profession. They dont know what engineering is.
The last engineering company I managed had the following range of technical skill levels.

Enginering Management
with the following qualifications: craft apprenticeship
I could go on and on but....
Just lets say its a fantastic career with amazing opportunities we just need to get our act together.
Its objective criteria of the kind that 'proves controlling' by which we should judge success where otherwise mere rhetoric of the day and subjective assessments are used to cover up obvious issues/flaws.

For example, just a few days ago Swansea University once again describes itself as a “a research-intensive university” (Martin Shipton's Nov 17 article in the WM: "Controversial scholarship awarded to daughter of Vice-Chancellor") and yet Swansea University’s league position has fallen even within the Welsh university league tables and if memory serves is floundering between positions 300 and 400 in the QS World Rankings. In fact Wales doesn’t have a single university in the top 100; if memory serves Scotland has three.

In the case of engineering/science based companies in UK/Wales one objective criteria that is proving to be controlling is the UK’s trade balance with the rest of the world, and the UK is running a HUGE trade imbalance with the rest of the world and this means the UK government has to borrow huge amounts of money to cover the imbalance. The UK/Wales is simply not exporting enough goods and services.

Also, in the context of Welsh schools it is clear from PISA and Estyn reports that Welsh schools are not delivering compared to other economies. Welsh education standards have dropped.

Until we wake up to the fact that we are in an economic war that requires focus on engineering and science skills linked to economic development the UK/Wales will drop in the world-economic league tables.

Already it seems Germany has cottoned on to this and will work to put the UK in its deserved place in accordance to its diminished economic power.

Humanities and social engineering has undermined what Great Britain stood for: high engineering skills linked to economic development. We are now almost a laughing stock; we can’t even afford to run our Harrier fleet.

For a while Wales had a good opportunity, in relation to its small size/economy, to really boost itself by becoming an economy built on innovation, but this didn’t happen. Instead millions has been squandered on the likes of the ILS and supercomputer facilities at Swansea University which has led to hmmmm, very few patented economic developments, but LOTS of subjective rhetoric about how good Swansea University is at doing ‘serious research’, just that Swansea University is well down in the comparative university rankings, even in Wales Swansea University has fallen further behind.
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