back to article Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan

In an unprecedented year for the world, it might be easy to forget that, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, other unprecedented things are still happening. Yes, the UK’s favourite portmanteau, Brexit, is coming back to blight Britain. News hit the streets this week that the chances of a deal with the EU are …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    State Aid????

    The EU and Trump won't like that one little bit. Remember folks that there is a 25% duty on Scottish Single Malt Whisky when it is imported into the USA. This is in retaliation for EU State Aid given to Airbus and at the same time ignoring the huge amounts given to Boeing for the same thing but that's life ain't it!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: State Aid????

      You think that the duty on Scotch will vanish on January 1st? I'd love a full glass of Talisker (icon).

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Re: State Aid????

        The Income Tax act in Canada was introduced as a "temporary" measure to finance the debt from WW1. It's still in effect today.

        Politicians and heroin users have the same motivation. Except politicians need a never ending supply of your money.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: State Aid????

          Income Tax in the UK is still an "emergency" measure to finance the debts of the Napoleonic war. The enabling legislation was so sure that it'd be going soon it was written with a sunset clause forcing it to expire every year unless renewed.

          Hence why we have a budget each year authorising the taxation. :/

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: State Aid????

      That's also the WTO which Boris said the UK will use for EU trade if (when) there's a no deal Brexit.

      How's that supposed to work out?

      1. Bonzo_red

        Re: State Aid????

        Well since the US has hamstrung the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism, the rules are there to be broken.

      2. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: State Aid????

        Shirley ‘unfettered state aid’ will lead to punitive WTO sanctions. That’s exactly what the US, EU, UK rail against China for doing.

        D’oh.

      3. NerryTutkins

        Re: State Aid????

        The UK won't be a rule taker, it will be a rule maker.

        So it does seem rather curious how enthusiastic the brexitters are about WTO rules. I can only assume they are unaware of who makes the World Trade Organization rules, and assume it is... Britain.

        But presumably when they find out its a group of foreigners, even some quite dark ones, toys will come out of prams, and there will be further foamy mouthed brexitter statements that we're going to break WTO rules whenever it suits us, and that nobody will object for fear of not being able to trade with us.

        1. fajensen Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: State Aid????

          The British Army's 77'th Brigade will no doubt work out a cunning device to make the Brexiteers see enlightenment and blame the EU, the Germans and Angela Merkel for demanding their humiliation by the WTO. Or Something!

          The UK won't be a rule taker, it will be a rule maker.

          It is clear that the Brexieers have this idea that when Great Britain makes rules, those rules shall not be limited by the borders they also need to have 'Cause Sovrinty' (in practice to have juristiction where the UK rules apply and to keep the darkies out)

          I.O.W. The UK wants the EU to follow their rules and they don't want to follow any of the EU's rules -> It is all about Restoring the Empire without doing any of the work!

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: State Aid????

      I, for one, fully support the US import duty on Scottish single malt whisky.

      In fact I'd like an equivalent Scottish 25% export duty on Scottish single malt whisky. Too much of it is leaving our shores, never to be seen again. Let them drink bourbon. (American whiskey is vodka mixed with flat Pepsi)

      It really annoyed me when I found cheaper Scottish single malt whisky in the Netherlands. They already had decriminalised cannabis!

      There was a two month drought of decent, cheap Islay malt recently in Scotland. We endured. Just in the past week Lidl and Aldi have been restocking it for £16.49, a pound cheaper than it was, and only £2.49 dearer than the crappiest stuff.

      1. cycl0ps

        Re: State Aid????

        Look on the bright side: the UK is the only democracy practising tantrum diplomacy - a world first

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: State Aid????

          Is that because you don't consider the USA to be a democracy?

          1. james 68

            Re: State Aid????

            Well it's not. It's a republic. A (supposedly) democratic republic I grant you, but a republic all the same.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: State Aid????

              "Republic" refers to the socio-political power ideology, ie where the power is vested. It says nothing about the source of that power, ie whether it is a democracy, oligarchy or autocracy.

              You can have a democratic monarchy, an autocratic republic, and anything in between.

              The US is clearly a presidential republic with representative democracy. Saying USA is a republic not a democracy is something low intellect GOP sycophants say because their "enemies" are the Democrats and they don't want to associate with things with "democrat" in their name, but its factually a non sequitur.

              It's like saying "That dog is not male, it's brown!".

              1. P. Lee Silver badge

                Re: State Aid????

                Actually I think the "republic not democracy" thing is based around the fact that the "democratic' part is limited by the constitution.

                Essentially, the US government is supposed to behave as the founders intended. The government does not have unlimited power based on a merely popular mandate.

                This is why in Victoria, Australia, for example, the government can suspend your rights and freedoms - you aren't protected by the constitution, whereas the US constitution limits what the government can do.

                While it is true that the US constitution can be changed, getting 51% of the vote (i.e. a democratic majority) is not enough. Likewise, the electoral college ensures power is shared between the states of the republic, rather than merely letting the big cities outvote everyone else.

                The implication is that there is some moral good in the constitution which should be preserved against the temporary whim (or manipulation) of the people.

                1. Bbuckley

                  Re: State Aid????

                  Except that the temporary whim is not of the people but of the politicians. I think the founders intended the right thing.

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: State Aid????

                That dog is not male, it's brown!

                Oh no he's not - he's black, tan and white!

                (The other dog used to be a sort of caramel brown - he's more white and grey now).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: State Aid????

                  You're bringing back the Black and Tans now?

      2. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: State Aid????

        Is that not more related to UK alcohol duty... and to a lesser extent minimum alcohol pricing (in Scotland).

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: State Aid????

          There are 28 units (a unit = 10ml of ethanol) of alcohol in a bottle of 40% abv whisky, and the minimum price per unit is 50p. So, the cheapest stuff is 700ml x 40% / 10ml x 50p = £14

          And a pint of heavy please --->

      3. Bbuckley

        Re: State Aid????

        Yep. That would be 'real politik' in action.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: State Aid? Trump??!

      Look, using Trump as a scapegoat, plus as a comparative to an idiot (the idiot gets the short end of the stick here) is getting a bit tired: we're (most Amerikuns) are trying to get rid of the damn fool as fast as we possibly can. But the incredibly entitled, selfish, worst part of America keeps wanting inbred fools like Trump, because they think it serves their purposes whilst they get destroyed by the very powers that they think they control.

      If you could, promote a better world by helping us flush that jerk down the toilet like the piece of human waste that he so best represents. Please. We need every bit of help we can get - social constipation is a horrible thing.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: State Aid? Trump??!

        " But the incredibly entitled, selfish, worst part of America keeps wanting inbred fools like Trump, because they think it serves their purposes whilst they get destroyed by the very powers that they think they control."

        Brexit in a nutshell. As a UKian, one sympathises.

      2. FeepingCreature

        Re: State Aid? Trump??!

        "incredibly entitled, selfish worst part of America"

        Trump's election promise: "if you vote Trump, your country will get somewhat worse, but the people who call you those things will be really really mad."

        To be honest, I'd do it too.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: State Aid? Trump??!

          Up there with "Hate Pakistanis? Then vote to leave the Eu"

          1. Evil_Goblin

            Re: State Aid? Trump??!

            Close, Farage/Bank's infamous campaign was "If you hate Turks then vote Leave"

            1. cycl0ps

              Re: State Aid? Trump??!

              Isn't Bojo 1/4 Turkish. His real name is Alexander Kemal. Great grandaddy was a Turkish politician who got hung by disaffected countrymen from a lamp post in Istanbul. Will history repeat itself? His grandfather sought asylum in the UK. Wait - a great grandson of a muslim refugee asylum seeker. Why didn't anyone inform Priti Patel.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: State Aid? Trump??!

                "Why didn't anyone inform Priti Patel."

                IIRC Priti Patel campaigned for Brexit with a promise to replace "unentitled" EU national immigrants with "Empire entitled" ones from the Indian subcontinent.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: State Aid? Trump??!

        "we're (most Amerikuns) are trying to get rid of the damn fool as fast as we possibly can."

        62,984,828 voted for Trump in 2016. 65,853,514 voted for Clinton. Turnout was, ahem, 55.7%. So, in fact, apathy won by a landslide. In a three-way contest between Trump, Biden, and Meh, a plurality of Americans will, I am sure of it opt for Meh in November.

        (The UK isn't exactly in a position to crow, of course, with turnout at about two-thirds.)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: State Aid? Trump??!

          "Meh 2020" sounds like a viable candidate

          If only the founders of the country had thought to give rights to the individual states instead of an all-powerful president

        2. First Light Bronze badge

          Re: State Aid? Trump??!

          I strongly suspect the turnout will be much higher this time around. I certainly hope so.

          1. Bonzo_red

            Re: State Aid? Trump??!

            "Vote early, vote often" as the saying goes. Thinking about it, that could be Trump's next slogan.

      4. Bbuckley

        Re: State Aid? Trump??!

        Unfortunately, due to your 2-party system you will replace "inbred fools like Trump" with "inbred fools like Biden"

  2. Robert Grant Silver badge

    China, of course, appears to give an affirmative answer to that question, with state oil and gas firm Petrochina beating Apple to hit the golden $1 trillion in 2007

    I'm not sure it's the state aid that got you there when you can just dig free money out of the ground.

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Meh

    The next U-Turn?

    No point in worrying about this, the Tories have got Brexit done so what's going to happen is a complete mystery now, they have been promising that the UK will profit from Brexit and the economy will boom - oh wait, they U-Turn on all their promises don't they? They have not promised yet that industrial and vehicle pollution will drop tremendously yet - I expect that will be the next promise on January 1st.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The next U-Turn?

      actually that last one is plausible - both those things are fairly well correlated to economic output and that is likely to drop precipitously...

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        It pretty much did in March and is now starting to climb back but still well down.

        Covid has just added a whole (hole?) new dimension to everything, not just the UK stance on Brexit but the economic situation globally.

        It works both ways, Covid can be blamed for the failure of Brexit and if things go better than expected then the Government will be honking on about how good a job they have done, even though most of the stimulus will have been from Covid revovery.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The next U-Turn?

      BoJo will take us out without a deal then he'll quit as PM and then leave Parliament knowing that his job is done. What Job?

      Make us a 4th world country in 5 years. His boss Trump will be leaving office on 20th Jan. A good day for BoJo to quit and he'll be off to the land of his birth (the USA) before you can blink an eye.

      At least I can hold my head up and say that I didn't vote for this clown's party. Sad that the only alternative was Corbyn.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        BoJo will take us out without a deal then he'll quit as PM and then leave Parliament

        ...to Edit "The Evening Standard" for his chum Evgeny Lebedev, whom he ennobled recently.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        "BoJo will take us out without a deal then he'll quit as PM"

        Well, be did get voted in on the promise to "get Brexit done", so I guess crashing out, breaking the country, and making it a global laughing stock is technically getting Brexit done...even if it's about as useful as tidying the garden by flamethrowing it...

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: The next U-Turn?

          Let Brexit happen (with no deals) by doing nothing, is not quite "get Brexit done".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        "His boss Trump will be leaving office on 20th Jan. "

        Their boss in Moscow will attempt to engineer them a continuation of their positions as useful idiots.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The next U-Turn?

      Regardless the EU have a legal responsibility to negotiate a trade agreement with the state leaving the EU. Good to see this is getting zero press as usual.

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        Regardless the EU have a legal responsibility to negotiate a trade agreement with the state leaving the EU. Good to see this is getting zero press as usual.

        It takes two to tango.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        Why re-negotiate a trade agreement when it's obvious that any agreement will need to be re-negotiated because the other party does not respect any agreement that they sign?

      3. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        So Britain is taking the EU to the Court of Justice over this?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        Well they are trying. The EU says that if we want the same trading relationship (zero tarrifs, etc.) then we need to follow the same rules on, e.g. product safety, not screwing over workers, destroying the environment or using government funds to prop up otherwise unprofitable businesses. It's up to the UK, whether we are willing to accept that.

        If the Torys do want the freedom to reduce safety standards, screw workers, screw the environment and thow money at failing businesses (presumably those run by themselves or their mates), then they have to accept that the EU will want to protect it's remaining members from shoddy products produced in sweat-shops with no regard to the environment and subsidised by the government.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: The next U-Turn?

          "Well they are trying. The EU says that if we want the same trading relationship (zero tarrifs, etc.) then we need to follow the same rules on, e.g. product safety, not screwing over workers, destroying the environment or using government funds to prop up otherwise unprofitable businesses. It's up to the UK, whether we are willing to accept that."

          As is absolutely clear, what the negotiations are is as follows:

          "You must follow our rules if you want complete access to the single market."

          "We won't follow your rules. So can we move on and talk about what we can agree on?"

          "No, we will sit here until you agree to follow our rules."

          Barnier himself has stated that that is the EU position. Concurrent negotiations means that until the UK agrees to the EU position on fisheries, they won't talk about anything else at all. The UK is negotiating badly, but there is blame on both sides.

          1. cycl0ps

            Re: The next U-Turn?

            You, rather laughingly assume that this is a negotiation of equals. As the actress said to the bishop: darling size does matter...

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: The next U-Turn?

            "We won't follow your rules. So can we move on and talk about what we can agree on?"

            That's the crux of the matter - we wont agree to adhere to the basic tenets of the EU and think we can somehow acquire all the benefits without actually either paying for any of them, or committing to keeping to the conditions that every other country in the EU ( and EEA) have agreed to. SO on one hand you have a group of adults saying that these are the basics of a negotiation, please stop running around with your fingers in your ears going "la la la", and on the other hand we have a bunch of delinquent toddlers demanding everything NOW.

            Fisheries? Why is that even vaguely relevant? Les than 0.1% of our GDP, and we sold our fishing quotas to other EU countries years ago. Its been whipped up to some kind of nationally vital edifice by the likes of "give me the money" Farage and his brexit party wannabes, and our spineless government just agree.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "EU will want to protect it's..members from shoddy products produced in sweat-shops"

          Funny how that works is it not?

          Whoever could have predicted such a stance?

      5. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The next U-Turn?

        "the EU have a legal responsibility to negotiate a trade agreement".

        I suppose you are fooling yourself to believe that to happen on British terms too.

        1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: The next U-Turn?

          "the EU have a legal responsibility to negotiate a trade agreement".

          This is nonsense. Negotiation is a process. It requires both parties to reach a compromise, but you can't require both parties to reach an agreement if their positions are so far apart that no compromise is possible. e.g.

          "Let me sleep with you"

          "Bugger off"

          How is that going to end - a compromise where the first party can sleep with the second one, but only on Thursdays?

  4. batfink Silver badge

    Well it's kind of a good idea but...

    While I think that the idea of the state supporting the development of home-grown industries is a fine one in theory, I can see several objections:

    1. How do we stop the money just going to Dom's mates/Tory donors/Boris's latest girlfriend?

    2. How do we pick the winners?

    3. This will kill any idea of a free trade deal with the EU as, well, they're pretty hot on making sure nobody gains an advantage from State Aid. I suspect the US won't like it either.

    4. Shock! Horror! This is Socialism! How will we get that past (a) the Tory Party rump and (b) the rightwing press?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      This will kill any idea of a free trade deal with the EU as, well, they're pretty hot on making sure nobody gains an advantage from State Aid. I suspect the US won't like it either.

      While both, meanwhile, give all the state aid they can under the table. Boeing, Airbus, etc.

      1. Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        Absolutely, it's a bit like Aziraphale in Good Omens talking about Heaven's view of guns. "Evil in the wrong hands, but give weight to a moral argument in the right hands" (not quite word for word). Giving aid to your own is "encouraging innovation and growth" but when another government does so it is "stifling competition and providing an unfair competitive advantage". Go figure.

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          UK, Canada, EU, Oz/NZ etc - state aid good

          China - state aid bad.

        2. rd232

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          It's one of those transitive verbs (a la Sir Humphrey):

          I provide government support

          You intervene in the market

          They use illegal state aid...

    2. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      #1 is the key thing for me.

      Never in my living memory have I known such a transparently corrupt shower of shit be in charge.

      We have racist dog whistlers barking at the migrant boats crossing the channel like a little dog yapping at the postman. Meanwhile our "owners" are warming their feet on the open fire of taxpayer money.

      Tens (hundreds?) of millions are siphoned off to the incumbent's friends and associates, PPE contracts going to party donors for equipment that had expired. To ferry companies without ships.

      Lets not beat around the bush. This is unashamedly a cash grab. How much can they milk from us (oh, but not *their* friends) before the next election.

      I hope I am proved wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        They will milk it till the cow runneth dry. Then the 4th industrial revolution will back to the work houses but this time there won't be any Unions to fight for better pay and conditions because they basically own the press.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      The answer to all of your questions is it's all about control.

      The former Brexit secretary David Davis said: “I would be inclined to repudiate large parts of the withdrawal agreement, because they were agreed on the basis that there would be a trade deal.” He argued that should include ripping up the financial settlement if no trade deal is reached. But Davis questioned the prime minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings’ focus on securing control over state aid, something No 10 is keen to use to build up the UK’s tech industry, calling it “intrinsically un-conservative”.

      There's this industry, it's undoubtedly the future, but it's not under Cummings' thumb. He's a control freak and can't stand that. He needs to be able to shower the right people in the IT industry with money to get that control.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        Since Cummings' job advert for arse-lickers, sorry, fellow SPADs, in his blog back in January demonstrated his technical understanding so well, via his description of SQL as an "analytical language", I am quite sure he has the skill to pick the next big tech success.

        Or maybe not.

      2. cyberdemon
        Devil

        Wormtongue Re: Transparently corrupt shower of shit

        Dominic Cummings makes me think of LOTR's Wormtongue.. He is effectively King, from the shadows. The government does everything that he says, which normally means "give more power to Dom".

        This whole thing stinks. "We" want to leave the EU so that we can act like a paraiah state, with more corruption than Zimbabwe, meanwhile the people who arranged the thing (Dom & Mates, Rees-Mogg & Cronies) get all the power & riches they desire. Nobody told us that "take back control" means "hand the country on a silver platter to the Tory brexiteers" (note: NOT the Labour brexiteers, they are the ones who have fallen for the lies and will suffer the most - see: Sunderland) so the 1% can pillage the country for all it's worth, sell it to China and piss off with the profits.

        After a vote that could not have been more divided if it tried, the outcome was (very roughly) as follows:

        • Tory Brexiteers: 10%: New kings in control, the country now belongs to them
        • Tory Remainers: 10%: Purged from government by the brexiteers. Forgotten by history.
        • Lib Dems: 10%: Crying into their beer after everyone ignored them. Forgotten by history.
        • Labour Remainers: 12%: Tearing their hair out as the country goes to the dogs. Forgotten by history.
        • Labour Brexiteers: 30%: Hoodwinked by a bus, doomed to suffer the harshest implications of Brexit.
        • Abstentions: 28%: Forgotten by history before they even made their mind up, the idiots who could have saved us

        And then the twats have the gall to say "The people have spoken" when in reality, nobody could agree on anything and the outcome was weighted very slightly in favour of "let's give all the power to the richest 10% of the country who proposed this thing in the first place, so they can do whatever the f*ck they like with the UK".

        Meanwhile Putin's Russia, who may well have been lending the tory brexiteers some support, are happiest of all, having successfully destabilised Europe just that little bit more.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "nobody told us that"..."hand the country on a silver platter to the Tory brexiteers"

          WTF did you think those very rich people where bankrolling something that every economist agreed (with exactly 1 exception) would leave the UK worse off X years down the line than it would be inside the EU. Yes you'd be poorer, but they wouldn't. .

          BTW Economists are notorious for not agreeing about anything.

          Banjos are for playing.

          That's what makes them banjos. Time for the conductor to play them once again.

    4. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      2. How do we pick the winners?

      Simples. They are the ones that don't need state aid.

      If you have an obvious winner, then you don't need state aid, because getting investment is easy.

      It is only failing companies, like British Shipbuilders, British Leyland etc, or ones that provide a public service at below cost - like the BBC, public transport, NHS, public libraries etc - that need state aid.

      1. sandman

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        Ah, so just about anything that starts with the word "British"!

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        There's also the argument that certain industries have high start-up costs because they need massive infrastructure investments. Things such as large-scale manufacturing of commodities like steel, mining, bulk chemical refining and processing, stuff like that. Not anything IT-related, which at best needs data centres.

        1. Jon 37

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          And even data centres are no longer needed, thanks to cloud computing. You can try your idea, with your computing costs scaling with your popularity. If it works, and you get big, then you can move to the cheaper option of buying your own servers and eventually buying your own datacenters.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

            Well yes indeed. The places where investment would actually make a difference are the places where Thatcher pumped money into in the '80s (without falling foul of state aid rules might I add) - education in science and technology and tax breaks for tech start-ups. That got us ahead in the game before we decided to squander it in the '90s. Some of the same people who were in charge then still have influence in policy-making today.

            Of course, to properly invest in tech, you need to properly invest in education, which means also properly tackling social inequality, so that the next generation of child-wonders aren't hamstrung by not having been sent to Eton. That sort of thing really does sound like socialism, and the Current Lot will have nothing to do with it.

            Doomed to fail from the outset, and just more swill for the usual snouts at the trough...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

              "to properly invest in tech, you need to properly invest in education"

              In the early 20th century the English education system was deemed to be lacking in producing skills like engineering. A system was established of Junior Technical Schools (JTS). Contrary to some popular opinion - many of these selected the brightest 13 year old kids who also had an indication of aptitude in problem solving. Few were unemployed after they left school at 15 - being valued for apprenticeships in engineering as well as plumbers, electricians etc. The JTS were chronically underfunded - and forbidden by law from teaching anything which the more prestigious Grammar Schools considered their subjects eg foreign languages.

              The Grammar Schools were turning out most pupils at 15 with an education in Greek and Latin - but little science. Most leavers were competing in the unemployment pool for the menial clerical jobs prior to electronic computers.

              Anyone who didn't go to a JTS or Grammar school started work at 13 - or if they were bright possibly 12.

              After 1944 the school leaving age was raised to 15 with the Secondary education system being split into three branches. The majority of pupils went to the basic Secondary Modern Schools. The Grammar Schools continued as before. The JTS became Secondary Technical Schools (STS) with the task of producing engineers, technical managers, and scientists. They also had the academic 11+ entry selection and university aspirations - but had industry trained engineers and scientists as teachers instead of the Grammar Schools' Greek/Latin. The STS also had a high investment in workshop and laboratory equipment.

              Within 20 years the expense of running the STS led to them being merged with Grammar Schools - and eventually all together with the Secondary Moderns as comprehensives.

              Fast forward a few decades and the cry went up for more secondary education in science and technology. In theory creating specialist schools - usually too big to function effectively with all pupils now having to stay until 16..

              After a few more decades the cry went up that secondary education needed STEM - to produce engineers, scientists, and IT people. Pupils were now being required to stay in school until 18.

              About time now for someone to call for the education system to produce engineers etc....

          2. Jan 0 Silver badge

            Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

            > And even data centres are no longer needed,

            Errm, remind me where the cloud resides?

            1. Bela Lubkin

              Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

              > Errm, remind me where the cloud resides?

              In *somebody else's* gigantic operational & maintenance hassle.

            2. Jon 37

              Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

              The context was talking about state aid to cover the costs of starting or scaling a business.

              A start-up that needs a lot of computers does not need state aid to cover the capital cost of building their own datacenter to cope with predicted peak load. Instead, they can rent computers belonging to Amazon/MS/Google that live in datacenters that Amazon/MS/Google already built, and they can use a pay-as-you-go model that allows their costs to scale with their usage.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        Dont forget the City of London - the taxpayer has spent more baling out that shower of financial wizards than we ever did on Coal and Rail combined.

        1. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          "Dont forget the City of London"

          I assume you mean banks in general - £850 billion so far on propping up banks since 2008 alone.

    5. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      Don't worry about Boris' latest girlfriend. Even paying £100,000 to a pole dancer every day isn't even one pound per year per tax payer. Cummings is much more effect at destroying taxpayers' money.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        >Even paying £100,000 to a pole dancer every day

        So if Scargill wanted the pits to stay open all he needed to do is put on a pair of tassles and turn up at Number 10 ?

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          Mind bleach, please!

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          >> Scargill poll dancer

          No, but may be as a stripper.

          Remember it was Maggie.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          would that be strip mining ?

    6. cycl0ps

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      Quote from today's FT:

      Kim Darroch, Britain’s former ambassador in Brussels and Washington, recalls how Treasury officials working for the Thatcher government in the 1980s designed the EU state aid rules precisely to foster fair competition and to stop other European countries engaging in a subsidy race....

    7. Yes Me Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      Harold Wilson thought it was a good idea, too. Didn't work then (1964), won't work now.

    8. cyberdemon
      Holmes

      Universities Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      In the old days, the state used to give this kind of money to the Universities..

      The idea was, apparently, that funding UK universities will foster the brightest graduates and help them gain funding for tech start-ups (which usually have university or government grant funding in the first instance)

      But of course, any new graduates are not Dom's Mates. And universities produce Students, you know, those pesky brats who like to protest about government corruption and all that.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Universities Well it's kind of a good idea but...

        Universities now are mostly businesses engaged in turning out as many graduates as they. This is a direct result of Blair's proclamation that 50% of school leaver's should to to to University. Strangely this has reduced the overall quality of degree courses, the value they have to industry and given a generation a sense of entitlement that because they have a degree, life somehow owes then a £50k job.

        The debacle with fees and removal of caps on student numbers has made it a competition to ensure that institutions are financially viable. If the Student Union have their way it will get even worse as all the cheap to deliver courses will not be able to cross-subsidise the expensive courses that are actually useful to businesses. This will further diminish the numbers that are doing degrees that industry wants.

        The only exception will be the machine that churns out generic Business Studies graduates that appear to be employed regardless if any ability.

        I am not saying that degrees in English, Arts, Literature, Media and the ever-increasing range of "soft degrees" etc have no value, they do BUT not in the numbers (and resulting low quality) that are produced.

        1. cyberdemon

          Re: Universities Well it's kind of a good idea but...

          I agree with you - but why are the government not funding more of the expensive science & engineering courses? What about funding actual scientific research?? Oops, we just blew the government budget for the next 100 years thanks to Hancock and Sunak. So we can forget about any kind of government subsidies to replace the funding lost under EU grants such as Horizon 2020 (never has that name been more apt)

          I studied Cybernetics at Reading just before they closed the whole school, because it was deemed too expensive to run, when compared to a Humanities department where the students simply read books, mark eachother's work and rarely even need lecturing.

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: Universities Well it's kind of a good idea but...

            Funding committee...

            So, the physics dept. want $100m for this super zappotron thingy. Seems pricey. Why can't they just be like the maths dept.? They only use pencils, paper and waste-paper baskets. Or, even better, the philosophy dept? They only use pencils and paper.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Universities Well it's kind of a good idea but...

              philosophy dept? They only use pencils and paper

              and mind-altering drugs.. but then they supply those themselves so it's OK..

    9. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

      3. This will kill any idea of a free trade deal with the EU as, well, they're pretty hot on making sure nobody gains an advantage from State Aid. I suspect the US won't like it either.

      4. Shock! Horror! This is Socialism! How will we get that past (a) the Tory Party rump and (b) the rightwing press?

      Fund the share price, not the company's bottom line. The cabinet and the fool cummings, have negative tech knowledge so they don't understand the long-term business anyway : they merely want to grow the share price and reward the shareholders.

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Not State Aid but Offshoring and Money Laundering

    Tories don't do State Aid, not really. UK doing about 1/2 the EU average. Most unlikely they really want to do any aid that would exceed EU rules, except they already had refused to implement Banking & Tax and Offshoring stuff even Switzerland has added to law. Particularly relating to IOM, Channel Is, Gibraltar and the transatlantic tax havens that are British Colonies, though renamed to Overseas Territories.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not State Aid but Offshoring and Money Laundering

      Tories don't do state aid for UK industry for pretty much the same reason that Holland doesn't subsidise its downhill skiing businesses

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not State Aid but Offshoring and Money Laundering

      Or maybe its about tariffs in times of Covid-19 - if you have a budget shortfall and you are the party of "low taxation" (hehe) an easy way to raise more money for the Treasury coffers without a headline raising of VAT or Income Tax is to charge tariffs on all imports - which people can't avoid paying if they want to eat - so no deal will guarantee a new stream of revenue - will hurt the exporters but c'est la vie

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Not State Aid but Offshoring and Money Laundering

        which people can't avoid paying if they want to eat

        Depends what you eat. If you eat locally-produced produce, don't throw perfectly good food away because you don't fany it and don't eat lots of foods out of season (like strawberries in February) then an import tax won't affect you too much.

  6. H in The Hague Silver badge

    Typing error in the article

    Cummings Johnson - and we have to assume his boss Johnson

    Cummings too"

    Quote in the FT, from a No 10 insider:

    "If you’d dropped in from Mars, you’d struggle to work out whether Cummings or Johnson was the prime minister"

    https://www.ft.com/content/aa53173b-eb39-4055-b112-0001c1f6de1b

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Typing error in the article

      Ack! Ack ack ack! Pew pew pew!

      Sorted.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Typing error in the article

      It's easy to tell the difference. In response to Covid19 one goes to hospital and the other goes to Durham and Barnard Castle.

    3. xyz

      Re: Typing error in the article

      "If you’d dropped in from Mars, you’d struggle to work out whether Cummings or Johnson was the prime minister"

      If you dropped in from Mars, you would be an illegal alien and the Priti Patel Welcoming Committee would have you by the balls... unless obviously you had an evil plan for world domination that Boris could get involved in.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Typing error in the article

        Do Martians have balls? Curious biologist would like to know.

  7. batfink Silver badge

    No track record in the tech industry?

    That's a bit unfair. He certainly seems to have a track record with Jennifer Arcuri....

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: No track record in the tech industry?

      came here to make the exact same comment :)

    2. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge

      Re: No track record in the tech industry?

      Was Cummings getting instruction from her as well?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No track record in the tech industry?

        > Was Cummings getting instruction from her as well?

        I suspect he just watched.

  8. Woodnag

    ARM?

    UK allowed Softbank (Japanese holding company) to buy ARM, so I'll take any statements about protection and generation of Great British Technology as propaganda pretending that Something is Being Done...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: ARM?

      Come Jan 1st they'll be made to give it back because WTBC.

    2. StrangerHereMyself

      Re: ARM?

      I wholeheartedly agree that the sale of ARM was a huge mistake which will upend the MCU world in the coming years.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: ARM?

        Founded by an Austrian and success due to a contract from a paternalistic BBC trying to educate the people - glad we stamped out that sort of thing

  9. vishal vashisht

    well maybe

    IF they stopped shipping out jobs to India or any other cheap offshore location then Britain may have a tech industry in 50 years time.

    Accenture, PWC, Serco, et al should be taxed a premium. Fine ship out the job BUT we're going to tax you the top up amount for EVERY employee. so if you THINK you're going to pay a £50k employee £10k in Eastern Europe or India, then we'll add £40k to your tax bill in a way that it can't be avoided.

    Make it EXPENSIVE to outsource and offshore and you'll see tech jobs brought back here and we won't all be working in sweatshops making clothes for the Chinese by 2050

    1. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: well maybe

      How do you tax a transaction happening in another country? Outside your jurisdiction, and ultimately none of your business?

      You cant. What you *can* do is put taxes on the end result as it comes into the country. Which is paid for by *UK* businesses/consumers.

      but moving a call centre to "Elbonia"? Where is the transaction the *UK* can tax? Any attempt to do so will result in reciprocal Taxes set up damaging our own industries.

      At what point is it moving (what you perceive to be) a UK job abroad, and not *importing* a foreign job from elsewhere. Look at Japanese car companies massively pulling out of the UK. Are *those* UK jobs? Or are they *Japanese* jobs that the companies no longer wish to outsource?

      What is good for the goose and all that.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: well maybe

        Well, for instance they could add it to corporation tax. Costs saved by outsourcing, and not invested by employing in this country, could be made to count as profit - a profit attracting a higher rate than other pre-tax profits made in the UK.

        Where there's a will and sime imagination, there's a way.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: corporation tax

          Tax people's income. Like share dividends or director's bonuses. Corporation tax is only paid by smaller single nation companies and encourages off shoring,

        2. Mike Pellatt

          Re: well maybe

          Make the tax system even more complicated than it already is.

          Great idea.

          Almost as good as needing 50,000 customs clerks.

  10. LucasNorth

    I'm just happy that we are taking back control of our borders, our money and our women

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      And our precious vital bodily fluids.

      Remember kids, drink only rainwater and grain alcohol!

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Vital!

        Gotta love that one!

      2. LucasNorth

        wow, I have been posting that all over the places for years and you are the only person who has ever got the Dr Strangelove reference! Most people think I am being serious hahaha

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          ...and that film was supposed to be a parody. Somebody had better tell Ripper Johnson.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >you are the only person who has ever got the Dr Strangelove reference!

          The TSA definitely do

          Entering the USA from Canada they ask if you have ever partaken of the Devilish Weed (which is legal in Canada) if you say yes they can deny you entry on moral grounds

          If you tell that no because it pollutes your precious bodily fluids and destroys the purity of your essence they let you in with no further questions.

          Or perhaps they thought I was being serious ....

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Or perhaps they thought I was being serious ....

            TSA <-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Sense of humour..

        3. teacake

          Really? I always assumed the acronym PoE stood for Purity of Essence, got very confused why it was relevant to powering access points and phones.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The Chance Brothers pick technology winners. *

    Are you f**king kidding me?

    The Classics & the Modern & Ancient History grads. WTF do they know about technology winners (other than telling targeted lies at the gullible through social media of course. Or rather finding someone to do it for them).

    *Thin and Fat

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The Chance Brothers pick technology winners. *

      Don't forget the PPE grads (Poilitics, Philosiphy and Economics) who become researched for MP's then MP's and then Ministers all without having a real job. Don't you just love them! Not!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to see...

    Can't wait to see the results of us ploughing our massive budget surpluses* into subsidies for our future national champions.

    ...said every chum of senior Conservative Party members.

    *This post may contain sarcasm

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait to see...

      There's not only the question of "picking the cronieswinners", but also a problem of scale: Apple's market cap is around 70% of the UK's entire GDP...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Can't wait to see...

        But £350M / week ......

        Anyway it should be easy for Britain to produce another Apple.

        You need a twat poser full of his own importance with no technical knowledge

        An under-appreciated genius engineer for him to rip off

        An art-school type, and Marillon front man impersonator, to make it look think(*) and sexy

        Also need a few 100,000 engineers, but I hear these are available cheap in the colonies these days

        * apologies for the typo - butterfly keyboard

        1. Dolvaran

          Re: Can't wait to see...

          Dyson then. My cousin was one of the under-appreciated engineers.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Dyson then. My cousin was one of the under-appreciated engineers."

            Oh yes. A big supporter of Brexit.

            Still is AFAIK, although he and the firm have f**ked off to Singapore in the meantime.

            I love "patriots" who love the UK so much they just don't actually want to be taxed there, or in fact live there either.

  13. Chris G Silver badge

    If the appointments of Martha Lane Fox and Dido Harding to IT positions of importance are examples of UK judgment in the IT industry, I hold out little hope thart no matter how many billions they throw out to their friends that any of it will result in a world class IT business.

    The smarts and skills, I am sure exist in Britain but the chance of the right people getting the right support is par with a lottery win.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      You mean Baroness Harding, aka Mrs John Penrose MP:

      Penrose sits on the advisory board of think tank '1828', which calls for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system and for Public Health England to be scrapped.

      Incidentally, Baroness H has just been promoted to be the chairperson for the National Institute for Health Protection, "a new body that will be formed as a result of the merging of Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace".

      I'm sure its totally above board.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: totally above board.

        Of course it is.

        John Penrose MP, aka Mr Baroness Harding, is the UK's anti-corruption champion

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    chances of a deal with the EU are beginning to ebb away

    ah, "chances of a deal", "beginning to ebb away", fine examples of those great British overstatements ("peace for our time", "a mild breeze up to 60 mph", etc.). There was NEVER a chance of a "deal", because we have ALWAYS insisted on a "deal" as in "We will have ALL we want and if you don't like it you can fuck off". So, the EU has fucked off and all they're doing now is making polite movements and conversations before getting up and leaving the table. As to Johnson and his pals, they'll be allright, non? Bitching all the time about how the EU has kicked us out, etc, etc. But hey, don't blame them, it's the will of the people so the people will keep paying for their choice.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: we'll have all we want and if you don't like it...

      Come on. Both sides go into a negotiation wanting everything and giving away nothing. It's naive to think otherwise, especially at state-level.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: we'll have all we want and if you don't like it...

        yes, certainly both side want to get everything and give away nothing. But those serious about getting a deal realize (hell, probably since before the start of civilization or even earlier) that the other side want exactly the same, so if both stick to their sticks, no deal. So, those that SERIOUSLY want a deal are prepared to compromise, i.e. give up something to get something. Clearly, UK side doesn't believe this a common-sense, reasonable approach. This would be pathetic in any circumstances, as you'd think we're grownups rather than kids screaming in a sandbox. But, to make this even more absurd, the UK kid is screaming against 27 others (or is it 26?), and they are frankly, well past bafflement, past amusement, they already lost interest. You want to play by yourself, against everybody? Shrug.

      2. teacake

        Re: we'll have all we want and if you don't like it...

        Both sides usually go into a negotiation with a clear set of objectives, and then *tell them to the other side*. The UK has spent most of its time arguing with itself about what it wants, and very little time setting out in clear terms to the EU what it proposes, while pretending it is some sort of poker game where the smart player doesn't reveal their hand.

        When the UK has put forward proposals, they amount to asking for a privileged relationship without any of the responsibilities such a position would require. Effectively, they are asking the EU to undermine its foundational principles, and the EU cannot agree without seriously - perhaps fatally - damaging the European project.

        Therefore, from the EU's point of view, the damage caused by agreeing to what the UK wants is greater than the damage of a no-deal departure, so it's clear where they will end up falling.

        Even a minimal deal will require the UK to agree to methods of rule-setting and dispute arbitration, and the more the UK makes itself look untrustworthy (by reneging on treaties, for example) the tighter those rule-setting constraints will be.

        The whole problem is compounded by the fact that - perhaps for the first time in history - the UK is going in attempting to negotiate a worse deal than it had before. Every time an offer comes up they realise how bad it is in comparison to the status quo ante and - instead of realising the reality of the situation they have deliberately placed themselves in - they attempt to defy that reality, blame everyone else, pretend there is a better deal to be had, pretend that compromises are not going to be necessary, until they paint themselves so far into a corner that the only way out is by breaking the law.

    2. Vasten_the_Barelegged

      Re: chances of a deal with the EU are beginning to ebb away

      > so the people will keep paying for their choice.

      Let them eat bits.

      1. Stripes the Dalmatian

        Re: chances of a deal with the EU are beginning to ebb away

        There was solid majority against any sort of Brexit for most of the four years after 2016's non-binding, inconclusive, and corrupted referendum.

        Strangely, our wonderful independent media (and spineless government mouthpiece, the BBC) failed to keep mentioning that every time some pompous twat insisted on claiming that Brexit was 'the will of the people'.

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: chances of a deal with the EU are beginning to ebb away

          ... spineless government mouthpiece, the BBC ...

          That same organisation which the government is busily trying to downsize so we can have our news from organisations owned by someone they like, you mean?

  15. codejunky Silver badge

    Its stupid

    Governments trying to pick winners is just terrible. For example the EU funds toward the Greek railway project that will never be sustainable. Or the money thrown at Poland to make oversized airports for nothingtowns. Maybe we can get a right wing (or really a more libertarian) party to vote for after brexit has finally been done.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2007949/The-Big-Fat-Greek-Gravy-Train-A-special-investigation-EU-funded-culture-greed-tax-evasion-scandalous-waste.html

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-airports-specialreport/special-report-eu-funds-help-poland-build-ghost-airports-idUSKBN0JS06K20141214

    1. Bogle
      Trollface

      Re: Its stupid

      Heh. There you go again.

    2. nsld

      Re: Its stupid

      The metro in Athens is excellent, and the majority of that Daily Mail article from 9 years ago is horseshit, especially the part about ticket validation, thats common in a lot of European countries.

      If you want poor value then the £400,000,000 spanked by President Cummings on the bankrupt satellite company is a good indicator of what your right wing government can waste, and thats before we get started on the billions in sub standard and often non existent PPE in contracts to Tory donors and Cummings mates.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Its stupid

        @nsld

        Heylookoverthere! You kinda missed the point that the waste went from EU level down to local level with politicians all the way down. As I said 'Governments trying to pick winners is just terrible.'

        "The metro in Athens is excellent, and the majority of that Daily Mail article from 9 years ago is horseshit"

        I have to take your word for it. Not many seem to want to discuss the cost/return on the project. This is a more recent one but misses figures-

        https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/All-the-news/Railways-in-Greece-poor-service-no-competition-199234

        1. cyberdemon
          Holmes

          Re: Its stupid

          Maybe in looking to the continent you picked a bad example. We have much better examples of obviously-corrupt gravy-train projects at home.

          Crossrail? HS2?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Its stupid

            @cyberdemon

            "Maybe in looking to the continent you picked a bad example."

            I intentionally looked across the continent as that is where we are comparing against (due to brexit). My position is politicians generally suck at this stuff. Doesnt matter if they are at local or supranational level.

          2. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

            Re: Its stupid

            Obviously corrupt?

            Crossrail and HS2?

            Would you care to provide evidence?

            Crossrail had a sound business case (which may now have fallen over thanks to everyone wfh). Finished the thing is proving burdensome, true, but that's not the same as obviously corrupt or gravy-train.

            HS2? Politically inspired, and possibly a bit of a white elephant (the new tracks, to separate out passenger and freight traffic are a sound idea, providing less delays and more robustness, the 'high speed' element is less obviously needed). Again, everyone wfh weakens the business case, but on the other hand, public-funded infrastructure projects are typically viewed as a sensible government strategy in times of recession, to provide employment (Construction being quite a significant employer in the UK).

            So where is this 'obvious' corruption?

  16. Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

    The idea that the government will effectively bankroll a trillion-dollar company begs many questions, the most pressing of them being...

    1. What's the idea that the rest of the world has missed (or implemented badly) so far, and what makes you think it's the big one? The idea comes first, and even if the idea is to copy somebody else's idea but do it better, it still comes first. You don't magic a trillion dollar business into existence just by flashing your cash like the guys at We Buy Any Car.

    2. How much access, and control, will unelected government lackeys have? I'd expect certain of them to have far too much influence at far too many levels for almost anybody's comfort (except their own, presumably) - and for that reason alone, any idea, even one with legs, won't fly. People with principles won't join or won't stay. People without them tend, in my experience, to be more blinkered - a major disadvantage when trying to build this unicorn of a company.

    In short, even if this is true, it's a totally garbage idea that simply wastes more money that we don't have. All to stroke one unelected government lackey's ego.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: What's the idea that the rest of the world...

      Success is partly having the money to start, marketing, hard work and luck.

      Not actually ideas.

      Intel didn't invent x64, AMD did. Or Transistors. They got lucky with the 8080 because CP/M (Digital Research). They started as a RAM maker.

      Apple didn't invent the MP3 player (iTunes & Marketing) or the Smart phone (Data plans & Marketing).

      MS didn't invent BASIC (Dartmouth College) or DOS (Digital Research) or Windows (Xerox) or C# (based on Java).

      Hovercraft, Concorde, Inmos Transputer, First electronic Computer. Also UK developed their own independent atomic weapons and space flight. The only country to develop either and give them up. US persuaded them to rent / buy from them.

      Maxwell, Faraday.

      The rot started actually before Thatcher, but she accelerated it. Being ONLY Services based and a Nation of Shopkeepers is not sustainable for a former Empire now a small island Nation. A lot of Empire wealth was asset stripping and exploitation. Ask Indians, Africans, Caribbean, China, Australia and Ireland.

      1. Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

        Re: What's the idea that the rest of the world...

        I think you've missed my point. Money is certainly required for an idea to be developed and to succeed, but it doesn't create the idea or pick an existing idea that has the potential to become the Next Big Thing. All the things you've mentioned - Hovercraft, Concorde, the Transputer, the first electronic computer - and all the products, were ideas that already existed that got funded to develop them. None of them came into being because somebody sat down one day with a massive pile of cash and thought "ooh, what shall I do with this then?"

        People do that. People who have skin in the game, know what they are talking about, can explain why something will work, how something can be developed, and sell that concept both to the people with the money they need, and to the potential customer base. DC's not a fan of independent thinkers and will want to be involved in every detail, thereby guaranteeing failure.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: All the things you've mentioned -

          Didn't make money for the UK. GCHQ suppressed UK Commercial Computing in 1945. Lyons was the first serious commercial computer user in the UK.

          UK computing, ICL?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What's the idea that the rest of the world...

        You missed TSR2. Killed by Harold Wilson shortly after the "white heat of technology" speech - exactly the same jingoistic hubris we get from Johnson (and, to be fair, most PMs and wannabes).

        1. CliveS
          Stop

          Re: What's the idea that the rest of the world...

          I'd leave TSR2 off the list. It wasn't just politics which killed it - though the forced merger of aircraft companies to create British Aircraft Corporation didn't help - defence procurement and an inability of the MoD to define its role and stick to that definition didn't help. Neither did issues with brittleness in the initial choice of alloy to be used in the airframe. There's an excellent book on the subject, available online

          https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documents/research/RAF-Historical-Society-Journals/Journal-17B-TSR2-with-Hindsight.pdf

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

      You'd need an idea with wings to make it fly!

      1. Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

        Re: Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

        Maybe. Give it legs and see how far it can walk ;-)

    3. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

      “ 1. What's the idea that the rest of the world has missed (or implemented badly) so far, and what makes you think it's the big one? The idea comes first, and even if the idea is to copy somebody else's idea but do it better, it still comes first”

      Fully agree with you up to there.

    4. Man inna barrel

      Re: Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

      By and large, I think government should not interfere with business, let alone subsidise it. There is a valid policing and regulatory role. Some businesses seek to make money by unfair or deceitful means, so I think government should step in to prevent that.

      Regarding direct government financing of businesses, there does seem to be a case for some essential infrastructure such as health, transport and communications to be directly supported by public funds. Some extreme forms of privatisation have made the people of the UK worse off. Private Finance Initiative? We will be paying for that long after I am dead.

      My more right wing friends point out that UK nationalised industries in the past tended to be afflicted with selfish trade union actions, being crippled by strikes. But I am not sure that selling off these industries into some partly fictitious free market was the answer to that. We seem to have ended up afflicted with bankers instead of unions.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    National Past Time?

    Pissing good money away on Vapourware? gigity million for this, bong billion for that contract, which never gets fulfilled?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Stinks

    and rhymes with 'Dung' ?

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    FAIL

    Laurel and Hardy

    Cummings and Johnson.

    "That's another fine mess we've gotten the country into"

    At least Stan and Ollie were good at making us laugh

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Laurel and Hardy

      Cummings/Johnson. Doris.

  20. Andy 73

    Sigh

    I can't see the point in trying to have a grown up conversation about how to improve innovation, research and business growth in the UK, when the mere mention of Brexit, Cummings or any current political party will bring all of the frothing loons out of the woodwork arguing that we can't/ won't/ shouldn't do whatever the other frothing loons insist we can/ will/ must do.

    For what it's worth, if we are to replace initiatives like Horizon2020 and other research and innovation friendly schemes, we should do so with our local knowledge base, workforce and skill set in mind. On the whole I think such schemes are good, if rather heavy on procedure and documentation.

    Equally, Cummings is a big fan of the idea of a UK equivalent of DARPA, funding 'moon shot' projects and encouraging emerging technologies. Again, I don't think it's a bad idea.

    As a country, for various reasons, we are not very good at risk, early business growth and long term market ownership. However, we've got some very smart guys who drive real innovation and deliver engineering excellence that brings the whole world to our doorstep. That suggests that we should think carefully how we handle funding and finance.

    Not going to happen though, because the political infighters will be too busy ripping each others' heads off.

    1. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      Up to a point, yes. Those are certainly noble intentions.

      However, when a waft of the breeze of oversight makes it seem like its mostly lobbyists and party donors (whatever side) with their snout in the trough, one can't help be a little cynical. I mean, we *HAD* our version of DARPA. It was called DERA and was spun out as a private company, and is now known as Qinetic.

      Look at what happened to academia in the wake of the referendum. As EU research funding started to dry up, I've seen friends leave the country chasing the jobs/funding. I'm talking phds, not canteen staff. I don't know what the current state is (the people who might tell me are no longer in the country), but the idea that this government gives a crap about research... I don't buy it.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sigh

      Quote:

      "As a country, for various reasons, we are not very good at risk, early business growth and long term market ownership. However, we've got some very smart guys who drive real innovation and deliver engineering excellence that brings the whole world to our doorstep. That suggests that we should think carefully how we handle funding and finance."

      The the problem with finance in this country is where do we get it from, its hard enough at the moment to lever a 200 000 quid loan out for the bank for a new machining cell, the fact we turn over millions, and have a site worth 20 times that does'nt matter to them or the fact we've always broken even for the past 10 yrs (dont ask about 11 yrs ago : ) ) , so where does some random innovator get some start up cash from.

      As for engineering excellence and Qinetiq, a recent interview with them for a top of the line CNC/robotics programmer revealed that they wanted to pay 22K a year for the recruit. only about 8K below the market rate...

      But the government want to plough on with state aid, of course the cynic in me says that they want the state to pay start up costs for the next google/intel/ARM, then privatise it in a sell off to their mates who then go on to sell it off to the USA/Japan/China/India/Venezuela for 4 times the price they paid for it 6 months previously..... but thats just the cynic in me

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      The frothing loons are probably those of us who've seen it all before. Many times

      HMG of the day pours lots of funds into whatever. Next HMG cans it because

      (a) NIH and/or

      (b) realised we've poured lots of funds in and all we've got is this one lousy proto-type and we can't afford to build more at that price each, failing to grasp that now you've done the development the build costs each will be much lower and/or

      (c) serial reorganisations of government depts broke up the funding structure and/or

      (d) political campaign against it because it's complicated and a lot of media/arts types don't understand it and/or

      (e) meddling form on high smothered it and/or

      (f) sacrificed so govt. could suck up to US by buying whatever it was from them - or because US didn't have one to sell and were upset by that and/or

      (g) any other form of incompetence and ignorance you cn think of.

      Some of the victims were started by people who looked a good deal more competent than the current crew.

      Those who don't remember their history are condemned to repeat it.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Those who don't remember their history are condemned to repeat it.

        and those who do are condemned to stand by aghast whilst they do so.

  21. andrewj

    You mean randomly pumping your arms in the air and babbling incoherent nonsense in Latin did not result in a trade deal? I'm shocked.

    The biggest reveal of 2020 has been that maybe Corbyn wasn't the worse option after all.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The biggest reveal of 2020 has been that maybe Corbyn wasn't the worse option after all."

      He was. It's just that what we've got wasn't shows what a bind we've been in this last few years.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @Doctor Syntax

        Well said

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        I guess you disagree with his politics.....

        At least Corbyn had compassion, honesty, integrity & a whole set of other attributes lacking in Johnson.

        Try assessing politicians on what they actually say and do, not how the media presents them.

        Full Disclosure - not a labour party member / aligned to Labour in any way (I vote Green as care about long term future, even though I won't be here to see it, not that my vote matters as live in an area which heavily votes Conservative) - but as someone not aligned to a "major" party, he came across as by far the most decent leader out of those on offer in England.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "At least Corbyn had compassion, honesty, integrity & a whole set of other attributes lacking in Johnson."

          And an even greater detachment from the real world. Difficult but he managed it.

      3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        It depends how you measure it.

        Corbyn's problem was that he was too honest to be a politician. Never mind whether you agree with Marxism or not, he wouldn't attack for the sake of attack.

        He failed to take a strong position on Brexit (something I'd have liked him to do, negatively) because he could see two sides : but instead of this being taken as intelligent analysis and openness to the needs of the electorate, it was seen as sitting on the fence.

        He wouldn't - despite his strong anti-racism feelings - take a strong position on Israel because he couldn't fight antisemitism in the expected manner without also hurting the palestinians who he also considered as needing support.

        The media demand a loud, aggressive, unthinking jingoism for political parties. They're too stupid and greedy to consider anything more nuanced. And the result is support for the likes of Johnson or Trump over actual ability.

        Taking a step back .. Johnson-cummings is widely regarded as the worst prime minister in living memory. I agree. But what interests me is when we last had a GOOD prime minister. John Smith was possibly the closest we approached to one.

        Can anyone here suggest another candidate for a country-building, honest, effective, inclusive prime minister ? Have we EVER had one ?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "The media demand a loud, aggressive, unthinking jingoism for political parties. They're too stupid and greedy to consider anything more nuanced."

          Ultimately what the media demand is a bad guide, I agree with you there.

          But someone being put forward as a potential head of government for several years needs to demonstrate the ability to actually make rational decisions.

          Rational decisions. Two words. We were offered a choice of zero or one.

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Can anyone here suggest...

          Atlee?

    2. cycl0ps

      What about the 'World Beating Track and Trace(TM) app that was released at the beginning of June! It will make trillions, now where did Dido put it....

  22. Klimt's Beast Would
    Facepalm

    This plan has...

    ...no legs. Or should that be ARMs?

  23. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    State aid is not illegal.

    One gets the impression that there are people who believe that state aid is totally illegal within the EU.

    As far as I know the British governments have used less state aid than many other EU states and I think the Tory has been rather reluctant to provide any.

    Quoting the Wikipedia on State aid (European Union).

    "Under European Union competition law the term has a legal meaning, being any measure that demonstrates any of the characteristics in Article 107 of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in that if it distorts competition or the free market, it is classed by the European Union as being illegal state aid.[1] Measures which fall within the definition of state aid are considered unlawful unless provided under an exemption or notified by the European Commission.".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_aid_(European_Union)

    What the EU is demanding from Britain to have a favourable access to the single market is to provide clear information on how Britain will behave regarding state aid.

    On WTO we find this.

    "...

    However, due to the lack of specifications, definitions and in some cases clarifications, the WTO case is highly controversial and more of an exception than a rule. A solution to this would be a more thorough regime somewhat in line with that of the European Union. In that case, the prohibition of state subsidies would occur if the subsidies were anti-competitive and affected international trade.".

    The reason so many big companies are found in the USA and China is their huge home markets and, of course, one of the main goals with the single market is the same.

    And of course China will eventually be able to compete with Boeing and Airbus because they have a huge home market to build for first.

    Still Apple, Microsoft, Google or Amazon and similar did not start due to any state aid, but it starts to become rather corny when a company like Amazon on a profit of 11 billion pays no state tax at all.

    On the whole I think this article was rather unnecessary and of no value like perhaps my comment too.

  24. cycl0ps

    GOV.UK Leads the way in high tech initiatives

    ICL

    Concorde

    The Transputer

    World beating track and trace app...

    Anything to do with Dido Harding

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Klimt's Beast Would

      Re: GOV.UK Leads the way in high tech initiatives

      We also had the Advanced Passenger Train under British Rail but it was flogged off to Italy (Pendolino*) and BR privatized...

      Sometimes I think that we have a perverse penchant for dispatching our ginuea-pigs in more and more interesting ways. I'm sure there's a Neflix series in there somewhere.

      * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendolino#United_Kingdom

      ...although much of the technology was used to design and build Pendolino trains.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: GOV.UK Leads the way in high tech initiatives

        The Pendodildo is a lot less advanced than APT.

        And this was from an APT engineer.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: GOV.UK Leads the way in high tech initiatives

      Black Bloody Arrow

  25. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    State Aid to get a trillion-dollar company

    Given the UK Government's track record in IT, I think the best thing to do would be to simply choose a tech company by the highly scientific method of dart throwing, give it a trillion and pray that it works.

    Oh, right. The UK doesn't have any more tech companies, anything worth it was sold off to foreign interests.

    Oh well, I'm sure that'll work just as well as the trade negotiations.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: State Aid to get a trillion-dollar company

      simply choose a tech company by the highly scientific method of dart throwing"

      ...to a shortlist of 1 company which happens to be owned by a friend/relative/acquaintance of the PM or his master.

      c.f. contracts awarded under Covid-19 emergency rules

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/04/dominic-cummings-allys-pr-firm-hanbury-strategy-given-covid-19-contracts-without-tenders

  26. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "with no track record in the tech industry. "

    They have a track record. It's a track record acquired in a very short time. It's a track record of promising "world beating", "UK will be the best place in the world for" etc. for things which promptly fall flat on their face. It's not a track record that inspires confidence.

    1. Klimt's Beast Would

      Track record?

      I should have read further before posting my most recent comment concerning the APT being flogged off to Italy (and ultimately being sold back to the UK - Beardy Trains).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not a track record that inspires confidence

      actually, in a sense, it DOES inspire a (perverse) sense of confidence, i.e. consistent track record gives me confidence it WILL fail. Funny haha maybe, but not quite, when you're the one staring down the barrel :(

    3. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: world-beating

      You forgot 3P (Priti Patel Pronunciation): world-beaten

  27. Lorribot Bronze badge

    Remember Inmos?

    Remember every company and asset this country has had that we have sold to other countries state owned companies? Airports, Airlines, Utilities. Remember when we had a successful car industry before the government got involved, did Rover ever buy a car company abroad in all its acquisitions or mergers?

    Its all foriegn owned now.

    We have more offshore wind turbines than any other country in the world yet none are made in the UK and very few are owned or managed by UK companies.

    Successive governments have no idea what they are doing, they have missed every opportunity to grow businesses in this country and would be the last ones I would want to invest in our companies and then interfere and destroy them.

    They need to focus on ensuring we have a business environment where funding to expand overseas is easy to get so our companies grow to $1tn and not be limited by this country and just grow big enough to be ought by a US/German/Japanese/Chinese etc company. It is a mentality thing not a state aid thing.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      "Its all foreign owned now."

      Ah, yes - "The Great British Takeaway"

      ---> icon: I only wish it were a joke

  28. Old Used Programmer

    But there is one.

    Britain does have a successful tech company. Granted it's not all that big, though it dominates its niche. Still, I don't think the Raspberry Pi Foundation is really in need of big cash infusions from the British government.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: But there is one.

      It has a Japanese owned factory assemble a simple circuit board around an advanced American chip made in Taiwan - rather like claiming a typical premier league side is a symbol of British sporting prowess

  29. Justthefacts

    “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

    Errr, which America would that be?

    To paraphrase Princess Bride: “State Aid....I do not think those words mean what you think they mean”

    The US gov that spends $740bn *a year* on its defence budget. That’s $500k per soldier. That’s not per infantryman, that includes the 75% of the army that’s the logistics required to get the infantry to frontline. Unless those soldiers are considerably better paid than one might think, virtually *all* of that $740bn per year is state aid to its military contractors to maintain and develop technology.

    Or would that be the United States that has Chapter 11 laws, by which the US government legally protects its tech companies while they are *insolvent* to maintain competitiveness against foreign companies. For example, at this very moment Intelsat is simultaneously a) insolvent under Chapter 11 b) being given several billion dollars to vacate C-band spectrum by the government c) has just decided to buy another company for $400m, and has done so, all the while being in administration.

    Or would that be the United States that saw a competitor to its home-grow Instagram (TikTok), and immediately outlawed it purely on the basis of it being foreign-owned, and essentially passed a law that a US company Microsoft shall acquire it.

    Not that the US is anything unusual among countries. Both France and Germany have pseudo-private sectors which are about 20% of their GDP, financed by arms-length gov, e,g, COFACE. That’s not even to consider the European Investment Bank that finances well over 2 *trillion* euro of state aid. In fact, it’s the U.K. that is virtually unique among developed nations in not doing state aid to a significant extent.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

      @Justthefacts

      While I agree to some of your rant, please slow down a bit.

      Coface like https://www.coface.uk/ operates around the world.

      And of course the industry in any country need financing.

      Soon you will claim supporting education, the NHS, roads and bridges are all state aid and very illegal and absent only in poor Britain.

      Well, perhaps you have a point there regarding the UK after all.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

      The U.S. military budget includes retirement and educational benefits for past servicemen, , disability payments for partially or fully disabled veterans, military aid to other countries, maintenance and upkeep on buildings, bases, military cemetetaries, ships, aircraft and weapons, salaries and benefits for civilian DoD employees, fuel, ammunition, training expenses, food, housing and healthcare for the current servicemen and their families, equipment and upkeep for the national guard units, procurement of new weapons systems and research and development.

      Throwing around the $500K per active and reserve service member trivializes where a lot of the spending goes

      1. Justthefacts

        Re: “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

        I’m not trivialising anything.

        I’m pointing out that the USA spends 3.4% of GDP on its military, which is way more than most countries. It’s unarguable that all the money gets spent on *something*, and that something is not economically productive in a classical sense. It may or may not be money well-spent in the wider context.

        To take a random point from your list, maintenance and upkeep of military buildings is both *necessary* (in context of the pre-decided size of the military), and is state aid to building contractors. Many of those building contractors would struggle to stay in business without the incredibly long-term predictable flows from the maintenance contracts.

        Boeing is the same. Just how many new civilian airframes does anybody really need to design per decade? Boeing just can’t exist at all without steady military contracts. Ditto Airbus, this isn’t a comment about the USA. But surely we still want to have new airframes being developed.

        Again, you’re misunderstanding what state aid actually is.

        It’s *not* “government subsidising inefficient industries”.

        A successful economy consists of companies living in an environment created by government spending. It’s exactly what Obama meant when he said “you didn’t build that”.

        The US does a lot *more* of that, relatively speaking, than most other countries on the planet, rather than less as the libertarian myth would have it.

        And China is overtaking the US economically, by doing still more.

    3. Dominic Sweetman

      Re: “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

      I'm not that confident in the details of your arithmetic, but the general point holds. Silicon valley's genesis was very dependent on government spending, and its growth aided by lax taxation.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: “America, which is not big on state aid”?!!!

        Oh yes, Fairchild Semiconductor, Silicon Valley's original semiconductor success story and the progenitor of all the "Fairchildren", including Intel and AMD, got a very large portion of its business from military contracts.

  30. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

    After this years implosion of HSBC and BP

    Down £60bn and £50bn.

  31. tip pc Silver badge

    Why is the reg being political?

    This is one place we can come and talk tech without getting into bum fights over 1 political view over another.

    I would rather the Reg stay apolitical.

    1. Gazman

      Re: Why is the reg being political?

      Everything is politics - Thomas Mann

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Why is the reg being political?

        I'm almost certain Thomas Mann was quoting Skunk Anansie.

        Apparently seen on a poster recently in Belarus:

        "Hey, do you know which concentration camp they're taking us to?"

        "No, sorry. I'm not really interested in politics"

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “America, which is not big on state aid, got there first with Apple.”. A good deal of the technology that Apple uses, including the Internet itself, is due to US Government spending on technology, such as DARPA. Don’t forget the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel which has invested in lovely companies like Palantir, which feeds greedily on the Government teat, as do many of these “tech titans”. Taking a longer term view, many of the large fortunes in US history were built on government contracts, see “ Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich“ by Kevin Phillips.

  33. martinusher Silver badge

    Sustained Investment?

    We've been here before. The reference to ICL missed the important part -- the investment was made under Harold Wilson's Labour government, Wilson himself referring to "the white heat of technology" in his call to modernze British industry. The government was actively involved in investing, seeding money for industries that it thought were likely to be a key part of Britain's future.

    So what actually happened?

    Investment was always a bit on the low side because of the dreaded "Public Sector Borrowing Requirement". There's no way The City would put up cash; they're a bunch of rentiers with a short term investment horizon. Once the Thatcher Revolution got underway everything was privatized -- often in a hurry and often with a huge loss for the taxpayer -- and after the inevitable flurry of mergers and asset stripping the husks were left to blow away on the wind. Thatcher also put a stop to the idea that North Sea Oil was going to provide a capital fund for British industry and innovation -- it was more rip/burn/pillage, get as much out as quickly and profitably as possible and make off with the loot (unlike Norway.......).

    So, the idea that Boris is going to do his own version of "White Heat of Technology" thing is a bit laughable. There's no infrastructure left. Building it up would require an investment in education (for a start) that needs to be sustained over decades. Still, if its what makes him happy......and you lot did give him a sizable majority last Christmas......

  34. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Oh yes. Building up "National champions"

    Hand selected by a crack team of senior civil servants with advanced degrees in Philosophy, Classics and other forms of bul**hitting.

    That got the UK in the 60's ICL, eventually taken over by Fujitsu. British Coal and British Steel (sold off to TATA, then to a US hedge fund who loaded it with massive debt before f**king off). British Leyland no longer exists, but the UK still has quite a large car industry (for the moment).

    And the biggest of Grand Champions the now US based BAe.

    Billions Above Estimate was formed by the (strongly encouraged) merger of BAC and Hawker Siddeley and HMG still has a "Golden share" so it's foreign takeover proof (because the defense business is speeeeeecial). Their CEO gains unlimited access to the PM in return. Something his counterparts at Boeing and LM can only dream of having with Nelly.

    It gave the UK the Nimrod AEW fiasco and the later Nimrod Mk IV crash and scathing government report that actually named names involved.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Oh yes. Building up "National champions"

      Isn't that what hedge funds and private equity groups are there to do ?

  35. Lord Baphomet

    Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

    This is all your fault. Why are you whinging about it? You did this. All of you. You either voted for these d*ckheads or you refused to vote for Corbyn because of some fake news about him and his party. I walked door to door in Liverpool, begging people not to be small-minded conservative racists. I did my best to turn the tide away from this shower of b'stards and towards a more sane future. And Liverpool was one of the very few areas to turn red on election night. The rest of you a*seholes turned blue within seconds because what? You were bored of hearing about Brexit and wanted it 'done' (hint: it won't be 'done' for another 30 years or more). But I'm guessing most of you armchair w*ssacks did nothing but put a cross on a piece of paper and assume that would be enough to stave off this s*it show. This is your fault -- you get the government you deserve. The second johnson/hitler/cummings book a flight out of your hellhole and left. You c*unts should stop crying about it -- you had your chance and did absolutely nothing. You've made your bed, now lie in it and shut the f*ck up -- I'm bored of hearing it. Live with it.

    1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

      Re: Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

      I refused to vote for Corbyn because he was a dithering incompetent, no, I didn't vote for the Traitor/Tory party either, and yes many of us did campaign against Brexit and against the Tories. Living in Brexit Central it didn't have much effect though. Yes, my MP/slimebag is Mark Francois.

      As for being bored of hearing it, I suggest you cut off all contact with anyone else via any means whatsoever, because this crap is still going to be affecting the UK long after we are all dead and buried.

    2. Snapper

      Re: Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

      I'd have voted for Corbyn if he had a shred of competence about him.

      It was his deliberate non-appearance and damping down Labour's pro-EU campaign during the referendum that probably made all the difference in Leave squeaking through. Look where that's left us.

      He spent the next four years sitting firmly on the fence, then presided over Labour's worst defeat in the last 70 years and, incredibly, still claiming that he had won the arguments, took nearly 6 months to vacate his position as the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

      Just have a read of this before you start blaming everyone but you and your mates. https://is.gd/irHzTM

      1. Lord Baphomet

        Re: Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

        The choice in Britain has always been between leadership by the incompetent or leadership by evil. Corbyn didn't create that position, he was merely stuck in the pattern like everyone else. It doesn't matter how incompetent the opposition is, it's far better than collaborating with the devil. (metaphorically speaking obviously).

        Thanks for the link though -- that looks interesting. I'm of the opinion that his career was torpedoed by fake news and the inability to control the rebels in his own party. I don't think he was incompetent, so much as hamstrung by the party that voted him in. I honestly believe that Britain would be much better off with him in charge rather than Cummings and his lapdog. Yes, I'm a socialist and fall very much in line with a lot of Corbyn's policies, and I think he was right on a lot of issues, and yes I lost faith in him too when he didn't take a strong enough stance on Brexit and felt it as a betrayal, but even with all of that, I still think that he'd have pulled through and there is no question that he would have been better than Cummings and the bunch of incompetent thieves you lot allowed into power.

        You should have just gone all in for Corbyn. Your mistake was a betrayal of the country. What were you thinking? You helped dilute the labour vote so that the strongest party was the Nazi party (Cummings et al). You should have stood behind our leader and lived with those consequences, rather than what's happening now. It could not possibly have had a worse outcome.

    3. Lord Baphomet

      Re: Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

      Somehow my rant got mangled. Towards the end it should read:

      "The second johnson/hitler/cummings won, I booked a flight out of that hellhole and left"

      Probably my poor editing skills :)

    4. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Stop Whinging you bunch of c*nts

      Reg Rant Score 99/100. Excellent effort.

      One point deducted for use of asterisks though.

  36. Mike 137 Silver badge

    To quote Yoda...

    '“Cummings - and we have to assume his boss Johnson too - are obsessed about not being bossed around by the TWO superpowers that already have trillion dollar tech companies, namely the US and China,” the post said.'

    Paduan Johnson "I won't be bossed around by the two superpowers"

    Yoda "You will be ... you will be"

    There's no way on Earth that any UK business can now compete with the US and Far Eastern giants - we just don't have the capital even where we have the expertise. For decades now British innovators have seen their inventions sold off to (or bought up by) businesses in other more well heeled nations, and that trend its not even slowing, let alone reversing. The largest US tech enterprises are valued at more than the GDP of some nations.

    To justify such a momentous change as leaving the EU without a trade deal on an aspiration of this sort is pure fantasy. It'll never come to fruition.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: To quote Yoda...

      >There's no way on Earth that any UK business can now compete with the US and Far Eastern giants - we just don't have the capital even where we have the expertise.

      I tend to agree, but I can't see how this is any different inside or outside the EU. The article appears to be another WOE! WOE! And three times WOE! on Brexit throwing all sorts of not-that-relevant bad news into the bucket.

      On the plus side, we can be proud of things like Bitchute and Gab (I think both were started in the UK), even if they have had to move offshore. Like ARM, they may not be as lucrative as the US tech giants, but its fun to be a thorn in their sides and competition is healthy.

      Trade with the EU is not going to disappear just because we leave. As noted in the article, half our trade is already with countries outside the EU playground and we cope with that just fine. Moving those borders will create more paperwork, but it isn't impossible.

      Do we need an alternative to the US GPS? Strategically, perhaps, but its hardly an operational issue. My main concern is food and its labelling. American food is cheap and nasty and I'm concerned a trade deal would prevent proper labelling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The sale of ARM Holdings could have been blocked

        The sales of ARM holdings could have been blocked, but the U.K. Tory government showed no interest..

        It only got purchased because of the 15% devaluation in the pound after the Brexit vote.

        ARM holdings was one of the best U.K. Tech companies.

        The Conservative government have a terrible track record for picking loosens, and rejecting winners.

        And look at their crazy purchase of One Web, which they seem to think is a winner - the clue that it had gone bankrupt despite $ 5 billion dollar investment, didn’t ring any bells ?

        It can’t even do what they were claiming, and is unfinished and needs major investment, and even then would have to complete against SpaceX’s Starlink ! - it’s an obvious non-starter..

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "It'll never come to fruition."

      Wrong tense.

      It already has.

      Will it be anything other than a massive cluster f**k?

      Probably not.

      But it is happening right now so all those leavers can start cracking open the shampers and toasting what you voted for. Because this is exactly what they voted for.

  37. Whoopsie

    This is all a nonsense justification for asset stripping the UK

    If the government cared, even slightly, for UK tech companies, they would have done something to stop the sale of ARM - the UK's single most successful tech company - to Softbank.

    And they wouldn't be continuing to try and destroy the IT contractor sector, in favour of turning a blind eye to the tax dodging antics of ..... US tech companies.

    The author of that blog post clearly has no idea at all what they're talking about.

  38. StrangerHereMyself

    Creating unicorns

    I do believe that it's possible to create industrial companies through state aid. South Korea is a shining example where this has worked out nicely since Samsung, LG, SK and Hyundai were basically created by the government there.

    However, creating IT unicorns like Apple, Tesla or Facebook will not work, as these are based on opportunism and finding a niche or having a founder with a vision. This will not be possible with state intervention since political agendas will always shine through.

    1. EBG

      Re: Creating unicorns

      Up-arrowed, but they are very different cultures. The shame culture means that they are driven to deliver even if the money is free from the state. I see little shame at the top in the UK.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about growing the tech sector. It's simply about funneling huge amounts taxpayers money into private companies belonging to their mates.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forty Years Too Late for "Industrial Policy".....

    in the mean time:

    1. All British car factories are foreign owned

    2. No British computer industry worth the name (....remember ICL?)

    3. No British aerospace industry worth the name (...remember Hawker, Gloster, English Electric, Short Brothers, Fairey, Blackburn, Westland.......)

    4. Huge dependence on foreign manufacturing (Japan, China, Germany....)

    5. Consequences of items 1, 2, 3, and 4.......Hollowing out of local academic, technical and manufacturing knowledge

    6. Consequential rise of China.....and consequential increasing dependence of British universities on Chinese students

    *

    Yup.......FAR TOO LATE for an industrial policy.....it will take another forty years (if ever) to reverse this disaster.

    *

    Ah.....but then there's the mythical "sunny uplands".........depending on your medication of choice!

    1. JassMan

      Re: Forty Years Too Late for "Industrial Policy".....

      Not just industrial. The sale of Cadburys should never have neen allowed either. I know it didn't actually taste of real chocolate but at least it had enough cocoa solids that you could imagime it was worthy of the name. The real damage was that most of the production was offshored in spite of management statements to the contrary. Pretty much like most statements from our current PM.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Things were worse in 1990 ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_(TV_series)

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Things were worse in 1990 ...

      And 1994...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Ninety-Four

  42. tip pc Silver badge

    Straw man

    See article

  43. Buster

    Virtual whelk stall for sale - one careful but skint owner.

    US tech companies had a market of hundreds of millions on their doorstep with little international competition and instead of direct state aid, the US government give them a pass on copyright and regulation to turn the users into serfs. So the UK will be trying to emulate them with most domestic UK users invested in non-UK platforms, the EU in a hostile posture (this has been the case for decades), the US in a protectionist mode, US and EU lawmakers looking to regulate and tax local income.

    Not hopeful.

  44. EBG

    please understand that the worst of this is ...

    I've been around policy circles enough in the last few years that I know the "logic" here. The moon-on-a-stick flyboys manage to sell this to politicians because the attraction is that you can feck up as much as you want, and by hell are we fecking up, but absolutely no need to worry as AI / big data / Industry 4.0 / ...will come riding to the rescue.

  45. Mike Richards Silver badge

    State aid

    The US has no problem with state aid to tech industries if they can put it in the defence or 'national security' troughs.

  46. heyrick Silver badge

    Probably already been said...

    ...but WAY too many posts to read whilst on break (at work).

    Anyway, somebody might like to remind Cummings that little old Blighty had, and lost, their big tech success story... ARM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Torres let ARM slip due to Brexit..

      Yes, the Torys let ARM slip due to Brexit, without Brexit we would have had ARM, inward investment into the Car industry, and increasing Science & Technology investment..

      Thanks to Brexit, we have thrown that away..

      Right now it looks like it’s downhill for the next decade at least.

      Even Rees-Mogg said that it might take 50 years before we see any positive benefit from Brexit..

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Torres let ARM slip due to Brexit..

        He can take the long view, having been born in 1766.

  47. ICL1900-G3

    Cummings

    "Cummings - and we have to assume his boss Johnson too"

    The other way around, surely?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel 110% that Johnson and Cummings have everything covered.

    Why 110%? Simple - it's made up of 75% certainty that the UK is always right - God is an Englishman after all; and 45% trust in our political masters.

    1. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4
      Headmaster

      Re: I feel 110% that Johnson and Cummings have everything covered.

      Except that's 120%.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Except that's 120%."

        Yes.

        I think that's rather the point he's making.

        Bu***hit maths and bu***hit --> total f**king disaster.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I feel 110% that Johnson and Cummings have everything covered.

        Wooosh!

  49. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4

    Superpowers

    "obsessed about not being bossed around by the TWO superpowers that already have trillion dollar tech companies, namely the US and China"

    Little countries tend to get bossed around by superpowers - sadly it's how the world works, and no amount of delusional thinking will change that.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Joke

      "Little countries tend to get bossed around by superpowers "

      But, but, but your suggesting that Britain is a little country.

      Surely that cannot be true.

      Many peoples belief systems would simply crumble if that were correct.

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: "Little countries tend to get bossed around by superpowers "

        Wait... Joke alert? I think you picked the wrong icon there.

        Here, try the Sherlock Holmes icon, because clearly once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable,

          must be the truth."*

          Well, I had to let the Gammons down gently otherwise I'd be responsible for dozens of strokes across the Home Counties.

          *And in this case obvious to anyone with their eyes actually open and their brain in working order.

      2. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

        Re: "Little countries tend to get bossed around by superpowers "

        Of course, Britain isn't a little country:

        In terms of area, the UK is very close to the middle of the list of all countries, so Mid-sized.

        In terms of population the UK is around the twenty-something biggest, so just outside the top 10%, and thus a medium-large country.

        In terms of economy (GDP) the UK is in the top 5% and therefore a large country.

        So you're right, it isn't true (and please don't call me Shirley).

        I fear though, that as a result of this revelation, many peoples' belief systems are still crumbling, only they are different people to those that you were referring too.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Coat

          @EvilDrSmith

          Let's look at those numbers.

          Land. The UK is between Guinea and Uganda on the list of countries with less than 1.5million Km^2 of area. That's 1.47% of the full range

          Population it's 4.7% of the biggest.

          In GDP terms the UK is indeed 5th or 6th depending on World Bank, IMF or UN figures, for now.

          So yes, it is a little country which used to have a large empire but doesn't anymore. As per your name, "Never fear, Smith is here."

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "many peoples' belief systems are still crumbling, "

          Doubtful.

          Those people who build their beliefs on objective reality are pretty robust.

          Only those whose world view is basically a fantasy are likely to crumble when actual reality intrudes*

          *Although so many seem so detached from actual reality already I doubt they will realize it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think Trump got it right...

    When he turned to his best friend and said "Jeffrey, I'm a-gonna ask that lady to pee all over mah orange face until she cun pee no moah."

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: I think Trump got it right...

      <sighs>

      Trump had Epstein kicked out of his vile resorts for molesting people. It was honest Bill Clinton who took around 27 flights to Jeffrey's fantasy island.

      The Pee-Dossier by a slimy old British spy was as reliable as Russiagate.

  51. Flywheel Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No, you've misread it!

    trillion dollar tech company

    That's the amount of money they'll burn setting it all up. They'll actually turn a profit of around £50K (after 3 years losses, obviously).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trillion Dollars..

      Well we have ALREADY lost £ One Trillion Pounds in U.K.Assets due to Brexit..

      And we have not even completely left yet - Still in transition.

      Maybe a profit to be made from Lorry Parks...

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "And we have not even completely left yet - Still in transition."

        Indeed.

        Brexiteers love WWII so this is 1939 or the "Phony" Brexit..

        No doubt they look forward to Jan 1st 2021 for the return of the Blitz spirit*

        *That is a thriving black market for luxuries, an increase in rape and desperate sex to blot out the horror and the demolition of more of the largest housing stock built before 1919 in Europe.

        Only joking.

        The housing stock will remain the worst insulated, built and old in Europe.

  52. cycl0ps

    WTF, I have read the sociopaths blogs. He does not have a clue. Years of experience have taught me to look at a person's track record to weigh up their potential. He has a flair for running focused political campaigns, but is an absolute failure at business and at actually managing a day to day operation. Highly disruptive, as evidenced by recent events, he knows only how to destroy organization. Building an effective long term team, e.g. something other than for a three month campaign requires skills and patience - somethings that the sociopath lacks. His one commercial venture with a Russian airline ended in disaster.

    This is not going to end well. Farewell United Kingdom, Hello Little England.

  53. The Mysterious Monty

    Surely this was a good opportunity for investment?

    Surely Reaction engines with their Sabre engines and Skylon would have been perfect to invest in? Sadly last i heard was that they had to go to the US for funding

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Surely Reaction engines with their Sabre engines and Skylon

      would have been perfect to invest in? "

      Wrong. They set up a subsidiary in the US who built the first new wind tunnel in decades with DARPA funding (which they will be able to rent out as an asset) and to test the precooler technology up to the needed M5 transition temperature. The test campaign started at the inlet temperature of the SR71. They are now working on a full 20 tonne thrust testbed engine in the UK to fire up some time in 2021.

      REL already had a taste of HMG's "help" with the £60m grant they got.

      It was 3 years late and required they get a "qualified" airframe mfg with experience of M1 aircraft, who naturally had to be based in the UK.

      Oh look, it appears you will need to bring in BAe. :-(

      I bet they just can't wait for more government "help" like that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sabre Engine..

      Anything good the UK invents we sell off, before it can make a profit.

      Although it’s not clear that this one would.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Anything good the UK invents we sell off, before it can make a profit."

        The UK has a very strange financial sector that is basically not geared to talking to British industry.

        Fund a bridge over the Bospherous. No problem. Fund a new large press with a solid 2 year order book once construction was under way? F**k right off you pleb. Part of the reason REL has struggled to raise funds throughout its history. In contrast SCramjets have had North of $10Bn pumped into them over 7 decades (REL's last investment round was about £100m, what Musk spent on setting up SpaceX) by the US military and failed to deliver a single working missile/drone/aircraft.

        Actually the UK has quite a good track record of setting up niche technology (especially pharmaceutical) companies.

        The problem is the complete failure of nerve as the investors can't wait to sell out to the nearest (American/Japanese/Chinese/Albanian/Whatever) corp that rocks up.

        It looks like a massive failure of vision (or nerve) across British industry. Why should they sell up when they could lead? Because it's the saaaaaafe option. Like f**k.

  54. osakajin Bronze badge

    “Cummings - and we have to assume his boss Johnson" sorry which way round is that ?

  55. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    News hit the streets this week that the chances of a deal with the EU are beginning to ebb away, with the UK said to be taking a hardline on negotiations.

    They are not beginning to ebb away. They are being deliberately destroyed by a bunch of corrupt politicians who believe they can make more money by destroying the UK economy.

  56. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    a triumph

    Anybody else remember the days when AT&T gave up its telephone monopoly so that it could sell computers? Anyone ever use a 3B2? They sure dominated, didn't they?

  57. QuBitMac

    Well we have lost over £5 billion in investment so far - due to Brexit..

    The investors wanted to be “In Europe” - and none of this would have cost the government a penny..

    So things like the Tesla Electric Car Mega Factory - are NOT now being built in the U.K, prior to Brexit, it was coming here.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An Absolute Shower of Shysters..

    The present U.K. Government are an absolute shower of shysters..

    They certainly don’t have the countries interests at heart.

    Yet somehow they still convinced people to vote for them..

    Though it didn’t help that the opposition was also historically bad ( Corbin ) at the time.

    We need to loose the FPTP First Past the Post electoral system.

  59. teknopaul Silver badge

    Invest?

    Let's be clear about this, Cummings wants to hand out money to his chums, this is not investing.

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