back to article Arm founder says the UK has no chance of tech sovereignty

Arm and Acorn co-founder Hermann Hauser says the UK has "no chance in hell" of being technologically self-reliant, stressing the need for European countries to have their own access to critical technologies so they are not quite so dependent on the US. The inventor and entrepreneur was speaking at Bloomberg's Technology Summit …

  1. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

    Somehow that combination tells us everything we need to know about where this government ( in it's various phases) sees technology.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

      Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

      Founded: 14 July 1997

      Who was in power on the 14th of July 1997? Now you can blame them for not splitting it off to it's own department, but...

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        Fair point, but 25 years ago digital technology was still quite new, shiny and a bit of a novelty. More about surfing web sites than running businesses in "the cloud". The "digital" in the title was perceived in terms of Sky TV. The STEM bit was not really in politician's or the public's heads It was not seen as being the key to the entire nation's prosperity.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          25 years ago, here's a calculator.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            Typo- daughter born in 1995 is in her 20s. Corrected.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

              What, you've "corrected" your daughter for being born in the nineties? That's a bit extreme, isn't it?

          2. Jan 0 Silver badge

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            Re: 25 years ago:

            i was running Linux at home and work and had a free login on the Telegraph website. Programmable calculators were at least 20 years older!

        2. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          Time gets away with you. 25 years ago it was very obvious which way things were going. Maybe 35 people were still thinking in terms of mainframes and wireline phones but even then it was obvious that communications was going to be important.

          Back then in the UK at least 'digital' meant Teletext for most people.

          FWIW I bought my first proper PC 40 years ago. It was a CP/M machine (an Osborne) and it couid, and did, useful work.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            Forty years ago, it was obvious to you (I would say us but I wasn't around then) that computers would be critical because we liked them and knew a lot about them. We're not talking about those people. We're not even talking about the general public. We're talking about politicians, who display with some frequency that they don't know how technological things work at multiple levels. They were one of the last groups that had anything to do with it to realize what technology would come to mean after the "expensive metal stuff the defense and intelligence people ask us to fund" phase. It's pretty clear that when DCMS was organized, they weren't expecting that department to spend a lot of its time with details like what architecture and manufacturing systems were used for processors.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

              In Denmark, forty years ago, IT was fairly widespread if mainly as centralised systems. It was used in the public administration (the population register was from the late sixties), banks, and Maersk Line found it necessary to have an IT subsidiary in 1975.

              Politicians knew about it.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

                "Politicians knew about it."

                British politicians are largely anti-intellectual and regard engineering, STEM, etc on par with something found on your shoe after following the huskies

                Australian ones are worse, American ones only care if it makes them money

                Somehow as far as they're concerned a degree in ancient greek or "media studies" makes one a better administrator/leader/tech visionary than an actual business/engineering/administration background

                A media studies one might give an appreciation of the uses and dangers of propaganda, but politicians seem to be using that as instructions to produce more pervasive propaganda rather than how to resist it

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            "Time gets away with you. 25 years ago it was very obvious which way things were going."

            To us nerds, sure. A quarter century ago was 1997, which is about when "the internet" started to take off with the general public (all those AOL CDs). Demon had been around for a while, for those who could configure their, what was it, SLIP or PPP in those days? But these CDs offered a pointy clicky way to get ordinary people online. Those who figured The Internet was the 'e' icon. Google didn't even exist, and when it arrived, everybody liked it because it loaded quickly, was lean, and not stuffed with advertising (how things change!). We remember that because we were there.

            Now ask yourself, which average politician do you think has an actual clue about this sort of stuff? Putting back doors into encryption and having a register to access pron is about their speed. So yes, it makes sense to have a minister for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in the mind of government. That's Sky TV, or maybe BBC/ITV digital or something. "The Internet" is just the way people can ask for what they want to watch (as opposed to fixed broadcasting) and something mumble mumble piracy mumble kiddie pron mumble.

        3. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          Ferranti had collapsed a decade earlier thanks to a fraud job sanctioned by the US government, they unwittingly found themselves caught up in the Iran Contra affair. They were the best British hope in electronics and semiconductors.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          (Trigger warning: I'm not an IT professional)

          25 years ago I had a desk top PC on my desk at work, as did all my colleagues, and I had my own home PC.

          Work use included office based applications, email, generating borehole log records (Specialist software), CAD. So the tech was still quite new, yes, but not a novelty; it was everyday.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            As you say 25 years ago PCs were normal.

            The IBM PC was already 14.

            I'd had a home Internet connection for 5 years (Demon or course)

            We'd moved a long way from home computers meaning a ZX80.

            Linux was easy for just about anyone to install.

            I think even MS had acknowledged that the Internet was here to stay.

            But politicians of all bents seem to be as technologically ignorant now as they did then.

            The current crowd can't even get around to appointing a science minister. I was surprised to find there is a shadow minister and she's even got a relevant background but I don't recall ever hearing anything from her. Perhaps the mainstream media ignore her for having an engineering background.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

              I think the difference is between having that stuff and seeing it as being the keystone in future development. Hence the time that Microsoft almost missed the Internet bus. And Politicians, like generals, do tend to be fighting the last war, not the next one.

        5. Richard Pennington 1

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          I'm retired now, but it was ever thus. As a STEM nerd, it always annoyed me that I would join a UK computer company, only for it to morph into a sales arm of a US giant.

          I was an out-and-out techie, and was never interested in sales, marketing or management. These days it would be attributed to some position on the autistic spectrum.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        Subsequent governments have been unable reorganise the DCMS because.....

        no reason

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          Why break up "The Department of Fun"?

      3. Dacarlo

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        Also from the 90s

        The Japanese have a saying, "Fix the problem, not the blame". Find out what's fucked up and fix it. Nobody gets blamed. We're always after who fucked up. Their way is better.

        Sir Sean Connery - Capt. John Connor in Rising Sun.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          Arguably we're always after someone to scapegoat for the failure. (Deputy heads will rolll as they used to say in the BBC).

      4. rg287

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        Who was in power on the 14th of July 1997? Now you can blame them for not splitting it off to it's own department, but...

        I think you'll find that July 1997 saw the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, merging the Department of National Heritage (DNH) with the Ministers for Art and for Sport.

        An inter-departmental land-grab in 2017 saw it re-branded as "Digital" when they nicked responsibility for "digital economy" policy from BIS and sponsorship of the ICO from the Ministry of Justice, just in time for Matt "I've got an app" Hancock to get involved...

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

      Indeed.

      The Ministry of Tik Tok in charge of technology.

      That'll go well . . .

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        The UK Chips Act ...

        "Do you want salt and vinegar on that?"

    3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

      I think that's the problem. It may be that the Digital part of DCMS covers technology, but people (and the government, seemingly) don't see it that way. They see the word "Digital" and they think of Netflix/Facebook/Tik Tok/Twitter or whatever the latest social media site is. Assuming they think of hardware or software, it'll be their phone and whatever that is running.

      We need a proper ministry dedicated to Technology and Science. We also need proper investment in research and development, but that's not likely to come soon.

      1. rg287

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        "Digital Economy" policy was under BIS (Business, Innovation & Skills) until 2017. Some might argue that BIS aren't much better, but it did at least make some logical sense.

        There was a bit of inter-departmental politicking which dragged "Digital" into "Culture, Media & Sport", along with sponsorship of the ICO (previously with the Justice Ministry).

      2. FarnworthexPat

        Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

        "We need a proper ministry dedicated to Technology and Science."

        Something along the lines of a Ministry of Technology. Established in 1964 by Harold Wilson and headed by Tony Benn M.P.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

          > Something along the lines of a Ministry of Technology. Established in 1964 by Harold Wilson and headed by Tony Benn M.P.

          Not initially although he did later. To start with it was headed by some bloke they appointed to the House of Lords saves needing to get people elected. It was also headed at one time by Stonehouse who was famous for "killing things off".

          Isn't this the department which fought to have TSR-2 killed? A project which spanned across an election so was of no interest.

          Tony Benn of course tried but failed to kill Concorde but only because they couldn't get out of the deal they'd signed with the French.

          Even the Wiki page for the department can't find a single thing to say about it's achievements. They found a photo of a mobile cinema instead.

          A Ministry of Technology would be a great thing to have but not if it's staffed by people who don't understand it and are primarily interested in killing off any potentially useful project. Such a ministry would need to be staffed by people with the right interests and have the appointed minister act as champion for their causes rather than someone who meddles in their affairs.

          As others have pointed out, Politicians can't see beyond the next election and there are very few things they can usefully do within the life of a parliament.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

            There's that. And also an establishment (MPs' and senior civil servants') mistrust of anyone who actually has knowledge and interest in a subject. It has its roots in a mixture of the culture of amateurism -cf Chariots of Fire- that has never quite gone away at the high society levels imho, and a fear of anyone who knows more than themselves.

    4. Richard Pennington 1

      Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

      As I have posted before, culture media is what is used to grow bacteria.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Strategy means long term planning

    But in the UK politicians are incapable of looking beyond the next general election.

    1. Tubz Bronze badge

      Re: Strategy means long term planning

      or a future directorship with a company they sold off or had oversight of. Too many turn up on the payroll in dodgy titles jobs that have no real benefit or any physical work for a company except to pay a backhander, sorry I mean wage.

    2. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Strategy means long term planning

      "But in the UK politicians are incapable of looking beyond the next general election."

      Wow, i really could envy you guys. In germany, the current government doesnt seem to care at all about re-elections, which may explain the seppuku style haphazard panic driven daily inconsistencies we call "politics" here.

      While the french "danser sur un volcan" (dancing on a volcano) might seem appropriate, i would refer to the german saying "Gestern standen wir direkt vorm Abgrund, heute sind wir einen großen Schritt weiter (Yesterday, we were standing directly on the edge of the abyss, today we took a big step forward.) to describe whats happening in these idiotic times of now.

      Siemens was involved in several failed ideas concerning chip foundries, with expensive help from toshiba (Light lithography versus X-ray lithography was an issue there) in the 1990ies. Never heard from this again.

      But dont fret, germany was also unable to have anything like a ministry for digital/technology (Though we had a research ministry once "Bundesforschungsministerium" which sadly was infested with "good chums" like minister Rexroth (As in Bosch-Rexroth corporation)).

      We have some kind of ministry for information security (BSI, Bundesministerium für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik) but this nicely sounding ministry was involved in development of the state trojan /"Bundestrojaner" and features a very blind eye when it comes to illegal fun by "allies and friends" like spying on Merkels smartphone by the USA.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Not just tech

    The UK's policy has long been it doesn't matter who owns it as long as they bring the money... that works until the government scares the people with money with crazy referendums and budgets.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Not just tech

      Or until they realise that very few nations own an awful lot of it and the they might not play very nice. To be fair, it's not just the UK. German reliance on Russian fuel wasn't too clever with hindsight.

      1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

        Re: Not just tech

        Without Russian fuel Germany would not be competitive - as it is now finding out. German industry as a whole is being damaged. It's all very well saying "buy more expensive options", fine. But then watch as the industries move to where the fuel options are already cheaper. Do you know which country is benefitting from this? The USA.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Not just tech

          I think we have to remember that oil and gas is priced on the global market and the Russians had no reason to dump any oil or gas because of Germany or any other country.

          What makes it competitive for the buyer is the way it's transported, in pipes to the customer.

          In the same way Britain will buy from Norway.

          And Norway is building up their infrastructure, and there is also Algeria.

          It will take some time for Europe to switch providers and the decrease of using of oil and gas will get a boost.

          In the long run Russia will be the big loser.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: Not just tech

            >n the long run Russia will be the big loser.

            There is this place called "the rest of the world". Russia is also not just a oil and gas supplier like the Gulf countries, it has a lot of thing things going for it. I'd suggest that what holds it back is a lack of population -- its got a lot of space for not that many people (granted that a lot of that space isn't what many would call 'habitable' but that goes for a lot of the world, including large tracts of the US and Canada).

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Not just tech

              Russia has very little going for it. Its economy is way overdependent on oil, gas and a few other natural resources, but they lack the technology to fully exploit the resources in its large landmass by itself. The sanctions resulting in western oil & gas companies pulling out will crush that business by the end of the decade, as they will be unable to develop new wells fast enough to keep pace as existing wells run dry.

              What's worse, Russia is suffering a huge brain drain as a lot of educated Russians left when the war and sanctions started, now hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) more are or will be leaving to avoid being conscripted to fight for Putin's lost cause.

              The only thing Russia has going for it going forward is a huge land mass, and the ability to grow food on it. Putin wanted to get Russia's glory days back. He will succeed, they will be getting back to their glory days under Peter the Great when they had a heavily agrarian economy. Having a 18th century economy in the 21st century won't be anything to brag about though.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not just tech

                Like any great buddy orientated murder the dissenters dictatorship masquerading as a democracy, corruption is rampant and is starting to bite them on the arse.

                There's plenty of stories of troops having sold components leaving the equipment in storage unable to be brought into service. Money for maintenance pocketed and lies fed upstream etc. It will be the same across many parts of the economy. They're f*cked.

                1. DS999 Silver badge

                  Re: Not just tech

                  Yes that, or oligarchs substituting cheap substandard components when they are made (while charging Russia for equipment made with all the top of the line parts) so they fail quickly in the field. They didn't learn the lesson from US weapons manufacturers, and just overcharge up front by so much they can afford to use all the top quality parts without cutting into profit margins to any noticeable extent.

                  They figured this stuff was mostly going to sit in storage or be used lightly for training, so those issues wouldn't be found out. Now that they are being used 24x7 in a hot war, that's coming back to bite them in a big way and equipment is failing as fast as they can deploy replacements to the front lines - that's a big reason Putin's forces have been unable to make any progress even in situations where they had a tactical advantage.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not just tech

              I'd suggest that what holds it back is Putin and thugs.

              1. fajensen

                Re: Not just tech

                That's all there is; Russia is like the Tory party - every person that might get an idea that the leadership might nok like has been purged and theres nothing left apart from idiot thugs!

          2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

            Re: Not just tech

            You are correct about pipelines, and that is why oil and gas prices will not become cheaper in Europe. As Canada found out with pipelines, so desperate to export oil that they put it on railway tankers, nothing competes. It doesn't matter how many more gas and oil tankers there are, the price will not come down by much. Gas from Qatar will not be as cheap as Russian gas even if they go 100% over to it. So Europe is saddling itself with permanently higher gas and oil costs.

          3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: Not just tech

            I think you will find that the "global market" does not mean a global price. Germany paid a lot less for it's gas that neighboring nations.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Not just tech

              Oil is a global market because it is easy (relatively speaking) to move around on tankers. The WTI price in the US is lower than the Brent price in the EU by a few dollars/pounds/euros because the US produces all the oil it needs and there is less shipping involved. But the price can't diverge too much because it only costs a few dollars per barrel to ship it halfway around the world and there are plenty of tankers to carry it.

              Gas is different because while it is possible to move around on tankers there is much less infrastructure (both facilities to deal with it, and tankers able to carry it) to do so, so mainly it is only available where pipelines go. Gas is FAR cheaper in the US than in Europe (even before Putin's lost cause) and has been for years because the US produces more than it needs, which is why the industry has been building infrastructure for CNG tankers. Europe wasn't looked at as being a major market for those tankers at the time, of course.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just tech

          Oh right, Germany owes all it's export prowess to Russia. Funny how Russia has got zero manufacturing exports, yet a ton of cheap oil and gas.

          1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

            Re: Not just tech

            That is not what I wrote. Germany depends on low energy costs for its industry. Why do you think Nord Stream 2 was being built?

            1. juice

              Re: Not just tech

              > That is not what I wrote. Germany depends on low energy costs for its industry. Why do you think Nord Stream 2 was being built?

              Cheap energy is a major factor the entire world over, both for transportation and manufacturing.

              Equally, (or at least: as I understand it): a big part of the drive to use Russian imports was to develop stronger economic ties which would both strengthen the Russian economy and build better ties with the EU.

              All of which was theoretically going to reduce the risk of Russia feeling insecure and therefore flexing it's military muscles.

              Alas, in practice, all the new money was sized on by the now-oligarchs. And with Putin and his allies having generally come up via the KGB, they institutionally tend towards paranoia, so rather than working to build up the relationship, they're instead treating the closer ties with the EU as an economic weapon which can be used to force the EU into submission...

            2. Shalghar Bronze badge

              Re: Not just tech

              "Why do you think Nord Stream 2 was being built?"

              Apart from getting a higher transfer volume ?

              To counter the constant theft of gas and the threats of closing the pipeline by the nowadays heroic icon "for freedom" called Ukraine.

              Go ahead, blame a singular person for a messed up situation that has been escalated at least since 1996, as far as my dead slices of tree collection (so called "books") ranges back.

              The idea from the 1970ies was "Wandel durch Annäherung", roughly translated "transformation through getting closer". Basically the same concept like partner cities and students exchange, get to know the people, not the propaganda.

              Even in the coldest times of the cold war, the evil russians kept their side of the treaties, this reliability has vanished which may have something to to with the silly idea of sanctions warfare, which was begun by the "free west".

              Apart from oil and gas, palladium, grain, fertilizer, reare earth minerals, uranium both crude and refined are on the list of things delivered until the foolish escalation recently. But go ahead reduce a complex situation on "putin", ignore the escalation since 1996 by "the good guys" and the world is much easier to hate on.

      2. SImon Hobson

        Re: Not just tech

        German reliance on Russian fuel wasn't too clever with hindsight.

        As well as the comments already made, that by lowering costs it allowed their industry to be competitive, it caused another effect that is compounding the problems they now face. Because they had seemingly secure supplies of cheap energy, it meant that the anti-nuclear lobby didn't need to push hard to get Germany to ditch nuclear. Had they had the foresight to realise that diverse energy supplies are a good thing, they'd have kept their nukes and wouldn't be in such a bad situation now.

        It's a country scale version of tidying up at home. I've found that if I tidy up and actually throw anything away - I'll find out shortly afterwards that I have a use for that recently disposed of thing !

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Not just tech

          France kept its nukes, but far too many are closed for maintenance, closed for cleaning, closed because it's a weekday, etc etc. A cheap supply of gas covered the deficit. Now there's no gas and a bunch of nukes that aren't ready to fill the demand.

          So, really, I think everybody was over-reliant on the cheap gas.

        2. fajensen

          Re: Not just tech

          Apart from nuclear power in its current configuration is being just stupid and therefore impossible to scale up, there is also the wee problem that the uranium fuel also comes from Russia.

          1. SImon Hobson

            Re: Not just tech

            Actually, Russia is only one of many countries with Uranium - and is not even close to the top.

            Top of the list is ex Soviet Union Kazakhstan, followed by Australia, Namibia, Canada, ...

            Source

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Holmes

    Oh joy...

    It concluded by stating that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was working on a semiconductor strategy "to be published shortly," but this has yet to materialize.

    Like so many, many reports expected from the current leadership... And the previous one.... And the one before that.

    I wonder if there's somewhere we can go to get updates on all of these promised reports?

  5. Empire of the Pussycat

    If only there were some nearby union of democratic nations...

    ...that we could build and could share the infrastructure with.

    Perhaps even one with a member that makes the stuff essential for advanced chip production.

    1. CrackedNoggin

      Re: If only there were some nearby union of democratic nations...

      Dig a tunnel under the channel and you might bump into one. Oh, already did?

  6. Andy 73 Silver badge

    It's not clear..

    ..how much of this article is actually what Hauser said, and how much is the author editorialising.

    He (Hauser) is right of course - we can't be sovereign, and the fantasies of Eurocrats that maybe they can are equally nonsensical. It takes a moment to look at the supply chains, materials, skills and established players to see that no nation on this planet is going to be able to "go it alone". Not the US, not China.

    The question then becomes what is the strategy that helps the UK to grow and remain healthy? Frankly the idea of starting to build fabs three years after a supply shock hit is ridiculous (unless you happen to be a fab-maker, in which case you're going to be paid very well for building fabs, many of which are going to be unprofitable). What we do need is a healthy, constant influx of new talent - right across the board, and not just in current trendy niches. ARM wasn't successful through design - it was the result of thousands of small innovative companies all taking different approaches to the booming tech scene. One was successful, but it's survivorship bias to assume we could measure what they did and recreate it. We need to get away from the idea that we 'pick the winner' and decide the perfect tech strategy that will deliver the next ARM. Instead, we should be fostering the sort of tech evolutionary slime pit where thousands of different approaches allow a tiny handful to out-compete the rest.

    Most of these discussions descend into people declaring their favourite tech sector and how it should be specifically supported. Perhaps we should be looking at ways to increase the overall activity across the entire industry, so value can be created and some might be retained. That goes from college research and courses, through to infrastructure investment and on into support for blue sky innovation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not clear..

      You don't need to be N. Korea type make everything yourself to need home grown tech.

      If the only well paid jobs in your economy are finance, then why should anyone smart study STEM?

      University becomes something you do to make the contacts that are going to help you in the city. That works for a small population - but if your country doesn't need 30 million hedge fund managers - then you have a small problem.

      1. Andy 73 Silver badge

        Re: It's not clear..

        There are quite a lot of very well paid tech jobs in the UK - we have a national shortage of skilled workers and salaries are competitive.

        From an innovation perspective you could argue that the current very low unemployment rate amongst tech workers is actually problematic. There is very little incentive for a skilled developer to work on their own or local new tech, when there are plenty of extremely well paid roles within existing staid and stable companies.

        Or to put it another way, why put yourself in a high risk, low income position attempting to create a competitor to Google, when Google themselves will give you a six figure salary and the promise of long term employment right here?

        The 80s home computer revolution that gave rise to ARM directly resulted from a large number of skilled technologists being in a position where taking a risk on their own venture was an attractive choice. Relatively low living costs, housing and a much narrower spread of salaries significantly reduced the gap between 'risky' and 'normal' jobs. Not only that, but job stability was not really a thing people expected.

        If the only reason to study STEM is 'for the money', then no matter what we do, we're going to end up with an influx of workers who are only interested in extracting value, not creating it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not clear..

          Working for a large company can still be creating value. What is "extracting value"? Anything other than inventing the wheel?

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: It's not clear..

          We also have a national shortage of employers willing to get off their areses and and actually employ those skilled workers.

      2. CrackedNoggin

        Re: It's not clear..

        Exactly! Winners US and UK both produce about 8-10% of their GDP from each of financial services and manufacturing. In contrast those losers Germany and Japan produce about 4% from financial services and 18-20% from manufacturing.

        The finance money was easy but depends on a rising bubble and/or dirty rubles.

        In contrast, the yen has fallen about the same amount as the pound (rel to $, 40% since Jan), and while it is painful for consumers, it's also a huge boost for manufacturing exporters, because Japan adds a lot of value to their exports.

      3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: It's not clear..

        unless you start growing a lot of hedges in the countryside to make the UK greener...

        (no too green mind you, don't go all the way to emerald)

  7. Altrux

    Selling Britain by the shilling

    Foreign corporate raiding of our remaining tech and engineering jewels can only accelerate now: the crashing stock market and tanking pound makes everything an easy and cheap takeover target....

    1. NXM

      Re: Selling Britain by the shilling

      I think this an actual aim of the current collection of fools in government. Crash the pound, foreign speculators buy UK companies and asset-strip them. Pass it all off as inward investment.

      My other theory is that they're running a slash & burn routine so labour is voted in and have to pay the debts, causing dissatisfaction among the voters over increased taxes so the Tories win the election after. That would require some sort of forward planning, which the current PM seems incapable of, but it would mean she already knows she's lost the next election.

  8. karlkarl Silver badge

    I feel tech sovereignty is actually very easy. The issue is that people don't like to settle for old and stable and instead want more, MORE, *MORE*.

    Worst case scenario we could go back to z80 and build up again. These are easy to fabricate, well reverse engineered, already have some decent (albeit slightly bitrotted) software.

    It could probably even be done by a single person!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Z80?

      I have an abacus somewhere. No worries about battery life. Low environmental impact, all parts recyclable.

      Add the two cans and a long length of string and we're all set.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Abacus ? Filthy foreign stuff. When we are the world leaders in stone circles and are ready to export them to anywhere that stones can be dragged.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          I think you'll find that the Gauls re the leaders there.

          See picture top right.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_the_Gaul

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Perhaps for individual personal Menhirs (although there are concerns about the use of performance enhancing drugs) but if you need an installation at the knapping edge of megalithic technology

            1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Fuzix for the post-societal collapse win.

  9. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    The UK these days, and for decades

    ... has not been interested in technology. It (the establishment) sees fast money as success. Hence we see the most ugly buildings in the world being built along the Thames because there is lots of money in that. Hot and usually dirty money only became an issue in the UK with the war in Ukraine. Don't worry, there's still plenty more dirty money coming in to the UK, buying up property and inflating prices.

    About 20 years ago I was party to a conversation between some other people and their bankers. The bankers basically said "stay away from manufacturing". I pointed out the clothes they were wearing were manufactured. But it was indicative of their thinking that they saw and see manufacturing as unimportant. Hence instead of being a nation of factories we are a nation of resellers of goods made elsewhere.

    The top countries with the now rarely-reported current account balances are China, Germany, and Japan. What do they do? They manufacture and export in large quantities. Which countries have the largest deficit? The USA and the UK. What do we do? We import, often things which were invented here. But along came and come morons like John Harvey Jones. Sell it off, buy it in, you (the top 1%) can be rich and eff everybody else.

    The money grabbers have taken over the long term policies of the UK and the USA. Did you know that every child born in the USA today already has about $40,000 debt around its neck? Don't worry, they'll grow up and keep paying. It is not something to be positive about. It is the sort of thing which makes me despair. There is absolutely no upside to the amount of debt which the USA (and the UK) have. Now the UK has added more. Congratulations.

    So what does this have to do with Arm? The long term deep thinking in the establishment is that it does not matter. Forget what politicians say, because those are only words. They want a soundbite to make it seem as though they are doing something. If you look at the Latina nuclear power plant in Italy, it was mostly built by British companies (whatever you happen to think of nuclear power in general). Now we have to have the French and Chinese build our power stations.

    When one reads accounts of crappy bankers getting £500,000 bonuses for nothing more than financial slight of hand, why would anyone care about designing computer chips?

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: The UK these days, and for decades

      I have to agree. The emphasis in policy and self-congratulatory speeches since the 1980s even, has been on The City and Financial Services. Mostly centred on London, of course, so not adding much employment elsewhere. And in recent years has employed fewer people using more tech, even here.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The UK these days, and for decades

      I agree with you, but what does manufacturing have to do with ARM?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The UK these days, and for decades

        Manufacturing doesn't have to involve cast iron these days

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: The UK these days, and for decades

          Manufacturing doesn't have to involve cast iron these days

          Brass is good too.

      2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

        Re: The UK these days, and for decades

        YAAC has answered for me. But I did write about what this has to do with Arm. The politicians are just making noise. They do not actually really truthfully care tuppence.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: The UK these days, and for decades

          ARM is IP. It's a service industry.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: The UK these days, and for decades

            So if they dabbed the chip locally most if the value would be in the silicon not the IP, and they would be a manufacturer?

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: The UK these days, and for decades

              No. The value would be between the two, and if they manufactured their own chips but kept all of ARM's existing business around, it would probably still be mostly IP. ARM's cores are manufactured by so many people that just having some fabs wouldn't make that their main business. If they forbade anyone else from making them, then it would still be a lot of IP, because their chips' value would be in the architecture they created. Places like TSMC are mostly fabs without any chip design IP. Places like Samsung have some of each, but Samsung has more fabrication capacity than designs for CPUs (other chips may vary).

              If we insist on using a simplistic "agriculture, manufacturing, services" trichotomy to categorizing all economic activity, ARM's work is services. It's not a great categorization system, if you ask me. We could try a new one based on creation vs manipulation, but there would be a lot of definitional questions, so maybe it's easier not to.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The UK these days, and for decades

      "But along came and come morons like John Harvey Jones."

      To be fair to him, he didn't create the situation where so many public companies in the UK were worth less as a going concern than as a collection of second-hand assets. He was merely non-moronic enough to capitalise on the situation. Maybe he should have "turned them around", but that's pretty much what the original management had spent the previous 30 years failing to do, so what were the odds that he'd succeed?

      The 80s happened the way they did because the 50s, 60s and 70s had left the UK with pretty much the same economy that they had at the end of WW2, but without the captive markets of the empire to prop it up. Meanwhile, over the same period, the Germans had been forced to build a modern economy.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: The UK these days, and for decades

        It also helped Germany that most people with ambition went into business and industry, politics or armed forces were not so tempting.

    4. rg287

      Re: The UK these days, and for decades

      But it was indicative of their thinking that they saw and see manufacturing as unimportant. Hence instead of being a nation of factories we are a nation of resellers of goods made elsewhere.

      Indeed. There are a couple of huge new industrial parks going up near me. Almost universally warehousing & logistics for national retail brands as well as the B2B logistics people that support them. This is not entirely stupid - we're quite well located on a major motorway junction and if I were in shipping/logistics/distribution then I'd put stuff here as well.

      But it is thoroughly depressing that there is barely one factory making something for every 10 warehouses moving stuff around. This isn't to disparage logistics either - logistics is important. Vital. But the ratios seem out of kilter. Not enough productive industry, too much moving of stuff that's been made (had the value added) elsewhere. Whilst it's also easy to pick up casual work picking-and-packing (which suits a lot of students as well as low-skilled workers), it also seems to be leading (well, maybe chicken-egg on cause/effect) to a bit of a local brain-drain. Not enough skilled jobs to stop people moving out to Salford, Bristol or London.

      Or the local area might just be getting ratio'd and my anecdotal observations might be unrepresentative. But I fear not.

    5. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The UK these days, and for decades

      The most important thing is that the company be listed on the London Stock Exchange, so that bankers can profit!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    quite

    well, my former employer was something of a last man standing in the British silicon space, only to be sold to mysterious Chinese investors.. which is probably quite a bit worse than being sold to softbank or as supposedly nearly happened, Apple. Now they can effectively have "in house" chinese chips.. which are actually developed abroad.

  11. Lordrobot

    Herr Hauser Surely you Beau Gest

    Self-reliance is just bloody code for protectionism which is a pillar of Marxism. How is UK self-reliance going to save UK tech? Sell it to themselves? Let no toaster be without British ARM! British Chips for British People... I could ask any Marxist to write your slogans.

    Arm is only successful if it trades with others as part of the division of labour ecosystem. It requires global markets to survive. It can't survive in the Murcian world of Government controlling what can be sold and who is allowed to buy it even if you make it. The Gov doesn't own these businesses. Only a Marxist could come up with such a silly proposition. Oh but but but National Security? Perhaps Britain should be more concerned about where it gets its Cheese and wheat flour. Why not apply National Security to CHEESE and crumpets? I guess the British Cheese Bomb has not yet been perfected.

    The reason British tech is failing is that the US Politicians seem to control it. The great Muricann brain trust of Donald "Europe is ripping us off" Trump, and Joe Biden aka JOE TRUMP TRADE Policies, and Chuck "Enemy List" SS officer Schumer... Take your British beef to these chaps. They don't have one operational neuron apiece, yet British politicians SURRENDER Contol of British private companies to the Murican idiots. All under the tired old catch-all of Marxism... NATIONAL SECURITY.

    Why doesn't Liz focus on the British Egg Problem? Instead of fostering trade with foreign egg producers, make it mandatory that every London flat must also have chickens of their own to make the UK self-reliant on eggs. "British eggs for British People..." and Amen to that...

    Brexit was supposed to have been a great opportunity for British Trade to go global. Instead, the UK is applying for VOLUNTARY STATEHOOD under US politicians. You are not trading more, you are shutting down trade to assist Murica's failed Trade war with CHINER and Asia. The largest traders that have ever existed and Britain goes along with this Murican boycott, for absolutely NO GAIN WHATSOEVER, other than UK tech being abandoned and sold off for indoor Chicken Ranches. "BRITISH EGGS FOR BRITISH PEOPLE..." and a bloody Amen to that!

    1. currynut

      Re: Herr Hauser Surely you Beau Gest

      Protectionism is not a "pillar of Marxism". You will find arguments both against and for depending on the situation... likewise "free" trade. Ask any of your Marxist slogan-writing friends.

    2. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Herr Hauser Surely you Beau Gest

      @lordrobot

      Ah, so the British Industrial Revolution was Marx's inspiration? You learn something every day!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Herr Hauser Surely you Beau Gest

        No, Marx went to Manchester to learn how Britain's "innovation first" approach to employment law led to great leaps forward in opportunity and worker conditions

    3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Herr Hauser Surely you Beau Gest

      The fastest growing economies are also the most protectionist. Protectionism isn't a barrier to wealth, it just makes the easy money harder.

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    New EU sancions on Russia

    Apparently white goods can't be exported to Russia because their army is stripping the chips out of them to use in missiles. Sounds implausible but it would explain how many Russian missiles go astray.

    Instead of the expense of setting up a wafer fab maybe the UK could just foreign fridges and washing machines to strip them of chips. Although given the current exchange rate building a wafer fab could prove cheaper.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: New EU sancions on Russia

      Apparently white goods can't be exported to Russia because their army is stripping the chips out of them to use in missiles. Sounds implausible but it would explain how many Russian missiles go astray.

      The targetting is fine until they hit the spin cycle, when they wobble all over the place.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: New EU sancions on Russia

        Trebuchets throwing washing machines ?

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: but it would explain how many Russian missiles go astray.

      They're popping to the shop because there's no milk in the missile?

    3. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: New EU sancions on Russia

      "Apparently white goods can't be exported to Russia because their army is stripping the chips out of them to use in missiles."

      I heard something a long the lines of this ridiculous statement in a political show, uttered by the USA guest of the evening.

      He claimed that they found washing machine chips in the turret controls of russian tanks.

      While my knowlege of washing machine chips is limited to the occasional repair attempt (some even successful), i had 4 years in military service in repair and maintenance on the AA cannon tank "Gepard" (Inst Uffz WHE / Waffe/Hydraulik/Elektro for those who want the proper job description.).

      The turret drives and cannon movement motors are fed by specific inverters, the control system for positioning do definitely NOT include any "washing machine" electronics.

      Ok in laymans terms: moving a 13500 kilogram turret around in under 4 seconds per full turn and positioning it so precisely that targets in around 4000 meters distance can be hit is a tad different than twirling 6 kilograms of dirty laundry around at 1200 turns per minute with no concern about any position.

      So if washing machine chips are weapons grade do-it-all control chips, why still waste time with arduino and rasPI ?

  13. martinusher Silver badge

    Its the City

    The City -- the bankers - have very different ideas about what's important than most people. They don't really care that much about whether a country has technology or not, "they've got people for that", its all about the money. So if ARM makes more money by being sold off, dismembered or whatever then that's it fate.

    This is has been the ruling situation in the UK for as long as I can remember. Its also what runs the US but the US is still dedicated to being a global power so it thinks as semiconductors and similar technologies as strategic necessities (its actually a large scale version of the UK -- the UK was one of the earliest countries to make microprocessors, for example, but they were dedicated to military use with commercial not even being aware of them). Now the US has started to exercise its strategic muscle countries that are not aligned 100% with its policies feel that they, too, need semiconductor capabitlies as a strategic necessity.

    They should have retained their commercial capability. But it didn't make enough money......so off it went..

  14. Miss Config
    Thumb Up

    UK Technical Sovereignity ?

    Of course the UK will have Technical Sovereignity.

    Because they VOTED to have it via Brexit.

    End of.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Angel

    xkcd - For a smile in a hopeless situation

    The Sword in the Stone

  16. trevorde Silver badge

    Response from Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg

    "Recent statements from Herman Hauser regarding the UK achieving tech sovereignty are wide of the mark. This government is committed to building a Babbage Analytical Engine, manufactured by the remains of our car industry, powered by steam, generated from UK coal mines. We anticipate this will be achieved by the end of the century."

    Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg

    Minister for the 18th Century

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Response from Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg

      Babbage machines are far much too advanced for XVIIIth century.

      I'd suggest the Jacquard loom, but it is a bloody foreign technology...

  17. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "One question that countries need to ask themselves is whether they have all the critical technologies needed to run a country and its economy."

    It's worse than that. The government doesn't have the people needed to run the country.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      And their solution appears to be to not have an economy

  18. sabroni Silver badge
    WTF?

    re: there is no chance in hell that Britain could ever become technologically sovereign

    Has he even seen the tax cuts the govt. just gave to the rich? Surely now, with all those rich people with cash to spare, the technology thing is just a matter of waiting for it to trickle down!

    Stop rubbishing Britain you lefty tabloid marxists!!!

  19. codemonkey
    Megaphone

    Ridiculous.

  20. OldGrog001

    UK Ministers have a 4004 for a brain

    Hermann Hauser is spot on. The collective resolve of the UK government to protect UK tech resources is of course non-existent. They are far more interested in showing UK Ltd is "open for business" by allowing their ex-public schoolboy chums to infiltrate tech company boards with the sole intention of making a quick buck by selling the company to a foreign investor. For example from my neck of the woods, Invensys to Schneider. With technical wizards like Jacob Rees-Mogg to spearhead UK tech business we will soon be known for being a technically-ignorant technical desert. The regressive Conservative UK government have no reason to exalt UK tech skills as they were not needed in the 18th Century they are determined to return us to. Good manners prevents me from labelling them as lying snakes...

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: UK Ministers have a 4004 for a brain

      not a 404, but a 418

      1. alisonken1
        Coat

        Re: UK Ministers have a 4004 for a brain

        Actually, an Intel 4004 chip (wikipedia article) sounds about right.

        A 4-bit cpu in a 64-bit world.

  21. Tron

    Tech sovereignty is a bad thing.

    The net and computing in general work well because we have global standards.

    Allow nationalist regimes to break this and we will be back in the tech dark ages, nothing connecting to or working with anything else, and politicians in charge of it all. Politicians being the last people on Earth that you would want in charge of anything that you need to work well.

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