back to article Plans for UK rival to Silicon Valley ditched

UK efforts to create a high-tech research and development region designed to rival Silicon Valley seem dead in the water as government prioritises other initiatives. Oxford-Cambridge Arc had planned to create new road and rail links between the cities' universities and research centres in Milton Keynes, as well as housing and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

    So the Tories believe that putting in road links or building houses will magically create a competitor to silicon valley.

    Meanwhile, the EU have landed Intel investment for a fabrication plant in Germany, amongst other things.

    As per The Independent we have a trade deal with New Zealand which has a negative GDP effect. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-trade-deal-new-zealand-uk-b2024793.html). Claims 0.02% extra GDP by 2035, yet other models show -0.01%. Farmers and food processors will lose out.

    Same for pig farming at the moment, where pigs are being culled rather than eaten.

    If the Tories cannot get farming right, then they have, probably, minus infinity chances of getting technology right.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

      It's the kind of long-term strategic planning entirely expected from this bunch of journalists who do government by focus group.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        Waiting for Rees-Mogg's plan for one of these new canal links

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          Slight delay envisaged while sufficient horses are produced to move the barges.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            >Slight delay envisaged while sufficient horses are produced to move the barges.

            We don't need horses, we just make the canal downhill - both ways

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            You don't want horses for that, you want mules. They are also happy working in teams of 20 or more, which would be quite handy when hauling the mountains of bullshit away from Westminster.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            Horses? We can't be using valuable animals for such work! The barges will be haled by proles for their daily ration of gruel. The worst of it is I can hear his voice saying this...

        2. Licenced_Radio_Nerd

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          You can travel up the river Great Ouse and back along the Cam, although that might take a few weeks!

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            I'm not entirely sure that such a venture would be a great idea - it would get referred to as Cam-Ousing Route. And you can't Google that! (At work anyway).

      2. Woodnag

        Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

        Silicon Valley is very cosmopolitan because of decades of influx of immigrant tech workers... Europe, Iran back in the day, more recently Taiwan, Korea, and of course India and China. Nowhere else in the US matches that with temperate weather. Seattle ain't bad, but "the skies... they be grey!".

        Glassdoor: "The average Google hourly pay ... $201 per hour for a Senior Software Engineer.".

        What's the UK going to offer to compete?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

          It started long before the imigrant tech workers.

          Post WWII, people from all over the world attended Berkeley and Stanford. They discovered that what became Silly Con Valley was a very nice place to live, and upon graduation, stayed here.

          This lead to the plowing under of the orchards to create a new suburbia to house the large quantity of educated people. Many of these people had Engineering or Business degrees, some both.

          In essence, an educated melting-pot made this place what it is.

          Personally, I miss the cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, etc. ...

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

          Plus a big factor in California is the laws. There's no non-compete, so that let people leave Shockley Semiconductor to start Fairchild, then leave Fairchild to start Intel.

          So every engineer that thinks he can do it better, starts his own company to do so, and boom - you have Silicon Valley.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

            Massachusetts had/has notoriously strict non-compete enforcement that together with the highly secretive nature of the defence focused industry in Boston - compared to the (for some reason) much more open Californian attitude

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

              For some reason?

              Come visit California for a month. Then go visit New England for a month. All will be revealed.

              Nutshell: Here in California, we don't sweat the petty stuff. In New England (and most of the rest of the East Coast) it is canon to do so.

          2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

            The bit you missed out about the laws is that you ignore those that don't suit so you can "disrupt"

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

              That "ignore the law" thing is actually fairly new, at least in the time scale of this conversation. Have no fear, there is a largish grass-roots effort to get this fixed. If we're lucky, they will get their comeuppance.

        3. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Silicon Valley is a destination for immigrant tech workers

          You need to read

          A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

          to understand that the headline figure for salary is only part of the equation.

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

      I assume that is a rhetorical question.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        I left the UK for the West Coast 10 years ago.

        UK developer salaries aren't bad - as long as you are working in finance, in London.

        Outside that - forget it.

        I was chief dev / R&D / CTO for a company making high tech off-shore stuff. Not a bad salary for oop North, can buy a house etc (although to be fair you could buy a house on a credit card there)

        Our receptionist had a boyfriend, spotty 20 year old with no qualifications who worked in Software Sales to local government - he earned twice what I did.

        In the UK a techie is never going to get paid more than a saleman, who is never going to be paid more than a manager. If your only good jobs are worthless finance and government contracting you are not going to be creating silicon valley.

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          --he earned twice what I did.--

          If he earned it great, if he just got paid it :(

          ps I think you'll find sales are generally better paid than the rest.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            >ps I think you'll find sales are generally better paid than the rest.

            Yes have always believed that sales commission is the easiest cheque to write.

            Except if you are 'selling' software to local hospitals/GPs that some NHS digital program has decided everyone has to have. Its like getting a commission on selling F35s to each RAF unit

            The problem is when the most (only) profitable enterprise is getting on some government contract - you start to look like one of those 'less developed' countries.

            ps also realised 2006 was more than 15years ago. I can't be old - the 70s was only 25 years ago!

    3. Woodnag

      Intel investment for a fabrication plant in Germany

      Considering how strong the employee protections are in Germany compared with the UK, it shows how unattractive UK is despite Intel being able to hire/fire much easier in UK.

    4. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

      Did we read different articles?

      --So the Tories believe that putting in road links or building houses will magically create a competitor to silicon valley.--

      Obviously, in fact they believe it so much they cancelled it!

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

      Same for pig farming at the moment, where pigs are being culled rather than eaten.

      I believe David Cameron had an idea about what to do with a pig.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        >Same for pig farming at the moment, where pigs are being culled rather than eaten.

        I generally prefer my pigs to be culled before being eaten.

        I like bacon as much as the next man but I think live pork sashimi is a bit much

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          Pigs that are culled are NOT eaten. You need them slaughtered for that - that requires a vet to check the meat is edible, The vets have gone back to the EU hence the need to cull animals - pigs especially as they cost as much as tory ministers to keep alive.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

            Pigs are actually cheap to raise. The only animals that I am aware of that make meat faster on less chow are rabbits. Turkeys are close.

            Regardless of what you call it (harvesting, culling, slaughtering, hit by car), if it's taken apart correctly and on time you can eat the end result ... assuming a lack of disease, of course.

            1. sabroni Silver badge

              Re: Regardless of what you call it (harvesting, culling, slaughtering....

              We're using culled to mean "killed for no reason" and slaughtered to mean "killed for food".

              The government in the UK likes to pretend they're both the same and that farmers shouldn't complain about culling pigs as waste because they also die when you slaughter them for food.

              1. Snapper Bronze badge

                Re: Regardless of what you call it (harvesting, culling, slaughtering....

                Fairly obvious this government doesn't realise/care that the Farmer loses money when pigs are culled, and gets paid when they are slaughtered.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        @Arthur the cat - So that would be Eton, not eaten?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

      Building denser areas and improving transport will solve literally 90% of the problems in this fucking shithole of a country that is run by a bunch of arseholes who literally hate the people they are elected by and have contempt of the idea of government actually doing anything or investing for the long term.

      Solve housing costing 10x salary

      Solve everyone demanding a 4 bed with a large garden and build liveable flats or medium density

      Improve train, walking, cycling routes and get people interconnected and not spending 3 hours in a car to go 20 miles down the M25

      Stop treating WFH like a nasty disease.

      PAY PEOPLe

      Absolute joke of a country.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        "Solve everyone demanding a 4 bed with a large garden and build liveable flats or medium density"

        @ac2022-03-01_16:42

        Come to Birmingham (within the Ring Road).

        Loadsa new low rise flats + medium density housing. Google Port Loop (Urban Splash development) Park Central (Crest Nick) and St Lukes Road (Barrat, not as bad as it sounds). Plus stuff happening out by the Commonwealth Games site (Perry Barr) and Hipsta Urban speculative build stuff in the actual centre of the city. If you have serious money there are a handful or several new terraced houses in the Jewellery Quarter, plus various smaller scale developments.

        What we actually need though is more council/housing association housing. Urgently.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          Come to Birmingham (within the Ring Road).

          Well there’s the problem. Every German town over 250k people will have a robust urban rail/S-Bahn network. The only places in England making that happen are Birmingham and Manchester - big cities with over a million people who could easily justify their own metro/underground network - not just a glorified tram network (which does NOT constitute a “metro” regardless of how it’s branded).

          This leaves… everybody else (Leeds, Bradford, Derby, Stoke on Trent) struggling to convince Treasury that there’s any merit in public transport or that they need things like trams or walkable infrastructure.

          There’s an increasing case to be made that national government doesn’t really work. All the important issues are either inter-governmental (climate change, tax avoidance, trade treaties, etc) or local/regional (infrastructure, education, transport - guess why Germany has such good public transport - it’s managed at state/Lander level. Not reliant on begging Berlin for attention once every couple of decades. The decision-makers have skin in the game).

          The national government shouldn’t have responsibility for anything beyond defence and handling international treaties & relationships. Let the regions get on with sorting out infrastructure.

          Of course this government hates devolution - and not just in the regions. They’ve stripped TfN of their powers but also knee-capped TfL. Local authorities are on their knees after a decade of austerity. They’ve spent the last 5 years trying to centralise power back into Westminster and we’re all going to be poorer for it (unless you’re in a favoured “red wall” constituency, but even those brides will be transitory).

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

        >bunch of arseholes who literally hate the people they are elected by

        No, they like the people they were elected by (subject to a certain latitude qualification)

        Those people own houses

        Those houses will go down in value if the government builds more/cheaper housing

        That will make those people poorer and sad

        They might not vote for you

        1. Evil Scot

          Re: Does the Tory Government Actually Know What It Is Doing ?

          They are quite happy to build when they are personally profiting on it. Looking at you former landlord.

          Well at least we wont have to pick up the rubbish in Cambridgeshire for a new town built in Bedfordshire.

  2. joe bloggs 6

    has anyone told those that are building the line?

    "Although officially still on the table, there were doubts about whether the proposed Oxford-Cambridge railway link would go ahead. According to reports, the Treasury's spending review had failed to answer vital questions about funding for the project, which proposed reopening the old "Varsity line" closed since 1967."

    from where I am this East West line looks pretty far advanced to me.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: has anyone told those that are building the line?

      Just looked it up: part of it done, part under construction, but seems about half is at "detailed design" stage.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: has anyone told those that are building the line?

        Yes the only problems with it are at the ends where it goes into Oxford and Cambridge and starts going near "nice" houses.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: has anyone told those that are building the line?

          Pity it won't have a station interchange with HS2 at Calvert.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: has anyone told those that are building the line?

        Oxford-Bedford will likely get built/upgraded. Beyond Bedford seems unlikely at present. Rail services in general are more likely to be cut. Welcome to Austerity++.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reports claim that Gove mimed sitting on a toilet and pulling the chain

    Pity he wasn't sitting in it. Has he ever got anything right?

    1. monty75

      Has he ever got anything right?

      His impression of children's TV character Pob is pretty bang on the money

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throughout history, it's been seen time and time again that economic growth happens off the back of cheap energy resources. Because energy is the baseline cost of everything. Cheap energy makes projects economically viable that previously were not. Successive governments have repeatedly failed to invest in cheap energy and instead steered the country down the path of increasingly expensive energy. The plan to fix all this is to rely on somebody inventing a new and lucrative technology that will solve all of the our problems - which is a bit like relying on winning the lottery to pay your mortgage.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      So ARM's low power design was all due to the 1984 miners strike ? Brilliant

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. theOtherJT

    They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

    ...and it never actually seems any closer to opening again.

    A quick google informs me that Oxford and Cambridge are more or less 65 miles apart as the crow flies, but the fastest actual route to get there involves driving 96 miles and includes going around part of the M25 which will take nearly 2 hours. If you want to take public transport it's even more dire taking 2 and a half hours and involving actually getting a train into London, getting the tube across the city, and then back out again from a different station.

    1. monty75

      Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

      Due to the free-for-all nature of 19th Century railway architecture it's almost impossible to make any East-West journey without having to go to London first

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

        Yes the network would have been much better if it had been planned by the central government in London for the convenience of MPs in the 1830s

      2. pjmp

        Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

        There was an Oxford to Cambridge line in 19th century, indeed it ws running till 1967 and I can recall its closure as a Cambridge resident.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

      I'm not against HS2 per se, but I always felt that upgrading the east west routes would of been far more cot effective

      Peterborough - Birmingham

      Manchester - Sheffield

      etc

      are basically rural lines that have not had investment in them since 1950s

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

        >I'm not against HS2 per se, but I always felt that upgrading the east west routes would of been far more cot effective

        The point of HS2 was to make Birmingham a London commuter town.

        That increases house prices in Birmingham by 100%

        That makes everyone (well proprty owners) in Birmingham rich and therefore will vote Tory.

        Somehow making everyone's house twice as expensive increases GDP as so makes the country richer (no I don't understand that either)

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

          @YAAC

          Some numbers: HS2 train frequency 14 trains per hour, 1000 seats per train so 14000 people per hour. Say arrival time in London is 9am. Suppose so early birds go for 7am start. 28000 people extra in a city of 1 million (plus another million in the hinterland) isn't going to make a *huge* amount of difference.

          What have I got wrong?

          PS: 45 min into Birmingham at 5pm then an hour or so to get anywhere else more than 5 miles outside the city. Local transport isn't great at present. Metro extension might help.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

            @keithpeter

            You may be confusing real estate prices with reality.

            Brummie estate agent: "House for sale, train to London = £££££££"

            Brummie home owner: "Yuppies can buy my house? I'll put it on the market for ££££££"

            You don't need anybody to actually commute to London, just the justification that they could

            1. keithpeter Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

              @YAAC

              But the value of a house is determined by what someone will pay for it n'est pas?

              So people can put their house on the market at some fabulous figure and then wait...

              I could be wrong. We shall see...

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

                >But the value of a house is determined by what someone will pay for it n'est pas?

                You would think so - but somebody here paid $2M for this

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

                  They didn't pay $2M for a home. They paid $2M for an empty lot with a pile of trash on it.

                  Not a lot of knock-it-down-and-build-to-suit left around the Bernal Heights/Noe Valley area. Location, location, location.

                  Note that for the price, I know where you can get 25 acres of woodlands and pasture, with water, for 1.5 million ... dump the other half million building a home, and you're golden. It's in Nicasio, not all that far North of the Golden Gate Bridge.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Upgrading rail lines

        If you do Peterborough->Brum then it should start at Felixstowe and electrify it all the way. The freight traffic alone will justify it but the crazed beancounters at the DfT use crooked models that are skewed to make any rail project like that uneconomic.

        As for Manchester to Sheffield, there was an electrified line between the two that was closed in 1976 by a Labor Government. Most of it is now a public footpath. The existing lines follow the valleys and are hard to properly upgrade to increase capacity. One slow 'All Stations' royally F's up the line for fast trains.

        Transport policy in this country is a hotchpotch of unjoined up non-thinking.

        Here in N.E. Hampshire the transport interchange at Aldershot Station is about to be 'F'd up. The land used by the bus station has been sold for more new apartments. the new must station will be a number of stops on an existing congested road. Progress? Yeah, 10 steps backwards.

      3. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

        Manchester - Sheffield

        That’d be NPR, which used sections of HS2 and connected people into HS2 stations as well as providing a 200mph West-East link.

        That’s been cancelled of course (technically “on” but reduced to a handful of upgrades). The cancellation of HS2 East nixed many of the bits that NPR used.

        Worth noting the Trans-Pennine route upgrades are also going ahead. Idea was that route would provide the local stopping service once through-services are taken off by NPR). No point trying to run fast services on a Victorian freight line. Of course without HS2/NPR you don’t get the capacity release from the through-services to make space for local & urban rail.

        This “we should spend HS2 on…” is nonsense. Over the HS2 build period Network Rail will spend >£200Bn upgrading the legacy network (I.e. double the HS2 budget). It’s not either/or - there’s money for both.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

      Surely the obvious solution is to move Cambridge. It's far too inconveniently located currently.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

        That was the idea.

        A bunch of Oxford students were being oppressed by the people of the town after a tiny little murder

        So they thought, we will move to the arse end of nowhere, that way nobody will ever come after us.

    4. JohnGrantNineTiles

      Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

      Actually the quickest route by road is via Northampton: A14-A45-A43.

      Building the western half of the railway (Oxford - Bletchley) and the eastern half of the road (A428, A421) doesn't seem like a great idea.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ha Ha

    "Winning!"

  7. Tim Almond

    You can't "build" silicon valley

    The stories of why certain industries are centred on a particular place are often too weird for words. Why is silicon valley in California? Because William Shockley loved his old mum. Why is Grasse in France the global centre of perfumes? Because they made excellent leather goods, but they smelled bad, so they started creating fragrances to cover the smell for the trip to Paris.

    It's almost impossible to predict any of this stuff, and especially which industries are going to be huge. And government are worse at it than anyone. Remember all the money pumped into Concorde. Look at how much we're blowing on HS2, even though commuting has just halved.

    I'm not even sure there's going to be a "silicon valley". Seems to me that people can work in all sorts of places remotely, so it's going to get spread around more.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: You can't "build" silicon valley

      > Remember all the money pumped into Concorde

      But Toulouse became the center of an international aircraft manufacturing superpower - I think we got quite a lot out of Concorde.

      Les Anglais on the other hand - "bof"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can't "build" silicon valley

      even though you come to the same conclusion as Gove, and was perilously close to a down vote, you got an upvote because you actually put some thought into why this investment was a bad idea.

      "Thought" and "Tory" are mutually exclusive....

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Silicon Valley?

      That's in Essex, isn't it? Lots of silicon valleys over there.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Silicon Valley?

        So after Silicon fen and Silicon Glen we get Silicon Trossachs ?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Silicon Valley?

          Trossachs? Is that another name for Neuticles?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silicon Valley?

        That's Silicone Valley.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silicon Valley?

        Lots of silicon valleys over there

        Yes, of the Silicone Sally variety...

  8. Securitymoose
    Facepalm

    What about Cambridge?

    Presumably the Government hasn't heard of this out-of-London powerhouse of technical innovation.

  9. Licenced_Radio_Nerd
    Flame

    Good riddance to deeply flawed plans!

    Many in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire do not want the rail link re-built, as it comes with the "bright idea" of over a million houses, and Bedfordshire is already being lost to swathes of concrete. Those creating the plan suggested a brand new settlement on the old Tempsford airfield. That settlement would need a major road built to the A1, with it routing over the river Great Ouse and/or over the East Coast Mainline. You can sit for 10+ minutes at the current level-crossing waiting for the trains to get out of the way. The A1 barely copes with the mad levels of traffic on it now. Plans to re-route it (through a different part of Bedfordshire) and upgrade to motorway keep being shelved as too expensive.

    The proposal on the rail routes have met with serious opposition. Instead of tunnelling out of Bedford, they have proposed the cheaper option of planting a viaduct through people's gardens. There are arguments over whether it should route via Cambourne. Cambridgeshire councils have suggested they would rather build another guided bus-way, which will probably arrive late, over budget, and flood. There has also been a suggestion to route the railway via Bassingbourne and build thousands of houses on the former MoD site. Because that is what we need: more mouths to feed, more people wanting a doctor/dentist, more people wanting power. Biggleswade (my home town) is now looking at proposals to build a new National Grid sub-station to the east of town to cope with the power demands now being placed on the local networks. The 33 kV feeds from near Hitchin and near Eaton Ford are unable to meet future demand, so the area now needs its own tap on the 440 kV grid running past.

    So no thanks to the railway. Please spend the money elsewhere. East Anglia is full!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good riddance to deeply flawed plans!

      I call on the Nimbys of Cambridgeshire to go further.

      Cut all links to London and allow it to return to the rural idle it once was.

      The people of Norfolk can go back to doing whatever it is they do with reeds and the people of Ely can go back to doing whatever it was they used to do with their sisters.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Good riddance to deeply flawed plans!

        rural idyl

        ...or perhaps it was idle, you know the area far better than I do

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Leave the Past to the Dinosaurs Pimping Deficit Spending and Drowning in Debt

    The magic key to future virtually supported technological success on a vast epic scale on multiple global stages is to practically ignore Parliamentary government and its signed up job seekers on public benefits, for that is exactly what Members of Parliament and their SpAds and lackeys really are, and approach that which you have identified as needing government type help yourself, with your proposals shared to be dangled in front of governments to provide that ethereal cash which central and national banks conjure up out of thin air to supply needs and feeds and seeds ..... if the starved of future investment private and pirate sectors are disinclined to lead governments by the nose into fields in which leadership delivers novel opportunities and solutions to problems not yet encountered.

    1. jollyboyspecial

      Re: Leave the Past to the Dinosaurs Pimping Deficit Spending and Drowning in Debt

      It is a perennial British problem that people don't understand that this sort of thing is organic. Silicon valley didn't happen because a bunch of local councillors begged Central government for money. But British politicians always seem believe that you can replicate and even exceed successes achieved in foreign countries if only you throw a big enough grant at it.

      Of course the sad thing for people like Gove is that not long ago this sort of thing would probably have attracted a huge EU grant. It would probably still have ended up a huge white elephant just like so many grant funded grand projects before it.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Leave the Past to the Dinosaurs Pimping Deficit Spending and Drowning in Debt

      And Parliamentarians wonder why they are despised in the country where hardships abound and jobs disappear or pay peanuts ........Cuckoos in the Nest/Parasites’R'Us

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leave the Past to the Dinosaurs Pimping Deficit Spending and Drowning in Debt

        Steve Baker will fixit. He might need to extend his term indefinitely to accomplish that, but, hey-ho...............

  11. jollyboyspecial

    Spending further north? Don't make me laugh. The government have cancelled far more spending in the North than the South East.

    Or maybe the problem is that Oxford and Cambridge aren't far enough South and East.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Cambridge is in the North

      Well it's North of London's (Stansted) airport

    2. Dr. G. Freeman

      I remember getting a call from a recruiter early turn of the century (2004-5) for a job in Cambridge, was told it was commuting distance from Scotland (they were based in Nodnol), so wouldn't get relocating money.

  12. steelpillow Silver badge
    Boffin

    As old as the arc

    The Oxford-Cambridge transport link has been mooted for as long as I can remember (and that goes back to the 1950s). Occasionally some government reinvents the idea, pushes it around a while and then decides it can't be arsed to cough up the cash. One time it got rolled in with an east-west dual carriageway link from Norwich to Wales. The Department of Transport insanely kept the plan secret and built out bits of it wherever they could on any pretext they could think up. Of course, when the ruse was discovered, the link drew down universal hate and that was that for the next twenty years. And so on. Road, rail, air, they've all gone through the mill. I'm just waiting for the Virgin Hyperloop to roll up - and away again.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: As old as the arc

      There was an Oxford/Cambridge rail link but it got run down and closed because back then in the 1960s the rail network Beeching style was seen as an extension of the London Underground. You don't need a direct link when you can get a train to Paddington, the Underground to Liverpool Street and then a train to Cambridge, or Bletchley or where ever.

      This might sound preposterous these days but that's honestly how decision makers thought back then.

  13. martinusher Silver badge

    Cart and Horse

    The area we call Silicon Valley wasn't created, it evolved due to a combination of circumstances. The area used to be agricultural -- orchards -- so land was relatively cheap so it was easy to set up a 'tech' company building equipment for the military (the primary customer after the war). Universities like Stanford benefited from this symbiosis between academic research and business development.

    Curiously enough, the UK has had similar links. They're not as sexy as the Bay Area and they suffered from prime neglect and under investment -- if it didn't produce an immediate RoI then it was a waste and, anyway, we can buy from the US. So, for example, the productive partnership between Ferranti/ICL and Manchester University was dissolved (the Ferranti works has long gone; the site is now a bunch of studios turning out adverts and budget soap operas). There are probably similar situations in both electronics and other industries like pharma (ARM?) but the important thing is that they were not created by fiat but evolved out of a productive partnership.

    The problem we have today is that much of the work that used to be concentrated in places like the Bay Area can be done anywhere. A big corporate campus is more about vanity, about promoting a presence, than actually getting work done. Now work does matter where things actually get made, and those facilities are sited where the conditions are most favorable.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Cart and Horse

      The shocking truth about the "Motorsports triangle", which goes between Woking in Surrey, to Milton Keynes and across west into Oxfordshire is so successful in motor racing because in the UK we train engineers in universities then turn them out into a nation that barely any aero or motor industry left. So they are engaged in motor sports.

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    To late

    We had ARM but they let that go. We need to help make board manufacturing be profitable yet affordable in the UK so people don't keep ordering from the likes of PCBway from China. Even Alan Sugar said back in the 80s the reason his computers were made abroad and not in the UK was because of a tax on electronics made in the UK I believe it was (interview is on YouTube) but if they were imported then there was no tax.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The main asset of Silicon Valley, just as with Hollywood, is the industry's main capital sources spend a lot of time there. Many, many ideas can be backed quickly, with conversations taking place, deals signed and money released much faster than in a lot of places.

    As much as I wish it were otherwise, I don't believe that we in England value engineers much (what? Isn't that someone who fixes your car?) compared to PPE grads, think entrepreneurialism and moon-shooting are a good idea, and even think that financial success is something to be strived for. Just get a degree, get a job, and get complaining because other people created more value and so have more money than you do.

    1. jake Silver badge

      And the reason we hang out here?

      The weather. Really.

      The Hollywood folks are a bad example ... The early film studios tried to establish a foothold here in Northern California, but we're too laid back for those uptight weirdos, so they ran off to LA with their tails between their legs a century or so ago. Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, KBE did some of his best work up here; he loved Niles Canyon. Some say he never recovered after the forced move South.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        I had always understood that Hollywood was chosen for the film industry because the early movie cameras and film needed didn't work so well unless there was plenty of bright sunlight.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "I had always understood that Hollywood was chosen for the film industry because the early movie cameras and film needed didn't work so well unless there was plenty of bright sunlight."

          If that were true, the early film industry wouldn't have started in New Jersey.

          It was a combination of cost, weather, space (lots of widely varying locations in California), and an extreme lack of East Coast politics.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            And distance from Edison's (inventor of film sprockets) patent lawyers

            Funny how Hollywood was built on piracy

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Exact Circus
    Pint

    This may be a blessing in disguise. Britain has a long history of being at the start of new insights in technology. Let the Oxbridge et al brains do it their own way.

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