Re: Boris Johnson == Sir Clive Sinclair?
Well, let's see: Boris Johnson is a hack journalist turned politician, so you can't trust anything he says. Clive Sinclair was an immensely successful con artist who, together with his friends at the BBC, managed to persuade a significant portion of the UK public that he was an engineering genius, despite the fact that all his "products" were either vapourware, didn't work reliably enough to be usable, or had nothing like the claimed performance.
I once had a business repairing Sinclair ZX Spectrums. They were made by Thorn-EMI*, and were fairly reliable, except for a single inverter circuit (comprising a single transistor) that generated the +12v and -5v needed for the primitive (and therefore cheap) RAM chips. Failure of this transistor would nearly always cause a failure in at least one of the 8 RAM chips - sometimes all of them. Thorn-EMI finally eliminated this problem in the issue 4 (or was it 5?) circuit board, where the suspect circuit was replaced with an integrated solution.
However, I would occasionally be given an issue 1 Spectrum to repair. These WERE built by Sinclair (or by hobbyists from Sinclair kits). The repair procedure was simple:
1. Open case, disconnect and remove circuit board. Depending on who had built it, this might mean unsoldering some earth links or capacitors added hopefully here and there to try and make the damned thing work.
2. Carefully place the removed circuit board into a nearby furnace or other oubliette.
3. Replace with the most-recent version of circuit-board made by Thorn-EMI.
The Sinclair Spectrum was an enormous, but accidental success. It's engineering quality came from Thorn-EMI, not from Sinclair Research, and was financed from (BBC-promoted) advance sales. Quality came as a result of the success, not the other way around. Every other Sinclair product (remember the Black Watch? or the C5? or the Quantum Lurch?) was an unmitigated disaster in engineering terms, but was presented by the BBC as a British engineering triumph, even to the extent that Sinclair was knighted.
If there's a modern giant that is comparable to Sinclair Research, it's Apple corp. Granted, their hardware is much better-engineered than Sinclair's, but their success, like Sinclair's is not actually a function of the quality of their engineering, but rather of the quality of their marketing.
Jeez - if Jobs was British, he'd be Earl of Scotland by now, or something.
*Interestingly, I'm unable to confirm through Google whether my memory is correct, and that it was Thorn-EMI, or one of the other big European millitary-industrial corporations that actually re-engineered the Spectrum. It doesn't really matter, however. It wasn't SR.