back to article Stiff upper lips and sun glasses: the Chancellor bets on Brexit feeling

Britons lack skills essential for tech bosses, overseas students are facing a clampdown on UK study, and Blighty lags behind international R&D spend. But Brexit! What an opportunity for Britain to lead the world! Chancellor Philip Hammond affixed the standard ministerial stiff upper lip to address the topic of Brexit Tuesday …

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Meh

"British firms are on the cutting edge of Virtual Reality"

This has always been true- just not in the modern accepted meaning of the term.

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Re: "British firms are on the cutting edge of Virtual Reality"

Ha ha. One year (I'm guessing early 90s) I split my PEP (as it was then) allowance between 3 British VR companies. One actually went bust and the other two lost money before I flogged the shares at a loss. I then put the rest into Psion and watched it gradually go down, cunningly selling them a month before Symbian was announced and they shot up :-)

[On average I actually made a reasonable amount on the tech firms I bought shares in at the time].

Of the VR companies, one was called Division which was in Bristol - the tech looked quite good but it had the Bristol INMOS gang weenie stench of death. The one that went bust was in Leicester and I think was concentrating on VR for games.

The 3rd I think did Superscape and were in Aldermaston. They were games people who decided to go up market to things like kitchen design.

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britain - open for business

if you include the fact it appears to be the closing down sale, everything must go

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Go

What Chancellor Hammond meant to say

He also reiterated that Japanese conglomerate Softbank's June purchase of ARM was a signal that Britain Japan is "open for business".

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Re: What Chancellor Hammond meant to say

He also reiterated that Japanese conglomerate Softbank's June purchase of ARM was a signal that Britain is "open up for business sale".

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Trollface

"the UK is already a technology world leader"

Of course it is ! That's why all major international technology firms, like Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, etc were created in the UK and then went international. And that will be immensely helped by draconian immigration measures.

Oh wait . .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "the UK is already a technology world leader"

If there's one saying that can be applied to all UK governments intiatives since the war it is "spoiling the ship for a ha'peth of tar", they excel at announcing grandiose plans and then either failing to provide manpower, funding or resources to achieve them.

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"However, science, technology, and academia must now get in line behind car manufacturers and other sectors of the UK economy – and the regions expecting the Treasury to make up the shortfall in spending that would have come from the EU or to offset any trade tariffs with states in the single market post-Brexit."

What that means, I suspect, is that the sectors and regions that voted Remain are going to be bled dry to protect those that voted Leave from the consequences of their actions.

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Anonymous Coward

the sectors and regions that voted Remain are going to be bled dry

Good luck bleeding Scotland and N. Ireland, they're net recipients of English tax money.

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So to clarify...

The PM thinks it a disaster yet plods on. The Chancellor thinks it is a disaster yet disgorges this tripe on a daily basis. Business is either paralysed, or actively setting up contingency plans to move head offices, or is doing cosy deals with number 10 to have the taxpayer protect them from trade tarrifs.

... And all because a load of racists and little englanders tipped the balance in an advisory referendum.

May should announce article 50 on April 1st of next year as by then we will be the biggest joke on the planet anyway.

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Re: So to clarify...

It's a bit much to call them racists. Some of them were/are, but some of them will have rational reasons for voting out (honestly there are a few). However most will have just been generally pissed off with their situation and had their minds poisoned by years of anti-immigration, blame the EU for everything, propaganda from our media.

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Re: So to clarify...

Just to be clear. I didn't call all leavers racists.

But the racists and little englanders were numerous enough to tip the vote leave's way. Without them, leave would have lost...but of course their vote counts too.

I doubt many racists and little englanders, if any, voted to stay.

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Re: So to clarify...

most will have ... had their minds poisoned

Ah, the tired old "I don't understand why they did it, so they must be mad or gullible" theory. Of course, it goes without saying that you are too smart to have been gulled by years of media and EU propaganda, yes?

Doesn't wash, sorry. Those of us who actually put the effort into understanding the situation are well aware of the pros and cons of Brexit, and are capable of understanding that the long-term implosion of the EU is something we're better away from, for political and financial reasons. And I speak as a long-term British expat who, unlike many of the remoaners here, actually knows what it's like to live outside the UK, in other EU countries.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So to clarify...

I doubt many racists and little englanders, if any, voted to stay.

No, that was the little scotlanders.

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Re: So to clarify...

@Phil: I'm pretty sure I did say "some of them will have rational reasons for voting out (honestly there are a few)".

To be clear, I do think there are good reasons for wanting to leave the EU, but on balance I favour the status quo. I don't, however, believe that most of those who voted out did so in an informed and rational way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So to clarify...

Business is either paralysed, or actively setting up contingency plans to move head offices,

Project Fear is still alive an well, it would seem.

There is NO evidence to support either of those claims. Most businesses, pro- or anti-, have little choice but to make it work, despite the wishes of the remainers to see them fail.

It is a truly sad day when citizens of a country would prefer to see it fail, just to say "I told you so", than to work to make it succeed. You should be ashamed.

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Re: So to clarify...

Nobody wants it to fail, just to say "I told you so". The very idea is laughable. That doesn't mean that remainers should just "Put Up or stfu", rather than desperately try to avert what they see as a disaster being orchestrated by idiots and/or those with their own agenda.

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Re: So to clarify...

I don't, however, believe that most of those who voted out did so in an informed and rational way.

I do, based on the ones I've spoken to. Not met anyone who voted to leave on the basis of "Poles out".

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Re: So to clarify...

Yeah, well I've met plenty.

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An ex pat in an eu country...

How nice for you. Shame that right is being removed for the rest of us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An ex pat in an eu country...

Shame that right is being removed for the rest of us.

What total bollocks, where do you get this stuff? You claim that the leavers are spouting lies for the gullible, but you seem to have been totally taken in by the remoaners propaganda. It's always been possible to live in other European countries, and there's no reason that it won't be in the future. The EU made it easier, it did not make it possible.

Maybe you should check out how it works for folk from the Channel Isles, or the Isle of Man, etc?

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Re: So to clarify...

Newspapers lying?

I'm Shocked and Disgusted!

Here's a little thought exercise for all those who think Leavers are mostly racist Little Englanders: What is more racist: staying in a trading club of Caucasian Western European countries with collective tariffs against Asia, Africa and South America, or Leaving and being able to trade freely around the world?

Is it racist when Anglo-Saxons vote not to Remain with the, er, Angles and Saxony? Or did you mean the referendum was decided by racist non-Anglo-Saxons wanting to get rid of the Saxon and Norman influence?

Did newspapers print sensationalist articles and outright lies before the referendum? If so, do you think they are now paragons of virtue, or still the same? What sells newspapers?

Do you think Cameron expected the referendum result? Would Cameron have had the referendum if he understood what the mood of the country was? Is there a disconnect between the political system and the populace? Likewise for the BBC - is there a disconnect between what the BBC thinks is right and what most people think is right?

Is the referendum vote more or less democratically important than Labour's pledge on foxhunting and the "constitutional crisis" and subsequent "reform" of the House of Lords to make it more accountable to the executive?

If the will of the people is clearly expressed, is a democratic government bound to follow the will of the people, or should "those who know better" ignore it? Does/did this hold true in other countries, such as Russia or South Africa? If not, why not?

Would we see all this discussion, outcry from business and legal challenges over the result of a general election? What does that say about the state of our (essentially) two-party system?

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Headmaster

Re: So to clarify...

What is more racist: staying in a trading club of Caucasian Western European countries with collective tariffs against Asia, Africa and South America, or Leaving and being able to trade freely around the world?
What is there about being in the EU that stops the UK from trading freely around the world? ... Ah yes, WTO rules, of course, which won't change if we leave the EU (but we will lose the EU's existing treaties along with our right to trade freely within the EU).

There's no logic to your question, but anyway that wasn't the xenophobic part of the Leave campaign - that was the anti-immigrant rhetoric.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So to clarify...

What is there about being in the EU that stops the UK from trading freely around the world?

EU rules. Anything which enters or leaves an EU member country automatically enters or leaves the EU customs union. That makes it subject to EU taxation and duties. No EU member can trade freely around the world, it can only trade according to the agreements that the EU has with the trading partner.

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"Reflecting on Britain's legacy of Alan Turing and Cambridge research, Hammond reckoned the UK is already a technology world leader."

That's a bit like reflecting on the legacy of Julius Caesar and claiming that Rome is the centre of the known world?

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Flame

Excuse the rant ...

Rome? Pah! Clearly Athens is the centre of the known world.

No, wait, Euclid was from Alexandria, Eratosthenes moved to Alexandria for a good job. Archimedes was from Syracuse, Zeno from Elea, both in what is now Italy. Dammit, the STEM community has been globalised for a long time! Athens was more the world centre of luvviedom. I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere.

Anyway, why Turing in particular? He's just one of many distinguished mathematicians, scientists and engineers in our history. His role in winning The War ... again, one of many, and who remembers R J Mitchell these days? Oh, right, Turing is beloved of the Chattering Classes for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with his work.

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Re: reflecting

It starts to remind me of the propaganda in the late GDR, always along the lines of "We're the biggest GDR in the world !"

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Reflecting on Britain's legacy of Alan Turing

A true genius and what did we do with him? Prosecuted and chemically castrated him, driving him to suicide.

Perhaps better not to reflect on him after all.

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Re: Reflecting on Britain's legacy of Alan Turing

The irony of that is, he'd be treated more harshly today (AIUI the chemical treatment was his choice, as an alternative to prison).

His conviction was for Gross Indecency, which is no longer an offence. But a forty-year-old caught having sexual relations with a youngster below the age of consent (21 at the time) is harshly penalised.

(Unlike a pair of mature homosexuals, even in Turing's time. Britten and Pears were tolerated as a couple, for example).

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What is the purpose of this article?

Do you think a politician would have stood there and said anything other than the standard '...what an important industry you are... ...fully supported... ...great opportunity...'?

Brexit or not has nothing to do with it.

And I don't want government directing R&D, when it's not your money you don't spend wisely. Create an environment that allows other people to get on with things and then stay out of their way.

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Re: What is the purpose of this article?

Government "spending on research" doesn't mean the government directing research, it means the government giving a budget to a research council who issue grants to research organisations that apply for it. The only control the government should exert is in deciding which research councils should get some money and how much of it they get.

The Brexit angle is that, at the moment, some of that funding comes from the EU's central research councils. When we Brexit, we might be cutting ourselves off from that source of funding, so our researches will have to rely on the pittance provided by our own government.

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Re: What is the purpose of this article?

It is hard to overestimate the importance of EU funding. The UK are not the only country where national funding has been squeezed, and researchers (like myself, here in the Netherlands) increasingly have to turn to EU funding. The UK has been exceptionally successful at obtaining EU grants (like the highly prestigious ERC grants), and rightly so, I should add. The UK still has a lot of first class research going on. I have colleagues in the UK who are understandably worried about what will happen after brexit. Unless some way is found to compensate UK researchers (like e.g. the Swiss model), many scientists may consider moving elsewhere. Really sad.

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Re: What is the purpose of this article?

Taking someones money always means taking their direction. It may be a simple as '..don't bother researching this, you'll never get a grant...'

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Re: What is the purpose of this article?

That's up to the research councils who, as I said, are responsible for approving grants.

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Anonymous Coward

skills crisis?

I am not sure there is a skills crisis. We do have a recruitment crisis and a training problem.

I am often told by recruitment that they have no understanding of the role and so are relying on keywords. And employers do seem to want 100% ready staff which probably do not exist as the technology is rarely a problem but the culture and ways of the company will be - and that can't be googled. So for an employer, a global catchment area is good news, more chance of getting someone who will have the experience and skills required. But companies do give far less training nowadays.

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Re: skills crisis?

Keywords. Hah. That'll go well.

As Joel Spolsky put it:

"The recruiters-who-use-grep, by the way, are ridiculed here, and for good reason."

www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ThePerilsofJavaSchools.html

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Mushroom

"Skills crisis"

if I look that up in my dictionary of management-speak, it translates as :

"Since we can't find anyone to fill a vacancy requiring a high level of skills, experience and *judgement* for the pittance we are paying, there must be a skills crisis"

Know what. They're right. There's even an unskills crisis too. I have advertised for someone to cut my grass, and when I advertised the rate as £5 for the job, no one applied. I managed to get some replies by not mentioning the rate, but as soon as I told the caller what it was, they hung up.

So there must be a shortage of unskilled labour.

Now, where's my grant ?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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How do we get in front and how do we stay there

That's been the perennial question for British technology businesses since the 1950s (before that we could rely on abundant natural resources and a literally-captive Empire market). The only thing that seems to have worked recently is foreign investment since the will/capacity of the domestic government and banking sector seems to have been entirely absent. However, it seems we have decided we don't like foreigners. So that rather limits our options.

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I'm confused - I thought this whole Brexit thing was a moot point already?

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WTF?

The Sky is falling..

oh no Brexit, blah blah blah.. 'little englanders' blah blah blah. being raciest xenophobic idiots for not agreeing with my view whine whine whine whinge whinge whinge.. did that cover it?

Its amazing to me that people are so short sighted that they think that Brexit is somehow going to mean that one of the largest trading blocks and the 5th largest economy in the world is some how NOT going to find a way to do business with each other, and not going to find a way to benefit themselves..

And even if that was the case, and you complete forget about the other bits outside of the EU call "The Rest Of the World", here's the thing, this isnt a prison no one is keeping you here, if the glorious Oligarchy Plutocracy masquerading as a democracy known as the EU is how you want to live your life then we have these things called ships, planes and trains going back and forth everyday between there and here.

Put Up or stfu, seriously this cliché of the London whiner is becoming real old real quick..

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Re: The Sky is falling..

"Put Up or stfu"

That attitude is getting much older, much quicker.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Sky is falling..

Last time I looked this is a democracy in which nobody needs to stfu just because you say so, or rehash trite labels. And no, we don't have to meekly accept a dumb decision; any more than the Brexiteers would have accepted it if the vote had gone the other way.

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Re: The Sky is falling..

I am currently out of contract for thhe first time since 2008. The sky is falling in for me already.

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Re: The Sky is falling..

And I am sick to the back teeth of Breiteers telling me "THE BRITISH PEOPLE voted to leave". No they haven't.

37% voted leave

35% voted remain

28% couldn't be arsed, were on holiday (me), held up at work, or drew a cock and ballls on the ballot paper.

For an advisory vote its hardly conclusive.

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Re: The Sky is falling..

"5th largest economy in the world"

Hasn't France now taken over as 5th largest economy using GDP based on 2015 figures if we take the current value of the pound though? Time to change the narrative to "Pound was overvalued anyway, Brexit just helped us realign so our exporters could compete blah blah blah"

I'm off to invest in barrels with braces as that's going to be the rising fashion trend in years to come when we're all drinking rainwater out of rusty hubcaps.

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Re: The Sky is falling..

Small point, but given fall in the value of the pound since the referendum announcement and then the further collapse after the result we are most likely the 6th or maybe even the 7th largest economy in the world not the 5th.

Also it's not a simple as abandon everything you know, your language, heritage, culture, family, friends etc. and just relocate to Europe not least, because Brexit has just made us all a whole lot less attractive as employees. We used to enjoy that freedom but it's been taken away, unsurprisingly we aren't happy about it so I for one will continue to remoan or protest as it's properly called in a democracy. If you don't like my freedom to do so I suggest it is you sir who should leave.

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Re: The Sky is falling..

"... seriously this cliché of the London whiner is becoming real old real quick"

Excuse me, but it's going to be those London whiners who will have to foot a large part of the bill for compensating Nissan, etc. Don't think they'll be v happy about that. And if Brexit hits the financial industry then the tax take from London will drop and there will be less money around to pay the damage. As I seem to remember Mrs Thatcher saying: The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. (Perhaps someone should remind the present chancellor of that, he seems to be happy to run up a deficit.)

Apols for regurgitating one of my earlier posts yet again, but it's those London folk who pay taxes to support economically weaker areas:

UK: GBP 165 billion tax / 30.4 million taxpayers = GBP 5,427 tax/capita

Tyne and Wear (includes Sunderland, I think) GBP 1.6 billion tax / 0.5 million taxpayers = GBP 3,200 tax/capita

London: GBP 38 billion tax / 3.9 million taxpayers = GBP 9,743 tax/capita

2013 - 2014 data, source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-and-tax-by-county-and-region-2010-to-2011 Please do check the figures, bit outside my field.

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Brexit Tuesday

Is that like Black Monday? or is the author changing to US based method of communicating events relative to a temporal datum in the hope of securing work across the pond following the liquidation of UK PLC?

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