Archive for the ‘government incentives’ Category

Is the UK in danger of adopting a ‘Groucho Marx position’ on European Membership?

Groucho Marx

If one thinks of ‘Groucho’ and ‘Marx’ as discrete words, one conjours-up images like stubborn, dyed in the wool, small-thinking, petite bourgeoisie¬†socialism and yes, even bolshy ’70s-style shop stewards and union members!

What Groucho Marx actually said was much more witty: “I would never join a club that would have me as a member!” ūüôā

Is it ‘I’m alright Jack’ or ‘jobs for the boys’ that is really at stake?

Being fed on a diet of plenty to the point of being sick may never satisfy the truly (in)dependent addict – only exploding will suffice!

Are we being sucked-in by a Bolshevick-inspired Kafkaesque¬†socialist movement having a seemlingly-relentless, verging-on-chronic need for administration and togetherness, brought on by the strength of the ‘union of togetherness’? Together we’re strong

Or are we being seduced by other factions? The author remembers that it’s not just governments that recruit foreign labour – it’s employers!

UK and Europe: who is the fat man, who is in danger of becoming the thin man and who is the sick man in danger of exploding?

 

This idea was depicted humerously in Monty Python’s exploding fat man being offered a further desert; “go on sir, just one more mint!” Warning: those of a delicate disposition should look away as this satire can still shock even today!

European Membership Stay or Leave Opinion: are we the straw that broke the camels back or are we more like a house of straw if we go it alone?

Will producing finer steel for example help us produce sharper tools?

No. We’re on our own if we decide to leave on account of the edicts laws and machinations emenating from Brussels. We’re more vulnerable to hostile trade deals and market pricing as hundreds and even thousands of jobs in the regions can depend upon events beyond one nation’s control as illustrated in today’s headlines threatening jobs at TATA in Port Talbot:¬†China’s steel prices. Future trade wars cannot be ruled out.

If the City of London comes on hard times as will occur sooner or later in our global boom-bust economy, will our diversified but under-invested UK provincial manufacturing base be able to sustain us? Will we still be able to dig ourselves back out of recession as we did in the early ’80s without a substantial manufacturing base?

As Donald Trump said about abortion: will the regions be ‘punished’ either way as a consequence of poor centralised strategic decision making – either by London or from Brussels?

Will Scotland leave the UK in order to re-negotiate its European membership as a sovereign state if we vote to leave?

Will the provinces e.g. Yorkshire and the Regions wish to follow suit as the City hardly re-invests in the regions nowadays – unlike Europe with it’s Regional Development Funding? Even this regional fuding allocation is still run by the ‘old boys club’ and for the benefit of ‘jobs for the boys’ which is tolerated unfortunately however – and they’re not going to give up without a fight. Remember the QUANGOs like the bloated Yorkshire Forward which the previous administration made their election pledge to dismantle? It still goes on and Europe appears riddled with it as a Spaniard recently related to me. But that’s the point: that culture would not change if we left the EU – it would just get worse! If a reformed Europe were able to stamp-out all the low-level corruption, it would certainly be worth remaining in it to help it to bring about the changes sought.

Those with long memories may remember the post-war austerity of the 1950s where we had to make and export to the US in order to earn money to pay our way. No fat men or international trade dealing existed back then.. well, not as we know them today.

Nein, Non, No!

We’ve also been referred to as the “Insel Affen” (Island of the Planet of the Apes – loosely translated). In terms of meaning, one could describe us in the UK as being like the Ferengi citizens as reluctant and rather selfish trading members of the Federation of Planets in Star Trek!

Europe is as much a cultural union as it is a trading union!

Ferengi Citizen

Are our financial services also destined go the way of Steam?

There are large changes in the pipeline: will the City of London be left high and dry?

Will we abandon Europe at the worst possible moment as it abandons it’s out-moded primary operating culture from centralised finance directly into distributed production?

You may also remember that in Star Trek, the need for money had been abandoned in favour of personal development, discovery and altruism, as their economy of plenty had liberated them out from a world of financial enslavement. Financial services are changing now with the introduction of automated AI trading systems and the future of employment in the City is also being called into question. As a further example of technical developments; the future role of medical doctors is also brought into question with the advent of artificial intelligence AI in our IT systems where we are diagnosed for illness by virtual doctors on-screen and plugged in for our personal MOT health checks rather like modern cars.

It would therefore be most unwise to walk away from a seat at the top table¬†of the wealthiest diverse trading block and market on Earth – regardless of your ‘Groucho’ or ‘Karl‘ interpretation of Messrs. Marx!

Note: don’t we already have the best of both worlds – as in having your cake and eating it?

By retaining both our own currency and European membership, are we not already at liberty to trade with whomever we wish? Brazil, Russia, India and China BRIC included?

Nick

 

PS: EU Referendum Postal Poll Cards are in the post to registered voters – ours arrived today – make sure you have your say by making sure you’re registered on the voting list!¬†

Angels led by Donkeys:¬†is plug-in¬†hybrid vehicle performance still presenting a ‘race to the bottom’ for todays’ drivers in terms of enjoyment?

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid: although finally a step in the right direction and despite powered and energy-recovery flywheel hybrid IC engine developments led by 2014-5 Formula One motor racing, the driving feel remains remote and the driving experience cold and clinical.

Crankshaft

The author has been developing an alternative hybrid driving system that offers improved feel and enjoyment 

Brief history: a¬†petrol-head’s¬†guide

The race for alternative fuels

1990s: following on from fuel price-hikes from the previous decade, alternative fuels began to be explored with bio-fuels and LPG being pioneered as alternative dual-fuel options where¬†your car boot was effectively sacrificed to carry the¬†LPG in bulky pressurized cylinders above the fuel tank and spare tyre. Hybrid cars were also introduced, but they flopped as their battery technology was too heavy and expensive. It has been reported¬†that GM’s EV-1 “was killed off by the oil and gas industry”, such was the culture of resistance to change in the industry and consumers at the time.

With the Diesel-fuelled internal combustion engine, inroads were made into the area of automotive fuel economy with Diesel fuel becoming available on the forecourts for car-drivers who were offered fuel tax-incentives to encourage them to buy cars with Diesel engines. Trucks had been using the more economical Diesel fuel for decades which helped open-up the US economy in the 1960s.

2000s: Diesel won the battle for the fuel of choice with fuel tax incentives continuing to be offered at the pumps by government. The turbo-Diesel offered performance gains over the sluggish normally-aspirated¬†Diesel but it still didn’t compare with the petrol engine for¬†performance.¬†It has been said¬†that we were duped into buying into Diesel technology because it was still inferior to the direct response offered by petrol engines. The Diesel engine along with the hybrid-powered vehicles¬†were heavy and sluggish, requiring a ‘feather-touch’ accelerator action to bring any substantial efficiency gains. The Toyota Prius was reportedly awful in terms of performance feel¬†and economy¬†also but it did make a courageous first step to change an industry that was¬†heavily-entrenched¬†in and around the¬†conventional petrol-fuelled¬†internal combustion¬†engine.

2010s: the bi turbo-Diesel offered a more lively feel and mid-range acceleration, overcoming ‘turbo-lag’.

Audi were the early pioneers of the bi-turbo Diesel technology with the other major manufacturers following suit.

Improvements in battery technology also led to the hybrid becoming replaced by the plug-in hybrids with Prius’ getting retrofits.

After we’d made the switch to Diesel, the fuel tax-incentive of diesel over petrol was phased out leaving a question-mark hanging the environmental advantages of Diesels with their high particulate emissions.

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