Thursday, 31 March 2016

"UK Industrial Policy" - Echoes of Hollow Laughter

Being somewhat embroiled in my own industrial policy just now, this post will be short.  The headlines on Tata and the British steel industry, alongside the steady drip of crazy news on EDF's Hinkley Point nonsense, make for desperate reading.  Show me one government minister of any industrial experience, let alone 'proven track record of success', as the job application ought to read.

The rumbling UK issue of the first half of this year must soon become entangled with these fiascos.  Cameron, surely, will be pressed to go ('cap in hand' as they always put it) to Brussels for some kind of bail-out triumph.  The 'remain' camp, presumably, would ideally like Brussels to bung Tata a direct EU 'solidarity' sub: that ain't gonna happen.  So the best they can hope for is an approval for some UK taxpayer-funded bailout - which isn't so easy to spin as a reason for staying in, is it?  ("See how quickly Mr Juncker approved a breach of his own rules on state aid, isn't it wonderful?!")

But how can the EU be called in aid of Hinkley?  They've already twisted themselves in knots to approve the tens, nay hundreds of billions of state aid on offer to the beast.  I realise there are no limits to the deviousness of the frogs and Juncker and Mandy and all these disreputable types, so nothing should be ruled out.  

Still, their creativity will be stretched to come up with anything plausible on these two fronts in the next couple of months.  If they succeed, there will be a long queue for referenda across the entire continent, hahah.



Electro-Kevin said...

So much for "The EU saves jobs"

CityUnslicker said...

This is a great 'event' for leave.

I have to say, hard hearted as it sounds I heard the port Talbot workers saying how unfair this was as they had a job for life.

Honestly, I have faced redundancy rounds 9 years of 16 in work. Get real people, why should it be different just because you are blue collar?

Professor Pizzle said...

The shamelessness of the Greenies lamenting the closure of an industry they have done everything to destroy is a grotesque.

Especially since they detest energy intensive heavy industry – on first principles – in the first place.

Anonymous said...

This is a great 'event' for leave

On the contrary, the issue here is that Brexit means restricted access to the EU and no Chinese saviour would want to save an industry hell bent of reducing its potential markets.

Brexit puts any buyer on the same terms as non-EU imports and you'll recall the early version of the EU was the European Coal and Steel Community.

So it's bye bye from Tata

mikef said...

There is one of the most interesting and sensible (or so it seemed to me) articles about the EU at the Adam Smith Institute, called the Liberal case for leaving.

andrew said...

This is desperately sad, but not really something that would be much better - or worse within or without the EU.

this is why most people don't care one way or the other

CityUnslicker said...

Disagree Andrew, in theory we would be much better outwith the EU as we could have imposed anti dumping tariffs on china. Plus energy would be cheaper without all the green crap.

In practice our silly govts would have signed up to expensive energy and sucking up to china so we may in fact be in the same position; but would have a chance to do something about it no!

Anonymous said...

we could have imposed anti dumping tariffs on china

Great idea. Picking a fight with the second largest economy while at the same time cutting ourselves from the EU. Double bubble - no EU trade and no China trade.

And you call yourself a Capitalist!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous-Where is it said that Brexit means restricted access to the EU? The reality is that we can and would almost certainly stay in the single market for a period of time whilst a longer term solution is worked out. And being in hasn't done Port Talbot any good has it? Just pushed up the cost of energy.
p.s. WTO rules would probably block tariffs on China anyway.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

There is a big strategic problem here. No steel industry = no manufacturing. It is the cornerstone. The Chinese are dumping steel for a reason, it is allowing them to hollow out Western industrial capacity. What we should be doing is erecting massive tariff barriers. In fact the EU commission would like to so exactly that, but our own treacherous government has its collective tongue lodged so firmly up the Chinese fundament they have been blocking the necessary measures for the last 3 years.

If they can save banks they can fucking well do the same for what is left of our industry. Otherwise a sharecropper future beckons.