My question during the statement on UK Telecommunications, 14 July 2020

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): There could be offsets to the delay and cost if, as a result of this, we design and manufacture many more of the components we need here at home. What exactly can the Government do to make that more likely to create jobs and technology?

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Oliver Dowden): My right hon. Friend is right to raise the point, which is the opportunity created by open RAN technology.

It will take a very long time, were the UK minded to do so, to create a new mobile vendor like Ericsson, Nokia or indeed Huawei, but with open RAN we can get UK technologies into the provision of telecoms infrastructure, and that can sit alongside contributions ​from other like-minded countries around the world. That is how we will create jobs and provide a long-lasting solution.

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64 Comments

  1. John P
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Create jobs? Government doesn’t create jobs except in the parasitic sectors. It might provide temporary work building whatever white elephant is the current flavour of the month by extracting wealth from productive people but it won’t last long and will always be the worst possible use of resources.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      John P,

      Would you have no public sector (and no nation) then – if something cannot make a profit it is parasitic and should not exist (e.g. national security, police etc.). And if something can male a profit then it is O.K (e.g. kidnap, assassination, child trafficking).

      I would suggest that your implied definition of a job is wrong.

  2. Iain Gill
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    a politician using “RAN” like they have a clue what it means, lol so many lols

    • hefner
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      As some technical site was asking on 14/10/2019: openRAN or alsoRAN?

  3. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I used to work for Toshiba who were with NEC the main silicon foundry for Marconi and saw how we sadly took a short term move to switch from UK to Chinese telecoms.

    Here they actually changed technology families early and thus paid extra to change suppliers. There was always going to be a change from SDH to DSL technologies, but the faster move essentially bankrupted Marconi despite them having the next generation proven working, I suspect that politics and corruption were likely factors in that decision.

    Since then we have learned how the Chinese government has massive control of all Chinese companies, it is difficult to develop longterm investment when there is massive government influence working against us. The recent decision regarding Huwai is welcome and I hope an investigation continues to highlight their supporters – often people such as ex-PMs who clearly do not champ0ion their country.

  4. Fred H
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Sir John ‘What exactly can the Government do to make that more likely to create jobs and technology?

    O.Dowden ‘It will take a very long time, were the UK minded to do so, to create a new mobile vendor’.

    or even simpler ‘ Not a chance!’

  5. Al
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Or perhaps, they could buy back some of the existing companies in this exact sector that have been sold overseas, giving us a secure tech-base, jobs, and tax revenue – if they keep a golden share somewhere the next government can’t sell it off.

  6. Adam
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    That which takes a long time is reached sooner when those proceeding start moving on the right path.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    We could start by banning the sale of technology companies to hostile states and insisting that government procurement contains x amount of UK input.
    We could ensure when for example we build warships we use British steel. This of course is not the way the rabid pro EU civil serpents operate.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I see the major supermarkets are refusing to police the stupid mask directive.
      When will you learn, the people have had enough heckling. You’ve destroyed the economy so pipe down.

      • steve
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        The directive doesn’t come into force until the 24th. Then the supermarkets will have a choice : piss their customers off more than they are already and lose them for good, or stand by us and defy Boris Johnson’s government.

        Why the hell the majority who exercise good hygiene should have to be humiliated because of a minority who don’t, just beggars belief.

  8. ADAMS
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank dictator Boris for making it compulsory for me – a free citizen of Great Britain – to wear a mask in shops and public transport . When you see him . Your Party has an awful lot to be ashamed of these days John .

    • steve
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      ADAMS

      Bide your time, play the game……then kick the buggers out of power at the next election.

    • Faked Again
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      Thank dictator Boris for making it compulsory for me – a free citizen of Great Britain – to wear a mask in shops and public transport . When you see him . Your Party has an awful lot to be ashamed of these days John .

      >
      All puppets following a globalist script. The PMs job these days is just to deceive us on behalf of them.

  9. na
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Can you ask a question about small business owners late with their tax this year as to a small business owner the accountant fees are huge and hard to pay if you have suddenly lost your income? Did MPs not think about that before they decided in their righteous fortitude to ban the covid help payments to those late putting in their tax this year? Or do they really just hate the private sector and small businesses?

  10. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    It would take less time if the government cancelled HS2 and invested some of the money in one or more technology companies that can deliver 5G. Invested as in a stakeholder/shareholder – not by taking any active part because, let’s face it, government screws up everything it touches.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Railways are now partly obsolete and are about to see mass redundancies and reductions in traffic.

      Why HS2 now ?

      • Fred H
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Sunday Times 12th July reported : railways Transport Focus saying ‘ Passenger numbers are at only 13% of normal levels. About 240,000 people work in the railway sector, only about 635,000 passenger journeys were made daily so far in July. Compared to normal timetable about 85% of trains are running.

        Surely this cannot go on?

  11. Richard1
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    We don’t need the govt to create a company.

    But for the industry to have allowed itself to get into a position where an entity de facto controlled by the Chinese communist party has an effective global monopoly of supply of critical equipment is absurd. this in effect what the UK telecom companies are saying (but note, not the US, Australian, Canadian etc telcos). I don’t believe them. and even if they are right I suggest they stop bidding for sports rights etc and focus on building up a reliable supply chain which doesn’t threaten the security, privacy, and commercial confidentiality of everyone else living and working in the UK.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Quite – are Vodafone, BT and EE just service providers? If so then hiving off open reach for competitive reasons is a bit short sighted. Open Reach is our defence against foreign infrastructure providers.

  12. John McDonald
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Before I wrote the following I did check that Oliver Dowden MP read Law at University and not Engineering or Science.
    That explains his complete non-understanding of Telecommunications and why he states it will take a very long time to establish what Sir John proposes.
    Successive Governments have run down the UK’s Engineering ability due to a low representation of Engineers and Scientists in the Houses of Parliament, unlike China.
    Why does Germany have Siemans, Sweden Ericsson, and Finland Nokia?
    Being an Engineer in Europe means something socially not so in the UK.
    We have been turned into a Service Country and not a Manufacturing Country as we once were. We will be hit hard economically if nobody has their nails done so to speak.
    Siemens and Ericsson did manufacturer Telecommunications equipment in this country and employed skilled UK staff to install same. I think STC Standard Telephone and Cables was British. What about Racal they made radio equipment not to mention Pye at Cambridge.
    With Government investment, and manufacturing equipment under licence as a start, it would not take that long to set up a UK Telecoms manufacturing company. Support from BT, Virgin, and other UK internet providers would assist greatly. But could we find enough homegrown skilled staff?
    But the Secretary of State for DCMS is a lawyer not an Engineer.
    If there where more Engineers and Scientists as MPs perhaps Governments would be able to choose more competent advisors and not end up with problems like the Diesel Car, and the CO2 story.

    • hefner
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Vodafone started last year testing Open Radio Access Network technology at 120 (?) rural locations in the UK.

      • dixie
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        But who did the R&D and manufacturing of the equipment and systems.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      The Etonians still operate on Edwardian social judgements.

      An engineer is someone who fixes the radiator to them, not a highly professional intellect, as in Germany etc.

      Little has changed here since George Stephenson made his observations.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Ridiy nonsense.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous nonsense from you Martin.
          You live in a 1950s time warp.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      In Europe ‘Engineer’ is a title. Worth more than ‘Lord’ too.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Have a word with Ed2, Lynn.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          I prefer Enginerrs to Lords.

    • Mark
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      The problem is not so much with the diesel car as the unjustified demonisation of it. The cause is the same – if you don’t have people who are competent to question dubious statistics and who don’t appreciate what technology can and cannot reasonably achieve you will make the wrong technical decisions.

    • Oldsalt
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      John McDonald

      Agree in every respect.

      We really do need to concentrate on training more engineers and the like something which cannot be done overnight by any means in order to be able to make good reliable products people want to buy in the manner a certain large European country has done enabling them to export massively all over the world.

      In my opinion, from an engineering perspective, we should never have has such emphasis on the Service side of things, while accepting its importance, at the expense of manufacturing.

      All as a result of our political system determining the direction of travel which has not resulted in the best interests of the country for many decades.

      We really do need the right people in the right places at the right time.

      Still – pigs might fly!

    • Colin B
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      I agree with John McDonald. Surely as a relatively rich country the Govt can initially bankroll a UK telecoms infrastructure whilst being in a position to pull in expertise from BT and others, and promote the education of engineering students all at the same time. Security for the UK plus jobs. Politicians and civil servants always go for the quick fix which usually means over paying for a foreign company to do the work because we allowed the EU to trash our industry back in the 70’s and 80’s. We need home grown skills and jobs but there is this civil servant mentality that says “” we don”t need farmers just buy are food in from overseas”. Now which civil servant said that ?

  13. Ian
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    This Government could not run a hose.
    I want to know who was responsible for throwing our jobs and our money to the Chinese, as I have to keep repeating, just who are they working for?
    Certainly not G.B.

    People being laid off in GB while these grossly incompetent individuals, or are they ?
    Children in a play ground learn that you do not give things away, you sell. .?

    So we have to ask the unthinkable do we not, just what reward came to GB ?

    I think the people who live on our islands , oh yes I think they are hopping mad , and rightly so
    It is looking like the the unthinkable.
    Pease can any one of you help me to see a positive out come ?
    .

    • Iago
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Our rulers are well on the way to becoming Chinese civil servants. From A Brief History of The Dynasties of China it seems that in ancient times civil servants, who fell into disfavour, were left under no illusion as to their status. One can but hope.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I can. This disaster has been ongoing for 30 years (at least) and we have not engaged. Anyone who pointed out the disaster was shouted down. Now at last we are aware and fighting. This is at last our 1939 – we have decided to exist (by voting for Brexit) and we are about to fight for our great inheritance, the freedoms created by wize and brave men over 800 years! Our forefathers.
      Here is the turning point, all we did was lose, now we will start winning so put down your mask, pick up your pen, take heart!

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        “the freedoms created by wize and brave men over 800 years! Our forefathers.”

        Pity they had to enslave so many others – people and countries – to achieve it.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          Reminds me of the Life of Brian film and the “what have the Roman’s done for us” sketch.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          We could certainly do without people like you Margaret. NOT ONE SINGLE COMMENT IN FAVOUR OF YOUR OWN COUNTRY. You should be ashamed. Anyone would think we were the only country to have slaves. Think again, it’s still going on today all over the world and compared to many this country is a safe haven. Haven’t you seen how many are coming across the channel recently?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

          The families of those slain at Peterloo might disagree too Margaret, along with many, may others during the brutal monarchies.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Or the 100 million killed in the workers paradises during the 20th century by the joys of socialism.

  14. Ian
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    This Government could not run a hose.
    I want to know who was responsible for throwing our jobs and our money to the Chinese, as I have to keep repeating, just who are they working for?
    Certainly not G.B.

    People being laid off in GB while theas
    .

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I want to know who was responsible for throwing our jobs and our money to the Chinese

      Look in the mirror if you want to know who is responsible. You vote Tory? Yes? It’s them wot dunnit.

  15. acorn
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Do you think Olly Dowden has the faintest idea what actually is a Open RAN (Radio Access Network)? The Spanish Telefónica ( O2 in the UK) company is running that show and the Chinese are part of it.

    Just remember when you wake-up in the morning and say to your smart speaker “Alexa, what is the time”, your request will have gone through a bit of Chinese kit somewhere. As it will when you use any cell phone: any laptop; any sat nav; any utility grid control system, etc etc.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      As it will when you use any cell phone: any laptop; any sat nav; any utility grid control system, etc etc.

      Nonsense. I have a British made laptop. I can see the valves glowing from here.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      originally Alexa was going to be called ‘Heavenly Princess’ – but somebody thought better of it.

  16. steve
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Polly

    “Consequently, surely ”solution” should be replaced by ”disaster” ?”

    Funny you should say that, as it happens there is currently a comet visible in the northern hemisphere.

    The word disaster literally means ‘devil star’ which was seen as a seriously bad omen often associated with the outbreak of war, or natural catastrophe.

  17. Edward2
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Gosh.
    I thought you liked Blair and Brown.

  18. steve
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem to me like your question was properly answered Sir John.

  19. Fred H
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC.
    Conservative MP Julian Lewis has been appointed chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, and not Chris Grayling as had been expected.
    Concerns had been raised that the body’s impartiality could be undermined, with members of the committee backing Mr Lewis instead. The committee scrutinises the work of the intelligence and security services.
    Mr Grayling held cabinet positions under David Cameron and Theresa May including transport secretary.
    Despite supporting Mr Johnson in the Conservative leadership election he was not given a role in government.
    The other Conservative committee members are Sir John Hayes, Mr Lewis, Mark Pritchard, and Theresa Villiers. There are two Labour MPs – Kevan Jones and Dame Diana Johnson – plus Labour peer Lord West of Spithead. Stewart Hosie is the SNP’s representative on the committee.
    One of the first jobs of the newly formed committee will be to publish the Russia report.
    It includes evidence from UK intelligence services concerning Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election.

    • hefner
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      The Intelligence and Security Committee is a statutory, not a select committee, in principle independent of the Government. Julian Lewis MP has experience in security matters (see his profile), Chris Grayling does not have such experience.

      To me anybody in N.10 who wanted a washcloth as ‘successful’ as Grayling (remember his repeated failings as Minister for Work and Pensions, as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, as Transport Secretary, see his wikipedia profile) as chairperson was taking the mickey and intending to weaken the ISC.

      It is about time that successive failings as minister in successive postings should not be further rewarded. People should be fed up seeing such non-entities failing upward.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      And his reward has been to have the whip removed from his office as MP. I wonder who ordered that?

      Interesting, very.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Despite supporting Mr Johnson in the Conservative leadership election he was not given a role in government.

      The buffoons in cabinet quota had already been filled.

      As for the report being published – don’t hold your breath. Something will happen to stop it.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    It is exactly what was said about training our own doctors.
    Utterly feeble and lame excuses.
    A kind of “end of discussion” response.
    I wonder why?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      You can only train people with the right basis in science and in general education to apply to do medicine.

      The UK does not produce enough of these.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Only one in ten of A level students in the UK get a place at UK medical schools despite having good enough results to be accepted.
        We import from poorer countries and steal their people.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        It does produce enough of them – for some reason med schools have a thing against white boys.

        From personal experience the discrimination is obvious.

        (Luckily my lad did get in to the one Med School that bothered interviewing him and he is consistently top 3% in his year, nearing completion. This in contrast to the five less highly scoring girls in his class who all got interviews everywhere they applied and several offers each.)

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I went to the doctor’s a while ago. A touch of eczema, I thought. I kid you not – the doctor had the guidance published by NICE on the screen and she when through it ticking the boxes. Seriously, a trained monkey could do it.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          OMG – you visited a doctor. She must have ignored a whole host of health & safety warnings.

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I see the Chancellor has been talking complete nonsense to the select committee today.

    Sorry no way I can vote for this party destroying its own core supporters.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Sorry no way I can vote for this party destroying its own core supporters.

      Who are you kidding! Of course you will vote for them. Anyone but Labour eh?

  22. Dave
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    “can” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

    It would be a bloody miracle if someone could grow a UK company again similar Nokia, Ericsson or Huawei. ARM came close and they were sold off and will no doubt be snapped up by Apple soon enough. GEC Marconi got screwed over by bad management.

    Vodafone and BT have created lots of great technology in the UK but they chucked it away because the financial engineering favours outsourcing the staff and the IP, or because they didn’t have the imagination to see a great idea through.

    Add to that the mentality of the UK manager who normally holds the people with the skills and who create the profits in such low regard, they sell them down the river to get their bonus and leave the mess for the next person to sort out. That doesn’t happen with German or Italian companies.

    So dream on, but it ain’t going to happen.

    • ukretired123
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Arm Holdings were snapped up and sold to …….
      Guess who?
      China.
      Appallingly naive.

      Ps My post on this subject was deleted yesterday as I had strong words to say on this subject.

  23. Ian
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Lynn,
    Very many thanks, and yes this betrayal has been ongoing with the exception of Thatcher since Ted Heath.
    Sadly those responsible walk amongst us , no law against Treachery ?

  24. I tried free speech
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    You are all being socially conditioned for the mark of the beast.
    Communism won, journalism failed.

    The End.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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