Where are the EU and UK giants of the technology revolution?

One of the many things that should give us on this side of the Atlantic pause for thought is the way Europe has failed to produce the large global players of the digital transformation.

The UK and the EU have many talented and well educated people but none of the exciting corporate giants of the internet revolution.

Most of our software comes from Microsoft, our social media from Facebook and Google, our phones and pads from Apple or a far eastern source, much of our on line shopping goes to Amazon, a lot of internet entertainment comes from Netflix and Disney. We zoom to our friends and relatives and Teams for our businesses and professions.

The main challenge to US dominance worldwide has come from the separate and differently policed Chinese system, spawning mighty Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.

The EU response to the attractive offers and great service the US giants offer us is to look for ways to tax them more and regulate them more to penalise them for their success. The question we should be asking is how can we do it better? How can the UK if not the EU create the right climate and policy background so we can encourage giants of the new age to emerge here as well?

As we pass from the EU’s single market to our own we need to learn from the EU’s mistakes. There is the hostility to enterprise and small business, with legislative solutions favouring costly and intrusive regulation suited to incumbent large companies trying to keep out challengers. There is very prescriptive regulation which makes innovation more difficult.

We need to tackle three main areas of concern

  1. Encouraging a large population of start ups, self employed consultants and small businesses, to try out ideas and innovations. No more IR 35.
  2. Encouraging growth of the most successful into larger companies, with ready access to the large UK capital markets to fund future ideas and expansion.
  3. A tax and regulatory framework for the largest success stories which is sensitive to their needs as global players requiring good access to the wider world , whilst also paying their dues and being good corporate citizens for the wider UK.
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275 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    You say we need to tackle three main areas of concern – but no sign of this from this government at all. Sunak’s first action was to slash entrepreneurs relief to just 1/10 of what it was plus he now want VAT on shop sales to overseas visitors so little doubt that he is anti-business and keen to rob the private sector at every turn.

    The endless attacks on small businesses and the self employed continue almost every day (making tax digital, compulsory landlord licensing and new electric certificates, the double taxation of landlord interest as very damaging examples. In this covid period the largely unproductive and even anti-productive state sector have had full pay (often “working’ from home and thus even saving money). Meanwhile many in the private sector have suffered hugely and most have suffered very significantly. Many prevented from trading at all without full or any sometimes compensation. Though it will of course be businesses paying for this compensation in the end anyway.

    Meanwhile we have an even more bloated and indebted state sector (pissing money down the drain almost everywhere you care to look), a dire state monopoly NHS, an absurd war on plant and tree food agenda delivering expensive and intermittent energy, a war against motorists and van drivers, a lock down that is killing far more people than it is saving (if any) and causing huge economic damage too.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      True what you say and the nonesense of removing VAT refunds for foreign visitors.
      Putting a bedroom tax on hotels, these are socialist policies which make the country unattractive.
      These constant lockdowns which don’t work are bankrupting the country and enriching the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.
      We need policies to encourage entrepreneurs, not the quasi socialist stuff of today.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        Look at the NHS, beauracrats stopping an army of willing people helping out.
        Asking for proof of non radicalisation training. What’s all that about.
        A retired nurse friend has given up due to the hoops she has to jump through and she’s only been retired 18months.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          +1

          • Hope
            Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            Dr Cooper a retired GP wrote a similar article where he volunteered at Hancock’s request and repeatedly asked to be used. Seven months later NHS offered him a telephonist job that unqualified people could do!

            40,000 health professionals answered the call tomreturn as volunteers only for the utterly useless NHS management to show their complete incompetence again. Just like the trust giving Chinese virus Jabs to back room staff ahead of doctors and nurses!

            A cry from an article in Con Woman today:
            Every British patriot has a duty not to vote for this wretched embarrassment of a ‘Conservative’ Party at the next election.

            Amen to that. I would say start in May at local elections. Johnson thinks this current lockdown will last until March!

          • Hope
            Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

            BOW Group do not share the view it is any good. They highlight ten points of failure. Tax and level playing field restrictions applies.

        • Hope
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          Why would any right minded person take a huge financial risk to build a company when the Fake Tory Party will shut it down without thought or U turn days after making a decision! How many people have risked their homes and all savings to start a business which your govt is currently destroying without a blink of the eye? All your Govt does is look to tax everything that might be successful. Highest taxation in fifty years before current studpity.

          Current level paying field with EU and follow high tax economy will only lead to poorer generations.

          JR, get real. Your Govt is currently in active pursuit of destroying businesses, particularly small medium sized businesses. There is no cogent reason or rationale for the last three lock downs. Total idiocy. Wales had an additional circuit break that failed! English taxpayers picking up the tab.
          It appears from his article Ferguson was pleased CCP inspired SAGE and surprised your govt accepted it! How many times does your govt listen to a person with a record of failure?

          • Jim Whitehead
            Posted January 1, 2021 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            +1 !!!!!!!

        • IanT
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          Yes Sir John – this is a classic example of our civil service / NHS Management still being buried in bureaucratic clap-trap when we should be straining every sinew to get the vaccine delivered to as many vulnerable as quickly as possible.

          Get the trained (retired) medics to work asap – no need for ‘racial awareness’ courses first. For Goodness Sake!!

          Stupidest thing I’ve heard all year – and I’ve heard quite a few. Get on the phone Sir John – Boris has made many mistakes this, so screwing the vaccine programme would be a killing blow!!

          Wokingham is at 413.7 /100K and will continue to rise. We should have stocks of Astra already distributed and ready to go this morning (not Monday!)

          Get a Grip Boris!!

          • Fred H
            Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            re- Astra supplies.
            I very much hope W Med C has some ordered because I keep hearing about over-80s being invited to Wargrave for a jab. WMC – no news.
            Pls leave the women who do the Flu jab to organise it, I fear the GPs won’t have ever delivered a vaccination!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Sunak is also about to increase stamp duty again by up to £15,000 per house on March 31st. This and the already absurd stamp duty levels will certainly cause huge damage to house buyers and to jobs in the construction industry. He should certainly cancel this. But to cut taxes he need to cancel HS2, all the mad green subsidies and all the other endless government waste.

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        With HS2, at least there will be something to show for the money spent, even if it is worth only a fraction of the amount paid.
        On the other hand, the money thrown at slobs who don’t have a job, never had a job, no intention of ever getting a job, and devote their attention to producing another generation with the same sense of entitlement, well we get nothing for that.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Indeed HS2 might be worth 1/10 of what it will cost at best. Paying people to deter them from working or even learning how to work is clearly hugely damaging to the economy and damaging even to the people receiving the benefits.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Agreed HS2 – I’ve never heard a single good argument in favour.

        This December, according to the Government own figures only wind and solar have only provide 1% of electricity. Gas and Coal have provided over 60%.

        in 2021 we need a role reversal in Lockdowns:

        The Media don’t get paid *
        Politicians who don’t get paid
        The public Sector don’t get paid

        Amazon forced to closes while ALL other businesses remain open

        * When the media suffer like gym owners, pubs, restaurant and “non essential” shops they might finally wake up to the evil of lockdowns.

      • hefner
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Fake news: when the stamp duty holiday was announced by the Chancellor on 8 July 2020, he made clear it would last till 31 March 2021 after which the previous regime would be re-established. So strictly speaking it is not a stamp duty increase.
        Then such a £15k ‘increase’ would only apply to a £500k house after 1/04/2021. According to zoopla, the average UK house price is £315,150.

        Do I share any pain with a moaning non-dom multi-property owner? Not the slightest.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      +1
      We are just units of production.
      Our efforts in every sphere are a mere harvest awaiting their scythes.
      And gleaning is illegal… under pain of death.

      I get the feeling that “the state sector”,via the unions, is being allowed to steer all this carnage. Still trying to stop Brexit? Whatever…so sick of it all!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        With less red tape tying us up we could be two or more units of production!

        • Everhopeful
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Lol.
          Indeed.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed. Electrical safety certificates, another expensive wheeze to encourage the sale of rented properties to free the market for more mass migration. Like the tax disincentives for the rental market and the general attack on the rental market over many years. There is no interest on savings, the Government is trashing our money with its excessive borrowing so where are the good and thrifty going to invest there hard earned pensions and savings against this very authoritarian Government?
      Lock downs haven’t worked yet so why more of the same? When are we going to get the true stats on age, gender, risk factors, racial profiles so we can have a debate on who should be isolated. I read WHO this week that states the AVERAGE age of those dying from this infection is over 82 years. That’s higher than the average death of men in our Country. Common sense has left those in charge to save their faces.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Indeed, as I say, excess deaths 2020 (other than in the Spring pandemic) just 2% above the five year average and with a higher population. What is the problem exactly, why the pointless shutdown now?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Let’s look at the history of how these companies in the US often arose.

      Post WWII, owing to more liberal laws about the use of radio frequencies there, a great many young Americans became interested in electronics as hobbies, often related to Citizen’s Band or to amateur radio, and plenty of them set up businesses in these fields, quite often from modest start-ups. Hewlett Packard, if memory serves, started up as a “garage” operation, for instance.

      In Europe on the other hand, perhaps because of fears of its uses for insurgency, access to the RF spectrum was much more closely controlled, and there was not the same popular development of interest in these things.

      I think that this gave the US a very major head start in the coming revolution.

      I doubt whether the not greatly dissimilar legal structures under which business operates are the key factors here.

      • agricola
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Yes you could make the same argument in relation to general aviation. One very senior friend of mine with hands on aviation experience in the UK once described the CAA as the committee against aviation. Personally I have found dealings with the CAA efficient and helpful, but I have not asked much of them.

      • MWB
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        There are plenty of Radio Amateurs in the UK, of which I am one.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but there was no CB here until decades later, and by then most gear was commercially made rather than built by hobbyists.

          Amateur radio in the US was also far more liberal, with higher power limits, broader frequency allocations, and less draconian licensing conditions.

          There was also a general cultural enthusiasm, amongst people who wanted to make sci-fi come true through progress.

      • IanT
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        It’s mostly to do with the availability of Venture Capital

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        There were many very technically minded people who were radio hams in this country too.
        Practical Wireless and Practical Electronics were very popular magazines fifty years ago. Heath kits were electronic kits for amateur electronic enthusiasts to build at home. We had the grass roots interest but I really don’t know what happened.
        Racal Communications was a specialist radio company based in Bracknell. They too started just after the war in a garage. They actually pioneered cellular radio. We had many top notch high tech companies in this area including Racals, Ferranti and Sperry Gyroscope. They have all now gone.

        Successive governments have either regulated, taxed or banned too many companies out of businesses or scared others of from giving it a go. Regarding mooted tax plans, I cannot stop thinking about the story of the goose that laid the golden egg.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think that is an accurate portrayal at all. When I was a child – in the 1950s and 1960s – loads of us used to muck about in our sheds – making crystal sets, valve radios, amplifiers and, when transistors were cheap enough, transistor radios. There was a whole sector of the economy devoted to it. Loads of shops in Tottenham Court Road selling components. And the Edgware Road. Magazines like Practical Wireless and Radio Constructor. The emergence of pop music as a major industry saw a massive increase in the number of amplifier and speaker manufacturers. And suppliers of studio equipment – headphones, mike stands and all the rest.

        I could name you dozens of British companies who produced all sorts of electronic goods back then. Many British companies, as soon as they acquired critical mass, were bought by bigger American companies to get at the patents.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          I agree Mike.

        • dixie
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:14 am | Permalink

          +1

      • Know-Dice
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Martin, have a look at the history of the Internet, if it had been invented in this country the MOD would have made it an Official Secret never to see the light of day whereas the DoD in the USA saw it as an open opportunity.

      • dixie
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        Plenty of people were interested in electronics then, just not radio.

        I was in an electronics club at my school when we started building the WW computer (published 1967) and I took Practical Electronics and ETI as my monthly mags. Early PCs were electronic kits (eg Nascom) and that drove the hacker interest into computing with Acorn, Sinclair and especially the BBC Micro.

        The USA grew large because it has an inherently large market. The EU could have been that but with the differing languages, nationalistic buying attitudes and anti-US attitudes reflecting onto the UK meant trying to market anything without strong political lobbying was an utter waste of time.

    • Ed M
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic,

      ‘Meanwhile we have an even more bloated and indebted state sector ‘

      – You are right. But this is a DIFFERENT argument / topic to the one Sir John raises here – and a REALLY important topic, a HUGE topic to the well being and success of our future economy – driving productivity / higher skills / higher wages / higher exports / higher sense of patriotism in British brands based on digital / high tech brands. Let’s hope the government really focus hard on this topic.

    • Old person
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      A history lesson:-

      The following quote is taken from the HOL Hansard on 7/5/1980
      http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1980/may/07/central-and-local-government

      “One figure is this. In 1900 at the turn of the century the number of civil servants at all levels in this country—that is central and local level—numbered no more than 50,000. By 1970—and this was the time, of course, when the commission were considering the matter—the number of civil servants, that is not industrial civil servants but people entirely concerned with the matter of government, had risen tenfold to 500,000, and I suspect that today the figure is that much greater again.

      §
      The other statistic which may serve to illustrate the matter is this: in 1870—and now I am going back 100 years—public expenditure represented only 9 per cent. of the national income. In 1970 that figure had risen to 43 per cent. of the national income. If I understand the latest statistics, the amount of public expenditure now is more than 50 per cent. of the national income. ”

      And today’s figures?

      • acorn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Last January UK public spending would have been circa 38% of GDP. By the end of this tax year, it will be circa 60% of GDP. For very good reasons connected to the economic damage caused by the virus, multiplied by this incompetent government’s knee jerk flip flopping from one plan to another.

        Gross Public Sector Debt is currently circa £2,700 billion with a GDP which has fallen to circa £1,960 billion; That is a Debt to GDP of 138%. Don’t worry about that, it will go higher because the private sector is not spending it on buying UK made goods and services. It is saving it and/or using it to pay down debt. Exactly the same is happening with the stimulus plans in the USA.

        You may have noticed that nobody is talking about the UK’s massive “national debt” anymore; including some economic morons on this site. The Treasury is now operating to the MMT manual.

        The big risk is we still have a neoliberal Chancellor in Sunak. He is ideologically committed to getting the national debt down by running years of government budget surpluses. Which will be economic suicide; Osborne austerity squared.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          Acorn, what a bizarre comment, we are all worried about the debt taken on during this crisis, that future generations are being saddled with, BUT a big majority are taking the cheques other than those working through it. Asking as one of your ‘economic morons’ which Countries in Europe haven’t had to take on national debt to cover this past year?

          • acorn
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            Don’t worry, future generations won’t be paying it back either. In fact, they could make it larger if the sunny uplands of fantasy Brexit do not deliver as promised by the leave campaign.

            Remember that the so called public sector “national debt”, is the private sector’s “national savings, to the penny.

            If you want to reduce this national debt, then stop saving the governments money and start spending it. Get some inflation going to encourage more investment in capital assets that produce more output at lower prices.

            BTW. There is no such thing as “taxpayers’ money”. The fiat currency called Pounds Sterling, is the exclusive property of the UK Treasury which you are allowed to use and collect so you can be a taxpayer, when the Treasury demands you pay taxes; with little choice to refuse a request from HMRC.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Liam Halligan in the Telegraph today:-

    “Brexit Britain will be Europe’s biggest economy if Boris plays his cards right. The UK has all of the freedoms it needs to race ahead of a failing EU once the pandemic is tamed.”

    Perfectly possible, but not with the bloated, inept, often corrupt and largely unproductive state sector the size it is, not with taxes at the current obscene levels and absurd complexity, not with the war on CO2, expensive energy and the levels of red tape, the restrictive employment laws and all the other insanities government choose to cripple the economy at every turn.

    • SM
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      I have to say that I agree with every word you have written today, LL.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Sir John,

      What, no explanation for your abstention yesterday? Some are delighted that you didn’t vote for the deal, others think you actually voted against it, and still others would rather you actually had. But many of your readers will be troubled that you didn’t support the government’s Brexit (what the enlightened recognise as BRINO). Don’t you owe them an explanation?

      If I were being charitable, I could applaud you for abstaining on the basis that there wasn’t sufficient time to properly scrutinise the deal, and so it was impossible to take a view one way or the other. (The likes of David Davis could have taken that route, but he and others just voted Yay anyway.) Of course, I’m not that charitable, and the deal itself required no scrutiny for the fact of BRINO to be established. It was, and is, painfully obvious what this deal achieved/s.

      Perhaps you were wanting to send a message that though you are in the Tory party, you are not of the Tory party. But if this is true, where is your real home? Are you squatting in the Tory party, are you renting? Perhaps this is a sofa-surfing deal, with the Tories temporarily putting you up until you find something more permanent? No, this is too ridiculous. I don’t know why you abstained. Could you enlighten me, and, I’m sure, other interested observers?

      PS When you say “We need to tackle three main areas of concern,” I presume you’re referring to yourself and Owen Patterson. In which case, I wish your two-man army the very best of luck – though would humbly advise that less government interference is more.

      Reply I made clear in the debate I am pressing for a better deal on fishing and think the government will help on this. Wait and see what happens next.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        With apologies to Lifelogic. I was going to reply to his post, but then thought better of it. I’m sure you know what I mean.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        As I understand it, there is an awful lot of work to do restore confidence in the fishing community. But even fishing, as emblematic as it has become, is just one tiny piece of the puzzle. Obviously I welcome any improvement – though this deal both explicitly and implicitly (which is the heart of the matter) makes this difficult, even allowing for some fudging here and there (for example, the fishing settlement may well end up being better for the UK than billed in order to maintain EU unity at this stage).

        But the big picture is no different, as this deal confirms. The Tory party are still wedded to the globalist agenda, and there is no reason to believe that, were the Tories to be in government for another decade, that things would be better than they’ve been this past decade. In fact, all indications suggest the opposite, given the momentum of the green agenda, and given the opportunities for authoritarianism Covid has offered – opportunities which the government have seized upon.

        It is obviously your prerogative to work with this government. I have already made my views on that approach clear and so will not labour the point.

        PS Still no explanation for the abstention 😉

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        Abstaining on a 3 line whip is a massive statement. As you can see, only 2 managed it. At Maastricht only 1 managed it. He had to lock himself in his flat with all the curtains drawn and ignore the banging on the door and the phone.

      • rose
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Yes, and a better arrangement for NI.

    • MPC
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I broadly agree. I’ve been investing in non UK funds for years and they’ve continued to thrive through the pandemic whereas the UK has fallen way behind in performance. I see little active encouragement for innovation in the UK even from a supposedly conservative government and will not be changing my investment approach.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Indeed. When is this left wing junta going to get a grip on the civil serpents and all the public sector/health/police recruitment and selection processes to bring a level of common-sense back to our politically correct, woke, unproven climate change, gender nonsense, minority issues (unless your are white working class).
      It feels like the majority of us are living in a weird world where we are forbidden to speak our minds against the above.

      • Andy
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        You can speak your mind. You just sound deluded when you do.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          you demonstrate that so well.

        • Timaction
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          .. ….I actually laughed out when you say I’m deluded. Laughing at you Tampon Andy!!!

      • Christine
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Never, this treaty we have just signed ties us into following the climate change initiatives and the ECHR rulings.

      • JoolsB
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        +1

  3. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    And when they have grown we must stop them being sold off to foreign buyers and competitors.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      The foreigner based in a tax haven can put together a better bid than a taxed-to-death UK company.

      • MWB
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Softbank, who bought ARM, is in Japan, not a tax haven. They then sold them to Nvidia in USA, also not a tax haven.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Looking at the ONS weekly death figures (for England and Wales only) we are going to end the year with just under 71,000 excess deaths (over the previous five year average). But of these about 59,252 were in the Covid driven Spring bulge (weeks 13 to 24 inc.).

    So excess deaths for the year 2020 (outside of this spring period) will be about 12,000 so only (just 2% up on the 5 year average yearly deaths of 635,000). Plus we also have a higher propulation now than that the average in 2014-19 (and this five year period had relatively low death rates historically too (leaving an older more vulnerable group still alive).

    This is despite the NHS being virtually shut for many normal activities.

    So how on earth can anyone justify the current lockdown? Given that outside the spring Covid deaths we have entirely normal death figures it is insane and gross negligence.

    We clearly have an entirely political problem not a medical one. The government are clearly lying and the mainstream media and BBC are not even questioning it.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      In perspective, the death figure for under 60s with Covid is 317. Perhaps some of these suffered accidents or would have died anyway, who knows?

      So if everybody of retirement age kept themselves safe, the remainder of the population could get on pretty well without problems.

      This lockdown is indeed political, to save an NHS which can’t adapt and shouldn’t survive.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        A state monopoly healthcare system that kills nearly all competition or innovation by being “free” at the point of use run by PPE graduates at the top and PPE politicians. What could possible go wrong?

        As Milton Friedman put it:- If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.

        • hefner
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Not the most intelligent thing that the guy ever said.

          • Lynn
            Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Insightful though!

          • hefner
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            L, possibly, if that’s the only type of things one can understand: some preposterous image for the masses?

      • RichardM
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Sir Joe don’t be a Covidiot like zerologic. The figure you (mis)quote is for Covid deaths, in hospitals, for under 60’s WITH NO UNDERLYING CONDITIONS.
        30-odd% of the population already have these conditions like high blood pressure, lung conditions such as asthma. It is this 30% who will be in grave risk now treatment resources are nearing, and in some areas apparently starting to exceed capacity.
        As for expecting private health to come to the rescue by investing in such resources rather than state investment, well that’s just laughable.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I am o fan of the extended lockdowns @LL but that is an incredibly simplistic view. Where is your STEM enquiry and analysis?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        am not a fan

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        See the excellent Dr Clare Craig, Ivor Cummings, Michael Yeadon, the Barrington Declaration lot and the likes for all the details. It is quite to me clear they are right.

      • DaveK
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Dr Yeadon has made several videos explaining epidemics/viruses/immunology including references to textbook medical history, Gompertz curves etc. He explained how lockdowns just delay access to the susceptible. He pointed out seasonality and predicted the winter season would also include those additional covid susceptible victims. He then later discovered as many did (most countries and the WHO), the flawed PCR test and continues to point out the lies promoted by SAGE, government and the media. Anyone with O level maths can see the worldometers graphs that show that lockdowns and masks have had little effect. The only logical explanation why the goalposts are being moved, is to fulfill an agenda that should worry us all. Brexit has been betrayed, let’s see what they intend for us next year (Poor – No Way Happy).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Oh dear.

      If you sincerely believe what you have written then you have serious problems, I’d say.

      Yes, the country is in a mess owing to political decisions to have no pandemic contingency provision, but the mess is real all right.

      Look at the scenes of people being treated in hospital car parks and ambulances queuing.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Look also at the video of the empty deserted hospital.
        Which got the photographer arrested for a public order offence.

    • Stred
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      The increasing population also has a greater number of people over 75.
      The NHS has conformed that a patient who comes into hospital with no covid infection and then later tests positive will be reclassified as entering as a covid patient.
      Figures from an analysis in Scotland show that hospital patients with cancer, heart and respiratory disease are recorded as below average for the year, despite the lack of treatment, and the reduced figures are matched by the increased figures above average asva whole for deaths with covid. The same is likely to be happening in England and Wales. I will put the link on separately.

  5. Mark B
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A lot of this comes down to marketing and innovation.

    Microsoft started out as and IBM project. The project failed and as brilliant piece of marketing, Bill Gates offered his Windows DOS program for free with every PC sold. Soon he gained market share and dominance. Where as the likes of Sinclair, Acorn, Peach and others ????

    Philips SV of the Netherlands created the Digital Disk Player. It was at the beginning of the VCR boom but, whilst it indeed played very good quality movies and you could skip around the track, it could not record live TV. It failed. But up stepped SONY and they introduced the CD and put music on it.

    Europe, and especially the UK, have invented many great things but, we have just been pants and making good use of them and selling them.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I think Microsoft’s first project was making a traffic light system for Seattle.
      So he needed people in the public sector and big companies like IBM who get the plan for this type of company. Even in the US, today Gates would need compliance and regulatory stuff sorted out to partake.

      These days, the get-around for Facebook, Snapchat etc. is that your first customers are your fellow students. The tech innovations come out of Universities which can tie into the compliance systems.

    • Lynn
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Actually IBM was too lazy to write an operating system for its desktops which it thought a marginal project, so they awarded the contract to Microsoft. He adapted the CPM (Control Programme Monitor) written in 1974 for Intel. by Digital Research.
      It was very annoying actually, because where a dot was used in CPM Gates changed it to a dash – that sort of thing, so that legally it was a different operating system.
      One of IBM’s great mistakes.

    • Ed M
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Great comment

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I agree Mark, the majority of teachers and college lecturers have never left academia and don’t understand the need to sell, market and promote, they get paid regardless of how they perform, how often they are sick, or whether at the moment they are working, there has been no attempt to get remote teaching sorted out in the past nine months, it’s pathetic, are they going to go back into the classrooms to set and mark work this time, or will English students have to redo the whole year. At the end of the day in England we have an entire year of education extra the Scottish finish school at 17, they skip year 9. Perhaps England will have to follow suit for this age group this year and just go straight from year 8 into GCSE training.

    • IanT
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Mark B – Your knowledge of Microsoft is clearly very limited.

      Microsoft most certainly did not start out as an IBM project – in fact IBMs first choice was to go to a guy called Gary Kildall of Digital Research (of CP/M fame) but Gary wasn’t interested so a young guy called Bill Gates jumped into the vacancy.

      But MS existed well before the IBM PC came along and MS-Dos was not provided to IBM for free either. Gates real stroke of genius was to retain the right to sell MS-DOS to other PC makers and effectively invent a vendor independent software platform that IBM didn’t control.

    • Barry
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure the CD was developed by Sony and Philips. Sony wasn’t the only company selling CD players from 1982.

      Philips were also largely responsible for the compact cassette. It was successful, but perhaps more than it deserved to be in view of the tweaks that were necessary to obtain reasonable sound quality.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes European minds are still doing good stuff but now they just happen to be US citizens many from way back. Same with the Chinese, Indians etc.

  6. David Peddy
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    We have seen the same thing in Medical devices where unnecessary regulation from Brussels has lead tot he closure of many small device businesses. These are the engines of innovation but the cost of compliance is too great . All at the behest of the large companies like Siemens , Braun , Aesculap

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Well if the idea is good they almost always get sold on to bigger companies, or stuff is licensed on. The FDA is no slouch on regulation either. Perhaps that’s the way it should be.
      We just need to grow these sectors from primary school upwards.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Excellent tweet from Dr Clare Craig.
    On the left is what an epidemic looks like.
    On the right is what misdiagnosing patients who would be in hospital anyway looks like.

    With accompanying diagrams.

    When are the government going to come clean and when are the MS Media going to do their job. Perhaps too busy arresting people for taking videos of empty hospitals it seems.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      The government won’t come clean. In normal times it would be the opposition setting out an alternative that, if sufficiently popular, might prompt a change of tack, or eventuate in a new government come the next election. But these aren’t normal times, and as yet there is no organised opposition.

      As for the media, in normal times this is a news story that has its 15 minutes, then passes, allowing the media to shamelessly contradict itself in the next breath. But Covid is 24/7 every day of the year, and so there is no next breath. These are not normal times, and at this stage the MSM (including, and often especially, the Torygraph) look very much like an instrument of the state. This is a hallmark of totalitarianism.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Exactly!
      I suppose if they had not dismantled Nightingales they would not be able to claim that they could not cope!
      Then they claim not enough staff to staff Nightingales.
      (Make the administrators do all the “too posh to wash” stuff.
      Why not? We are in an “emergency” after all).
      Anyway..vast numbers are off “isolating” simply because they or a colleague have tested positive. That is NOT being ill.

    • RichardM
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      An utterly nonsensical tweet responded to accurately by Doctors treating Covid right now who say they have never seen anything like the current situation where tgay have an endless stream of patients with patchy bilateral peripheral shadowing on their chest xrays. Bizzare! What on earth could be causing this?

  8. Everhopeful
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    The EU was/is totally antipathetic to any innovation that represented/s competition.
    A total stifler of invention to protect vested interests.
    I think Dyson struggled with such? ( Hoooray! We will be able to have proper vacuum cleaners again).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Indeed Dyson struggled with planning in England and so very sensibly went overseas. Also they struggled with the EU courts who appeared to take a rather warped (pro German manufacturers) decision on energy and efficiency regulations that he eventually overcame. Doubtless at great cost and inconvenience.

      Not that I would spend that much on a vacuum cleaner myself and those hand driers that really need ear plugs to use are very annoying too. What is wrong with a nice silent paper towel or even real ones?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Billy Elliott
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        ” What is wrong with a nice silent paper towel or even real ones?”
        I’m with you on this.

      • Iago
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        A microwave oven without bleeps (also literally deafening). Those far too loud announcements in lifts, completely unnecessary at any volume and a blight on nearby apartments – socialist health and safety, how did we survive travelling in lifts before them? The ultra-loud safety announcements on planes, probably a thing of the past now, again deafening. A free society would get rid of these things…

        • Fred H
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          far worse example on the new GWR trains.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Are “Henrys” not “proper” vacuum cleaners?

      At 650W they seem excellent.

      “Others” are noisy, complex, heavy, ugly, and merely a triumph of marketing over design, on the other hand.

    • Ed M
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The evils of the EU is a different argument to why the UK is failing as being a proper world leader in digital / technology.

      We need to take a hard look – as Sir John is doing here – in our failure here and not look for excuses (I don’t mind EU-bashing but not when it’s used as an excuse to blame things that are ultimately OUR fault – we need to take responsibility for that as Sir John is doing here and setting a good example in).

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        It’s because the system starting right at the beginning is designed to dumb the country down and has been like this for decades.

        We’ve become a de-skilled nation. Too puffy to get our hands dirty, frightened stiff of hard graft and cold weather.

        The clock needs turning back in my opinion. If it were down to me I’d change the way we eat, educate, and I’d reintroduce National Service.

        • Ed M
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          @Steve,

          I agree. All I’m saying is that problem as the EU is, there’s more / a lot more going on that’s wrong with our great country than just the EU (and same / similar for other countries like us in the Western World).

    • bill brown
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful

      A far too high-level generalisation which does not stack up , look at my explanation further down

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear!
        But in moi’s humble, small opinion the EU is a bit of a legalistic organisation that just keeps rolling out regulations. These regs mainly benefit vested interests and so tend to squish innovation.
        See how keen the EU is on a “level playing field”…Thou shalt not compete.
        But hey…by all means direct me to the EU’s version of Microsoft or Google. Or even to a vacuum cleaner that works!!

      • dixie
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        But further down you explain nothing and in particular avoid addressing the issue of vested interests

    • steve
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Hoooray! We will be able to have proper vacuum cleaners again.

      I have a Hoover upright, and a Kirby. I’d recommend both any day.

    • dixie
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      You are absolutely right especially about vested interests. I banged up against the vested interest several times to the extent I refused to respond to RFQs and focused instead on opportunities outside the EU.

  9. Everhopeful
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Don’t you think that entrepreneurs might be a tiny bit too weary (and wary) to embrace the coming economic “new dawn”?
    It is a dreadful thing to conceive of and create a business which flourishes and is then snuffed out by spurious, anti-competitive rules and regs totally of govt’s greedy invention.
    And there’s been a lot of that lately!
    Realise…ordinary people are utterly wiped out, physically and emotionally, by the actions of politicians.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed the endless attacks on landlords over the past ten years have been hugely damaging. They even have to pay taxes on profits they have not actually made and are prohibited from charging for many services that cost them money. Like new contracts, deposit protections, inventories, agents fees and the likes. Then the social housing providers undercut them with unfair and subsidised competition.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        +1
        And isn’t it the case that people were “encouraged” to go into landlording because of dwindled/stolen pension funds and via low interest and easily obtained mortgages?
        People generally follow the logical path and then get totally screwed by govt.

      • graham1946
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        You mean you don’t get that back in the rents? Pull the other one.

        • steve
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          Actually Graham not all Landlords are on the make, some of us take in the homeless and given the maximum rent allowed by government is about £280 pm, we don’t actually make anything after overheads that, understandably, often come with these tenants.

          I break even, if I’m lucky. But only in the summer months. During winter the electric & gas easily wipe out any small profit I might make.

          Homelessness is a national disgrace, and some landlords are running at a loss in doing government’s and society’s job.

      • ChrisS
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Exactly right !

        I’m just doing my accounts and the fact that legitimately-incurred financing costs are no longer eligible for tax relief is a disgrace. We are the only kind of business refused tax relief on finance costs.

        Now we are to be faced with a large increase in Capital Gains Tax so we are hit from all sides, even if we decide it is no longer worth being in the business of providing homes for people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Why bother to build up a business if you have to pay up to 28% CGT on the sale of it (without even indexation) then another 40% of the balance on death?

      • Nig l
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        This is promoted by people who have made their money complaining that they can’t get as much cash out as they think they should.

        I have worked extensively with start ups, business angels networks etc, structure any deal to be tax efficient but I have never heard one who said they had a wonderful idea but CGT rates meant they were not progressing it.

        The truly successful people I met had an ‘in spite of’ positive approach, the less/ not successful had a ‘because of’ view negative like yours.

        That is the difference between can do America and can’t do U.K.

        • Ed M
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          GREAT COMMENT

          @Lifelogic, sorry but you really need to re-think your ideas here as you’re simply giving Sir John the wrong information.

          @Sir John, please listen to people such as Nig 1 on this (I have worked in IT / Digital for many years although not as senior / experienced as someone such as Nig 1).

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Well they should consider this and perhaps set the business up somewhere without any CGT or Inheritance taxes. I would certainly advise them to consider this. Or at least somewhere where they are at reasonable levels.

          Also if they do sell up it given them less cash to put into their next one. So the next business can employ fewer people and make lower profits.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Indeed. They tax and regulate us to death and wonder why we don’t want to innovate or risk assets we’re trying to protect from their authoritarian grasp and waste.
      Perhaps it would be a good idea to ferry some illegal immigrants across the channel and put them all up at 4* accommodation for a life time of free health care and benefits. I wonder who’s paying for this Governments largesse?

  10. Mr. Tines
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    My experience, from having worked in the industry in the “Silicon Fen” area for most of my working life, is that many promising small British companies get snapped up by the large American ones, providing a way for founders (and current staff) to cash out early.

    The US companies then also compete directly in the jobs market, with their name recognition and known stable prospects attracting talent that might otherwise have taken the riskier option of a local fledgeling company.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed this is what happens. The US have a larger market, deeper pockets, better access to capital. Once they see something works they buy it out. The founders get a few $ million but under the new owners the asset become worth $ billions.

      Engineers in the UK are also rather under paid and under valued. I have a very bright cousin a Cambridge engineering graduate and post graduate who earns very little at Rolls Royce Aerospace up in Derby. While rather daft, invariable lefty, English or similar graduates and at the BBC can earn 5-10 times as much just for dripping the nation in deluded lefty propaganda and climate alarmist lunacy. He could doubtless earn far more in the City but likes the engineering challenge.

      • Nig l
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Indeed but missing the most important element and no amount of legislation can change it. Attitude to risk. The dead hand of welfare protection has meant that in U.K./Europe there is always a safety net, albeit not a particularly comfy one.

        The US historically has not had that and do not forget it also has the ‘frontier’ spirit coursing through its veins. People took a risk to get there and then pioneer across the country.

        They are proud (much derided over here) of their country and trumpet that and celebrate success. Wealth creation (profit) are not swear words.

        Their ethos is self sufficiency and they understand the difference between motivation and maintenance factors. There also isn’t the stigma of financial failure there is here.

        This leads to a preparedness and need to take a risk hence seed capital raising is easier allied to ambition makes them a forward looking can do nation.

        Look how many sad contributors to this blog are always looking backwards and moaning rather than visioning the possibilities of a bright future.

        I take your point about engineers but it is the entrepreneurs we need to achieve scale first. Create demand which will pull through employment. Our governments not understanding are always obsessed with the supply side.

        • dixie
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:42 am | Permalink

          @Nig l – I agree with nearly all your points except the last, we need to be growing the opportunities and base of engineers/scientists and entrepreneurs.

          As well as improving the attitude to risk there also needs to be a good risk-reward balance – why should I spend years developing an idea for all the rewards to go to the money men?

      • Ed M
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        ‘He could doubtless earn far more in the City ‘

        Part of problem is that there’s a brain drain to the City.

        I am a big supporter of City of London (I have a lot of friends and family who work there – I want them to do well).

        But some of the brains in the city should be running their own international digital / high tech companies – where they would be enjoying themselves a lot more and no doubt making a lot more money.

        We also need to shift some of these brains from the City into High Tech / Digital so that we don’t have so many of our eggs in the same basket.

        • dixie
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:57 am | Permalink

          I was in product R&D down the M4 from London and we were always losing people to the significantly higher paying city.

          One answer is to not establish close to London, but this area was critical mass for computing & telecommunications. CrossRail will make things much harder as HS2 may likely do for the North.

          Although we were a transatlantic company we didn’t lose many staff at all to NA. Part of this was the range of projects I was able to offer that kept us in work and our people interested. This is a key factor, engineers are interested in novel, difficult and high impact projects, the wider the variety the better.

          • Ed M
            Posted January 1, 2021 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know, but how about set up nearer Cambridge?

            Further out. Lot of high tech companies in the area. And nice area to live (both the old university city, countryside around it, world class horse racing – all important factors in why people move to a particular part of the country).

          • dixie
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Why Cambridge or Oxford? As a product development company we never recruited there.

            Early mainframe and networking work was done at Manchester, if you were developing 3D printing technology you would have been more likely to work with Warwick, if medical computation it might be Leeds

            These days I would start by looking at Texas (Dallas or Austin), Singapore/Malaya, maybe India. I would have included HK but don’t see China as a viable option at present. The issue is not really the academic element but critical mass and how supportive the environment is – property availability and costs, local government attitude, taxes and how keen people are to work/make things.

            If forced to pick somewhere in the UK I would likely look at places with more of a tradition of application than theory, so Warwick, Bristol, Southampton, Manchester, South Wales. I would avoid London like the plague.

          • Ed M
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            @Dixie,

            ‘I would likely look at places with more of a tradition of application than theory’

            – I understand but Standford University played an important role in the development of Silicon Valley. So applying same idea how Cambridge area should become UK’s Silicon Valley.

            Cambridge is also a nice area to live (which is important in helping people to make their decisions where to live).

            At end of day, government also has a role to play in helping Cambridge area develop into UK’s Silicon Valley (as American government did in various ways in helping develop California as US’s Silicon Valley – I believe anyway, happy to be corrected).

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      +

      We should stop making it so easy for our up and coming innovators to be taken over by foreign concerns.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        This would make it harder for these innovators to raise fund and devalue their businesses by limiting the buyers.

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Bryan Harris

        “We should stop making it so easy for our up and coming innovators to be taken over by foreign concerns.”

        Equally it should be a serious criminal offence to supply invention and innovation to foreign countries.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        nor our essential Utilities.

      • dixie
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:59 am | Permalink

        The question is why our local concerns don’t invest?

  11. Stephen J
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    How can we create the right climate for business?

    Reduce the power of the government, starve it of cash, shut the tax offices, criminalise all socialists that want to use other people’s money rather than their own.

    How can we create the climate for BIG business…?

    Do the precise opposite.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      Top post !

  12. Timaction
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Governments should just get out of the way and stop thinking of ways to tax the successful. One example………..capital gains tax. Another inheritance tax. Why do Governments think its ok to tax us twice on money we’ve already paid tax on? Why should we have to think ahead of the Civil Serpents second guessing their next wheeze? Insurance taxes? Please! They should instead have a mind set of what can we cut? Free health care to foreign people? Proof of cover or credit card! When’s that going to happen after 10.5 years in office?
    Bit like the EU and their thoughts on our Fishing Grounds. Just because they’ve always abused us, doesn’t make it right. I agree with your comments regarding Pulse Fishing and super trawlers in the National press. A quick win and statement of intent on the so called level playing field of our environment and an own goal by our FRIENDS from the Continent.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Surely Greenpeace UK will help with this supertrawler issue.

      The Conservatives have got away with a lot over their rule blaming the EU for this, that and the other. Now they are accountable. An easy win for the NHS is to adopt the Spanish hospital system where foreign visitors and people on the health green card are treated and rebilled which I’ve been assured by many of the Remain devotees here has always been within their remit, well get on with it now. Bring this extra money into the Health service in areas of peak demand. Buy the off the shelf re-billing system and charge the same rates that other Countries charge us for the identical treatments, midwifery and ring fence this money to spend on their care.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      Ah, but those ever growing departments, and salaries, need funding.

  13. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The US has a way disproportionately high number of Nobel prize winners.
    The US has a great opportunity system at the top end of intellect, with scholarships and awards.
    The US has an inherent culture for us oldies to help and motivate the best younger folk

    I’m afraid the answer is a brilliant education system which funnels the best and brightest into situations where they have full access to the opportunities to push the buttons.

    We are good at looking after the vulnerable and feckless, but awful at anything to do with looking after the brightest as a society (until we need a vaccine).

    • Andy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      This is because our brightest and best mostly come from modest homes, go to modest schools then – if they are lucky – on to modest universities where they usually fail to make the connections they need to achieve anything beyond modest success.

      On the contrary: our decidedly average with rich well connected parents get sent to Eton, Oxford and from there straight into set ups jobs in the City or at The Daily Telegraph – then on to a safe Conservative constituency and Cabinet.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        That claim isn’t born out by the successes of the new wave of entrepreneurs who have made millions from sport, music, gaming, electronics computing and the internet.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I think the most significant advantage the USA system gives to its residents is a drive to succeed, whereas here in the UK we are too happy to be supported. It’s a hard world in the real world and only the strongest and fittest survive in nature. I don’t want our society to go that far, but when I read of people demanding and getting extra benefits as they are too fat to work I question what motivation they have to be anything other than eating and drinking machines.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        The attitude fed by so many Governments of both colours. Look after the disadvantaged has become ‘buy votes’ of the lazy.
        MPs are wary of saying as much, so the sit at home, have kids, live on benefits forever attracts the wrong type of immigrants, while the better ones know England to be an opportunity country.

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Robert McDonald

        “….getting extra benefits as they are too fat to work I question what motivation they have”

        Fully agree +1

        A good reason why national dietary behaviour needs to be returned to what it used to be i.e no fast food other than Fish & Chips – where the vinegar dissolved the fat in the gut before it could turn into body fat.

        And of course a return to seasonal foods. Plenty of British veg.

        Smoking is now second to health problems caused by obesity. Obesity is mostly self induced and shouldn’t be treated at tax payer’s expense on the NHS, other than that caused by genuine illness which represents a very small percentage truth be known.

        Cant work because of lifestyle choices ? No problem – no benefits.

    • Nig l
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      +1

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      In England our brightest 5% are left to get on with it and teach others in our Comprehensive school system, are usually sat with misbehaving children in a bid to make the teachers life easier as they encourage people to behave better, they get no scholarships, no extra classes or booster classes, no free Masters degree. Labour ruined Nagty the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth when they came into power and English average comprehensive school pupils will lose out from that as those in rich area comps and grammars can still get access to schemes they need.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      Those on the Left see success with envy and as unfair. Not a bit of it. If someone has what it takes to be successful then they have every right to enjoy the fruits of that success. Only here do we, in so many petty ways, seek to punish them.

      The latest scam is the so called, ‘Leveling Up !’

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    In 1 I think you are conflating IR35 and innovation. Contractors to a single organisation are unlikely to be at the forefront of development and if they are but de facto employees then the organisation will still employ them .

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I agree with NS here. Isn’t IR35 employers NI and if someone employs themselves then don’t they owe the element of employers NI, isn’t Employers NI intended to contribute 6% to their employees State Pension and Jobseeker’s Allowance should they become out of work, SSP is paid by the employer now, and 7% to the NHS medical costs of their employee, if everyone suddenly became self-employed then this hits the state pension pot for all and the NHS which everyone says they don’t want to do.

    • James Freeman
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      A contractor is different from an employee. They do not receive the range of costly benefits an employee gets. Examples include security of tenure, sick pay, holiday pay, pension, training and redundancy.

      For start ups contractors can hit the ground running and use their specialist skills to deliver short term projects.

      Although day rates might seem high, contractors work out more cost effective. There is no need to redeploy them once the initial project is complete.

      IR35 risks destroying the market for contingent skills making the UK less competitive.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        James, if a business has three employees that business has to charge a rate that covers the employees pay, their Potential sick pay provision, their holiday pay, their pension contribution and Employers National Insurance contribution, a contractor has to also price this in to their charge and pay themselves accordingly if they are sick SSP, if they are on holiday, to put aside 8% into their pension and top up private pension contributions to top up their state pension.

        If John’s government does away with IR35 then why would anyone take on the extra couple of staff John say he wants them to moving forward? Dismissing the employee if they are poor at their job is also a major cost undertaking and can be very detrimental to the owners business while they try to work through procedures. There is also the extra employer’s liability insurance payment, health and safety costs etc.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 6:33 am | Permalink

          a-tracy

          There are pluses and minuses to both being permanent employee and a subcontractor. The questions you have to ask is, why do people and business choose between the two, and what business does government have in this ?

          Tax and NI are one of the same – They both go in the same pot so NI is just another tax. Government likes tax because it funds their spending. Spending they use on things like HS2. 😉

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 1, 2021 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            IR35 is the deduction of taxes at source from a contractor by the company they are contracted to which I thought are balanced out at the end of the year when they submit their tax return so it is balanced out over the full year. The taxes deducted are not representative of the PAYE taxes and true costs deducted by an employer for their employee (sick pay provision, holiday pay provision inc overtime, SMP/SPL holiday provisions etc).

            Why shouldn’t taxation be the same for all individuals, then finally all of these people that use these opt arounds and schemes like the very highly paid tv stars we know of, might start to campaign to have less taxes taken off all. Quite a lot of them make me laugh because they call themselves socialists they don’t want to contribute as though they were PAYE.

            If the purpose of having a contracter is to do a three month contract and then get rid then that would still remain even if the taxation benefits were not the main driver, they roll their holiday pay cover into their gross charge.

            At the end of the day if it is no different whether you have a contractor or an employee tax wise then we are all taxed the same and employers aren’t using it to get around legislation then I don’t understand the problem. I think people would force tax rates down for everyone including the PAYE classes.

            I agree that they are all now just one big tax pot, they shouldn’t be they should have been ring-fenced as originally intended, invested and then the likes of ageist Andy wouldn’t get away with his horrendous posts.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        The contractor will then move onto another company James and will not have all annual income from one source.

        If the project is for a year or longer then they are an employee by another name. Temporary contracts achieved what you outline above.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      NS

      Whilst I agree with what you say IR35 is a sledgehammer to break a peanut. It started out in 1975 when the Inland Revenue discovered that the BBC was employing such staff. Yes, a certain former footballer and not TV host was not the first to do this 😉

      The Conservative government of the 80’s looked at this and found that many of the claims by the IR where somewhat overblown but, it took the New Labour government of Blair and Brown to swallow the rubbish of vast new revenue to bring it in. Since then, just like the virus excuses, the goal posts have constantly been changing. The rules have become so draconian that someone wanting to start up on their own will have a very tough time. All new business start with just one customer (employer) so all will be caught. Hardly fair ?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Quite Mark. Unintended consequences and all that.

        As ever with legislation it will be the little people who suffer while footballer-front men will serve two or three masters and not be caught by the scheme.

  15. DOM
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The spineless Tory mantra is today, ‘Public good, private bad’. Why? Cowardice and a realisation that it’s easier to simply join the Marxist, Anti-business narrative than to fight it

    Why would anyone want to start a business in such an appalling environment when event the PM turns to a authoritarian form of politics that promotes State control over all things?

    It defies belief that the voter cannot see how far left the Tories have moved

    Johnson is a a mere sign post in the Tory party’s shift towards interventionism across all areas

    I predict a Universal Benefit Income in the next 3 years and that really will destroy entrepreneurial spirit

    Not one single Tory MP has ever attacked the rise of the Marxists, its promotion and its embrace. It is seen as fashionable and the height of intellectual sophistication to declare your loyalty to a politics that elevates barbarity and hate to an art form?

    • agricola
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Could it be that Public screwed up Brexit for five years, PPE at the outset of Covid19, and too many other tape cutting projects to list here. Once people realise that government and the civil service should be kept at arms length when common sense is required the better it would be for all.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Universal benefit available to whom? Only those that have lived in the UK eighteen years or anyone that rocks up in a rubber boat?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        I think it does mean universal. Strangely enough, as with all COVID measures, it fits perfectly with the requirements of The Great Reset.
        Having destroyed the individual’s ability to support himself, the idea is to eventually give everyone a subsistence wage.
        Funny how they said they would extend the stupidly named “ furlough” to next year.
        Does the govt. have Nostradamus on its bloated payroll?

        PS Boris claims to have put a stop to benefits being claimed until after 5 years residence. Does that apply to rubber boats though?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      +1

  16. oldtimer
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    No doubt the UK government now has the freedom to sweep away needless regulation and to simplify the tax system to encourage entrepreneurial endeavour. The questions in my mind is whether those in charge understand what needs to be done, will actually do it and will withstand the deeply entrenched public opinion that “profit” is a dirty word and that those who have become wealthy must be relieved of their wealth as quickly as possible.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      They’ve had the EU as an excuse for decades, now our representatives have to perform, no more excuses, Boris says he got the deal now he has to follow through, if the EU stop projects then this needs to be clearly explained to the public, what, why, and the repercussions to the UK residents.

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        “Boris says he got the deal now he has to follow through”

        ….He won’t. For one thing he’ll be out soon when it sinks in that he’s sold us a lemon, and the conservatives realise his presence makes them highly unelectable.

        Threatening us with a Labour government as the alternative won’t work anymore.

        In interim, and for amusement, we should watch this dodgy bloke very closely. The second he allows any EU law or jurisdiction in this country – his collar should be felt by the electorate and he’s flung out.

        Hold the buggers excruciatingly tight to every last thing they say and don’t let up. Make life hell for them. Let them know betrayal comes at a price.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          I agree on all points made.

  17. BJC
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Oh, we’ll be quite capable of regaining our entrepreneurial spirit and we’ll plough billions of taxpayers’ money into grand projects. Then, when these (subsidised) fledgling businesses become profitable we’ll allow them to be sold off to the highest bidder, usually some foreign enterprise, because governments don’t have any pride in our achievements or our country and their egos simply won’t allow them to let future governments reap the rewards of long-term investments.

    Actually, I’m wrong. Margaret Thatcher’s government broke the mould and we’re still reaping the rewards of her historic and prudent decisions, albeit now severely diminished following decades of denigrating and dismantling of the fundamental principles of her premiership, e.g. on a domestic level, her policies created a new and dynamic environment that allowed me and many others the opportunity to buy our first home and now without crippling rents or mortgage payments to find, we need less money to live on relieving the State of intervention in our final years. Hero and true conservatism in action…….I remember it well.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I agree with BJC.

      Instead we are told the NWO wants a generation of renters, squirrelers and self-reliance is out of favour, know your station in life and you will be allocated everything according to basic need unless you’re in the right club, scheme, job, everything is short term use from the music you listen to, movies you watch – to the furniture and homes you use, they’re never yours you’ll be paying forever and then the State retains control over you, step out of line and you’re in a one bedroom box room in a high rise on a rough estate.

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        “know your station in life and you will be allocated everything according to basic need”

        ……..Only if US registered credit reference agencies say you can have it.

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      +1

  18. Sharon
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Facts4eu website give a brief round up of Brexit. Thank you Mr Redwood for not voting for the deal. You and Owen Patterson alone see the dangers.

    Facts4eu suggest we need a team within government called The Attack Dogs to fight off each and every attempt by the EU to worm their way in further to our heart.

    All this ‘deal’ has done has allowed a hostile power to continue to control us.

    That’s not taking back control! That’s a permanent war!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      We need +1

    • Nig l
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Christine
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      +1

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Hostile, venomous and despicable. Or as Boris calls them his friends.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        You could simply have summed up those three words by your fevered understanding of the word “foreign” though, couldn’t you?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          You keep playing your race card lately Martin
          Very sad.
          The three stages of a lost argument are :-
          1 personal abuse
          2 using the race card
          3 walking out after hissy fit

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        “Hostile, venomous and despicable”

        ….Ahh yes, lying shysters. Got plenty of them in government and the commons.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        using the words of his father?

    • steve
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Sharon

      “That’s not taking back control! That’s a permanent war!”

      Actually it’s BRINO, which was the intention all along. They were never going to honour the referendum as it stood.

      If they were, there would be no EU vessels in our territorial waters from 11pm tonight and NI would not be annexed to the ‘brave’ RoI.

      How did they pull it off ? –

      Johnson’s trade mark tricks with the timing of everything, and keeping it all quiet for as long as possible from behind the veil of covid non-pandemic. And telling us he’s walking away from the EU but doesn’t.

      Some might say a person who would deceive people in this manner was a ‘shyster’. You certainly wouldn’t buy a used car off him, especially not a battery powered toy car.

  19. ukretired123
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Simple answer to the question – Engineers and Entrepreneurs have been taken for granted in Britain and not valued as in Japan, USA, Germany and France. They would make a better job running the country, especially when rolling out the vital vaccine.

    The NHS records updating is the vital weak link missing in getting the Army involved and the efficient Private Sector logistics companies who offered distribution weeks ago. The civil service should be bypassed completely!

    • steve
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      ukretired123

      “They would make a better job running the country”

      …..agree, always said it.

      As far as I’m concerned anyone fit to lead this country, must :-

      1) Be able to repair motor vehicles or boats under arduous conditions as a matter of survival.
      OR-
      2) Have served a mechanical craft apprenticeship & be a good Miller / Turner.
      OR-
      3) Served in the Army or Royal Navy – not behind a desk.
      AND-
      4) Not scared of a fight and knows what hardship is.

      We need someone from the engineering industry, the shipyards, or the military to run this country.

      • ukretired123
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Steve “Not scared of a fight and knows what hardship is.”

        We had a Zoom at Christmas and you could tell who had seen Hard Times – dull and depressed – contrasted with few who were joyful – as everyday is Christmas compared post war black and white Britain.

  20. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    What would be good is a scheme whereby a new company start-up can pay say 10% of their profits so they don’t have to do all the red tape, which is done for them.
    They can concentrate on their core skills while the company is small, taking responsibility for the bureaucracy as they grow, giving them a chance to learn. Once they get to a certain size, they have to do it all themselves, just as they would now for a company of any size.

    • Andy
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      This would be useful. As, from 11pm tonight, the amount of red tape companies need is exploding.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Keep your head down then everyone.
        Only come out after the explosion.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Well somebody would be working for nothing at the beginning!

      The government has tried lots of schemes over the years with advisors and consultants who get paid £2x per hour, £x each from the company and government. All it does is push the market rate up from £x to £2x.

      The true answer is to scrape through on the compliance and regulatory hurdles at the beginning, with some extra pull from aspiring new customers to pull you through and maybe a grant or two. Even the big companies like the new guy on the block if he/she’s bright and keen.

  21. Andy
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The EU wants big companies to pay their fair share of taxes. Shocker.

    It really is only the Conservative Party that doesn’t.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The EU wants big companies to pay their fair share of taxes. Shocker.

      Indeed. It is shocking how many large corporates are registered in Luxembourg and The Netherlands. Quite shocking.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Mike allowed by the EU Single Market
        I’m sure Andy approves.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          The general public should be told who these Companies are and a light should be shone on this practice. It happens because no-one knows about it.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Yet there is an agreement that companies can register in one country where they submit their accounts and pay all their taxes.
      This is to allow multi national companies that trade in lots of national areas to not have to provide 40 or 50 sers of accounts every year.
      And to stop companies having to pay multiple tax bills which could end amounting to 100% of their trading.

  22. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Yes, agreed.

    Tax encouragements would help, but it is the attitude that comes from big government along with excessive red tape that kills many innovations — There is a fixed idea on what is acceptable as regards what areas startups should invest their talent in. Let’s also remove the insane social legislation curtailing the clever, and give them freedom to operate and grow.

    As companies grow in this new environment they should be encouraged to give more back, by providing inhouse ways to look after their employees to take pressure off the failing state systems.

  23. Iain gill
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    We have had good tech firms, they just tend to get bought by foreign giants once they reach a certain size. Micro focus, autonomy, the list goes on. We need to think about why they tend to cluster into US companies rather than the other way.

    We have also seen a lot of our tech business destroyed by our enthusiasm for Indian outsourcing, we used to command a premium on world markets by being the best, but the beancounters and politicians decided instead to compete on price, using thousands and thousands of the cheapest workers they could get from anywhere in the world. So inevitably the quality of the output drops, our international customers can see we are trying to compete on price not quality, so they just go elsewhere where its even cheaper.

    Like other businesses in tech we need to compete primarily on quality and innovation, and not try and win on a hopeless race to being cheaper. But this needs a national drive to protect our intellectual property much more rigourously, and protect our workforce.

    This is a subject I am expert in, it amazes me how suckered the political class are by people who do not have this countries best interests at heart.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Iain, have you ever thought about trying to get elected? On an IT specialist ticket. It is us the public who keep allowing these two large centralised parties to pick Oxbridge PPE candidates who’ve not lived as adults outside of London and the South East to represent Northern seats with no ideas about the lack of education standards, the pathetic transport connections, with no Regular public transport to hospitals, train stations, town centres – no connections at all!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        even if I won, I would be unemployable after 5 years as a professional politician. I wouldnt like the company I would have to keep. the risks and disadvantages for someone like me are far too high.

        thats one of the problems the political class have, the people they need to attract to their ranks most badly simply will not do it.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 2, 2021 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          I understand, its the family attacks for me, the total lack of privacy and being expected to toe a party line and being whipped to vote for things I don’t agree with to keep in with a party. The media make being a politician to be something dirty, they have hardly any free expression or speech, the buzz words are being careful, watching what you say, everyone connected to you going through the rinse if you dare to speak out.

          Some people aren’t very talented in the fields they are given to manage, they have no planning experience or logistical know how yet rise to the top in departments that need a lot of operational management. I wonder what sales and trade experience Liz Truss had to get her job, had she ever ran a business where she needed to attract business and grow from a seed and few resources, any export experience, we need to know who is in that time, which special advisors have the real world experience?

          • Iain Gill
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            its bad enough that the ministers often have little relevant experience, or indeed any experience of the real world, but its made worse by the poor quality of public sector people directly advising them

  24. agricola
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Is the fault in the mindset of our inventors/creators, is it a total lack of commercial thinking on the part of government, do we have an abysmal monopolistic banking system that is risk averse, or perhaps a combination of all the above. We created the first computer, the internet, the jet engine in parallel with the Germans and numerous ground breaking bits of kit, but apart from Rolls Royce we failed to capitalise on any of them. Lets see what happens to the Oxford Astra Zeneca Covid19 vaccine. At the moment it is the cheapest and logistically the easiest to handle. Once proved in the UK, what plans are there to capitalise on it as the export commodity of the year. What is government doing, what serious support are the banks giving to seriously expand production, or are they all scratching their navels and leaving it to Pfizer. I would point out that just for starters there are 365,000,000 in the USA needing a jab of immunity at an acceptable price.

    We have the example of Amazon with all it’s good points and its less attractive ones. Why are we not creating an alternative in the UK with tax advantages for being incorporated in the UK. Basically it is a buying, warehousing and distribution business, not rocket science. Looking at the good bits from M&S, Zara and a few others why is the same not being done with clothing. Why have we allowed the gambling industry to disappear offshore for tax advantage.

    The creative thinking is in the UK, ask why it is not fully supported by all the other elements particularly as they are down the line beneficiaries.

    • agricola
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Something else you don’t like.

  25. GilesB
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Under the EU’s napoleonic code, everything is banned, unless it is explicitly permitted. No new products or working practices are allowed unless and until they have been authorised by the regulators. The rules confine not only what you are allowed to do, but also how you must do it.

    Now, in the U.K., we restore the principle that everything is permitted, unless it is explicitly banned. The regulators need to scurry to keep up. As the vanguard of global innovation, from Global Britain the clarion call to entrepreneurs and innovators is ‘You can make it here!’.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      There are at least twenty-seven sovereign jurisdictions in the European Union.

      They each have their own legal basis.

      The UK alone has three.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Unless restricted by their treaty obligations.
        You missed out that bit.
        Oops.

  26. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Freezing cold for days – and the air is still . . . So how are the all electric cars going to cope in this?

    • Julian Flood
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Teams of magic unicorns are being bred even as we speak. These will pull your Tesla while the optional exhaust collector will provide sweet gases for your central heating.

      JF
      (Drax is obviously working flat out with a couple of smaller contributors producing 3MW of biomass electricity. Pity that it’s from felling US forests.)

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        +

    • RichardM
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Bigneil The air has been still you say, yet today wind has managed to contribute 10%, and 19% in the last week. Of course it fluctuates, but the number of ‘windless’ days in 2020 in terms of electricy generated is actually zero.

    • steve
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      bigneil

      “Freezing cold for days – and the air is still . . . So how are the all electric cars going to cope in this?”

      ……yeah, LOL.

      Second largest energy drain next to the motive power. Stupid things.

  27. Nivek
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    “How can the UK…create the right climate and policy background…?”

    If you wish to encourage the growth of UK social media companies, I believe that a good place to start may be to look at the state of freedom of expression in this country.

  28. beresford
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Gavin Williamson says the Government hopes not to impose a national lockdown. Most of the country is now in ‘Tier 4’ where you are told to stay at home, only ‘essential’ businesses can open, and you are not allowed to get your hair cut in case covid-spreading mobs form outside the barbers. In what way is this different from a lockdown, and what voice has Parliament had?

  29. Walt
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    IR35 is a justified response to tax avoidance. 15 years ago a company offered engagement but its contract (a) puported that I would be in business as a separate entity, (b) read more like a contract of service than a contract for services, and (c) sought to make me liable for any differences in tax and NIC if the terms of engagement were subsequently overturned by HMRC. The contract was clearly an attempt to avoid the tax and NIC costs of direct employment. I declined the contract. Why should those who chose to become parties to such contracts escape the consequences of their actions?

  30. formula57
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    We are told by AnnaLee Saxenian that we do not have proper clusters as there is not the necessary level of interaction and mutual support between businesses that is found in those in the USA. We might need a change of culture: hard to bring about, clearly.

  31. MWB
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    ARM was a UK giant of the technology revolution, but was sold to Softbank of Japan, and then sold on to Nvidia in USA.
    The usual UK short termism and lack of vision.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      It and so many others over decades shows clearly the lack of serious investment by technology backers. An indictment of British ‘shopkeepers’ .

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        it has been a long time since Wedgwood Benn and his enthusiasm for promoting British Tech.

    • IanT
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes – complete lack of vision from UK Government to protect important companies from overseas predators. You can ‘seed’ all the innovation youwant but youalso have to shelter it too!

    • hefner
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Prevalent in the ‘70s, encouraged from 1979 onwards. For energy, see ‘Energy: The State and the Market, British Energy Policy ’ by the recently knighted (2021 Honours List) Sir Dieter Helm.

    • ukretired123
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Nig l
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Another set of unmeasurable cliches, short termism, lack of vision. ARM has always licensed its products not manufactured them, the high value work with the IP remains in Britain and Nvidia if it can satisfy regulators both here and in the US has guaranteed U.K. job security.

      Presumably you think Vodafone acquisitions in Germany, Kabel Deutschland etc show the German short termism/lack of vision or maybe you would look at facts nit cliches and see how their network has benefitted from both the competition and investment.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      MWB – was it the UK that sold off ARM or was it the owners? If the owners then did the UK had some leverage here?

      • MWB
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Well it was the compamu owners of course, the shareholders.

        • MWB
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          But try taking over a prime technolpgy company in USA, France, Germany or Japan, and see how many barrires suddenyly appear.

    • jon livesey
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      ARM was founded, grew and eventually was sold for $11bn in *new* cash that went into the UK economy. Since that money went to the shareholders, probably a chunk of it then went into creating new UK start-ups. And so on and so on.

      I can’t see what is even mildly negative here.

  32. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The simple fact is that in many areas of business and life, the internet creates natural monopolies.

    What is the point of a hundred search engines? There isn’t. Hence Google.

    What is the point of a hundred social media platforms. There isn’t. Hence Facebook – which owns Instagram and WhatsApp. The only other serious player is Twitter – and that is rather niche.

    What is the point of millions of web sites to buy goods? Goods from sites who don’t even have a physical address and who often deliver shoddy goods you spend your life trying to return and getting your money back. Hence Amazon – who have built their brand on customer service.

    And, in this country, everyone who starts a tech business sells out as soon as they can. It is part of the ‘get rich quick’ mentality prevalent in this country.

  33. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I have run my own business for most of my life. I have been involved in several start-ups – one of which got listed on AIM. Others needed a lot of capital to develop. The VCs we approached, even in the .com days, were very risk averse. Yet, then you would see some company that had presumably raised millions because they had adverts on TV at every ad break telling you to send them your gold. These sprung up like weeds some time ago. What a business model. Easy to set up. Easy to compete. Easy to drive the price down. Yet they raised money!

    In more recent years, before retiring, I ran my own software development business. On a number of occasions clients wanted a lot more work done – so I had to employ people. This I simply refused to do. I’ve been there before and I can’t stand having to run PAYE, pay sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay, run a workplace pension and spend my life worrying about cash flow so that THEY can always have their monthly salary while I have to wait for mine. Oh, and having to make sure their chairs are comfortable and their working life is not uncomfortable in any way. Etc. Etc. When I absolutely had to take on extra staff, I got them from an employment agency so I didn’t have to worry about that lot. I made less money, but I didn’t care. Running a small business is TOO ONEROUS. I can’t be arsed with it.

  34. agricola
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    If I am to believe the DM, the big holdup in getting the Astra Zeneca jab administered is the bureaucracy involved in confirming that recently retired medical staff are qualified to do it. Health and safety in overkill it would seem. With no qualification as a twenty year old I first practised on oranges and gave one morphine injection for real. Have since for various reasons given myself around fifty jabs to good effect. Most ex soldiers could do it. So for once don’t let the paperwork take precedence over peoples lives.

    • jon livesey
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      My vet showed me how to give insulin to my cat. It took ten minutes, plus a pissed-off cat.

  35. Everhopeful
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    All red tape should be scrapped.
    It makes nothing safer and costs money.
    Tick box culture is far more dangerous.
    And red tape turns people into cowards!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Much truth in this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Largely they are parasitic job creation schemes.

    • Nig l
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      A much churned out unmeasurable cliche. The mythical red tape that no one specifies. Presumably you think it harms our competitive position so let us see your international comparisons, presumably you have some, to make this statement and then we can look at best in class and emulate.

      Maybe you would tell my. with all companies having this so called red tape, some are markedly more successful than others.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, anyone should be allowed to come and live here from anywhere in the world?

      Oh, not THAT red tape eh?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Silly BillyMartin.
        Not that red tape.

        Name a nation outside the EU that allows completely open borders.

  36. Christine
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    British people invented the computer, the World Wide Web and over 50% of the World’s inventions. We are fantastic at innovation but very poor at putting them into production. The Government never seems to protect its industry like other countries. When the pandemic hit and stocks went down the German Government immediately banned the takeover of any of its companies. We did nothing. Most politicians here have the wrong background to enable them to make any meaningful contribution to the success of a company. They spend their time thinking of how to waste our tax money, inhibit the growth of industry with high energy costs and regulations, now we have the ridiculous lockdown measures. We need smaller Government with less interference to enable our country to thrive.

    • Lynn
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      You should be a Spad. You are 100% on the money.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      We need smaller Government with less interference to enable our country to thrive.

      For that to happen we need a new political party with that very aim.

      • Christine
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        I agreed. That’s why I loved the Brexit Party as its MEPs were people who had worked in industry and weren’t career politicians.

  37. Will in Hampshire
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    American corporates invest time and effort in scouting for attractive British companies, and are prepared to make generous offers to acquire them. A recent example is the acquisition by Cisco of IMIMobile earlier this month. Founders and shareholders are typically happy to accept such offers, relieving them as they do of the burden of risk and making liquid the value of their equity at an attractive valuation. I think you have to ask what might be done in policy terms to change that calculation if you want to increase the frequency with which companies decline such offers and continue to pursue growth independently.

  38. Richard1
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    A good start would be to stop all talk of wealth taxes and raising CGT to the highest level in the developed world. Mr Sunak needs to produce a radical reforming and simplifying budget with headline grabbing initiatives as Nigel Lawson did in the 80s. Lawson (and Howe before him) moved the U.K. from being the investment pariah of Europe to its most dynamic economy in the space of a decade.

  39. Stred
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The American big tech companies are being prosecuted by independent attorneys for crushing competition by over valued early buy outs. European systems such as Skype and music online were bought out. Bitchute will be under pressure because it shows content which American democrat big tech censors.

  40. rose
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am with Sir John on his abstention and for the same reasons.

    But I would like to thank the PM too. From the moment he became Foreign Secretary he has been operating in hostile territory, and yet not once lost his determination or his sang froid. As FS he was continually briefed against by the FCO, no 10, and the Cabinet Office. They held meetings when he couldn’t be there because he was abroad. He was the only one in that administration who advocated leaving on WTO terms, and by the sound of things the only one in this, even though they are supposed to have signed up for that.

    He went from the leadership contest straight into being a prisoner of the apparently immortal Traitors’ Parliament, yet managed to escape and acquire a majority, all the while being surrounded day after day with typical inhabitants of Westminster, Whitehall, and the Media, all working for the other side.

    He could not have done without Gove, but the latter has all along been happy to settle for Norway without the fish, and is wonky on the Union. Besides, he wants to be PM. He has been in a hugely powerful position, not being bowed down by a big department yet being at the heart of government.

    This year has been hell: first the floods which the PM was blamed for, and then the plague. He was obviously the one who didn’t want to have authoritarian measures after China, but he is the one who gets called Dictator. It was an impossible situation with the whole MSM accusing him of mass murder while they pushed the Chinese measures, and the public falling into line and demanding ever more.

    Nearly dying himself, the birth of the baby, the negotiations, the trouble with the teachers, the Chinese buying up all the PPE and the PM being blamed for that too, and all the while continual pressure to cancel Brexit, but he didn’t. Then overwhelming pressure to settle for no sovereignty, and he didn’t.

    I live in a city where all four MPs are Labour, the Council is Labour, the Mayor is Labour, the Clergy are Labour, and the whole lot of them are remainiacs. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone and I really appreciate having an imperfect Conservative government with a united and diligent Cabinet. We must work with them, not bring them down. Sir John achieved clause 38 in the WA and now the exit clause. Let us see what else he can do. They do listen.

  41. Newmania
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Leaving aside the mirth-making suggestion that IR35 prevented Google UK… We are already an easy place to start up a business .The US (6th to our 8th per World Bank ) scores comparably. One key measure is access to trading across borders ,so the UK is certainly hovering over the relegation zone now.
    One of a my greatest concerns with Brexit was the threat to the future of Financial Services which has fizzed with innovatory start ups for decades.
    Outside the Equivalence zone UK security is inadmissible . An Aviva or UBS can redirect functions into the EU and many jobs have already gone, but the poison in the well is this.
    The UK is now the worst place in Europe for a new venture in Financial Services.
    The situation is currently fluid but I have little doubt that the City have been telling this Government they will not sit still for this hence Mr Sunak`s desperate promise of um….something .
    Many of us will recognise his ” Can`t say too much ..stuff coming up ” spiel as a cue to run for the lifeboats. What a sad time we we live in

    In the room the women come and go
    Sipping a vile ‘English Nouveau’
    Talking of fish and taking control
    Goodbye the German and the Pole
    Now we can dream our dreams alone
    Waiting to die in an old people’s home

    Ithenku

    • Edward2
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      What a very odd post.

  42. turboterrier
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Sir John.

    If a lot of the web blogs on hydrogen are only half true which I do not think they are, there is going tobe a seismic explosion in investment and training. I just hope that this government gets behind it big time and let the scientists and engineers come up with the new generation of appliances that will enable existing gas boiler installations to be upgraded at a fraction of the cost of upgrading to all electric boilers or heat pumps. Hydrogen networks would also keep the infrastructure that exists for fuelling vehicles in place possibly saving thousands of jobs.

    To you and your family may the new year exceed all your expectations.

  43. Julian Flood
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    While government – particularly this government – is not an organisation I’d expect to be able to steer the technological changes needed to compete in this century, it still has a role. The loss of Cummings’ drive for a UK ARPA is a loss and someone else — who has the sense to wear a suit while still thinking new thoughts – should take up the torch. Imaginative funding to match the US version which spends £2.7 billion/year will yield much needed innovation.

    Overseas aid is an insult to the British taxpayer and smacks of condescension to the recipients. How much better it would be if we were to develop crops which address the problems of the third world, which address environmental degradation and which carry out massive research projects which assess what is going on with our oceans. And etc. Cut the Aid budget to £6 billion of which £3 billion is for UKARPA. Give aid recipients good food and a healthier environment rather than giving fleets of Mercedes to corrupt rulers.

    Off the top of my head.. Engineer legume crops to contain omega-3 fatty acids — good for humans, better still for farmed salmon which would no longer be fed on sand eels which would be a lifesaver for puffins. Put the haem gene into beans, thus addressing the problems of anaemia in impoverished populations. Add trehalose to make drought and frost resistant crops. Plankton populations are either crashing or stable depending on the paper you read: fund an emergency research programme into plankton changes, oil and surfactant alteration of the ocean’s surface, trace the damage done by dissolved silica and nitrogen fertiliser run-off from industrial farming. Order a first batch of prototype SMRs which as barge mounted instant providers of electricity could in ten years alter the health and wealth of many millions. Fund phage research…

    It’s common sense. It’ll never catch on.

    JF

  44. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    There are one of two European big tech companies but probably people haven’t heard of most of them as they serve businesses rather than consumers. The German company SAP for example, E30bn company with 100,000 employees. Even on the consumer side Spotify is a E16bn European tech company. So, there are some but not many.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Ah…SAP …I was appraising them for a large corporation back in the low 90s. A very conceited sales pitch, but good, very expensive ERP business software.
      Along the lines of ‘if you need to know the price of this Rolls-Royce sir, you can’t afford it’. That went ahead, but on another occasion, this time in California, they ruffled the locals, who insisted on being the customer with choice and put their business with Baan.
      Reminds me of the EU approach to business.

  45. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Bernie Cook in Harrogate started up a small business in the 1990s before the internet arrived properly. He was investigating how to come first in the selection process. Google was a thing that teenagers introduced me to and he was into that. He did websites and designed a trip (virtual) round Ripon Cathedral. He also ran his own version of broadband.

    After a year, he sold up for a million pounds, highly satisfied.

    I wasn’t though. I worked for him as an internet salesman. He could have been Google, broadband, website king…

  46. Martin W D T Ward
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The general public’s perception of the internet is formed by:-
    Microsoft Office, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc – from the US

    …..and “We value your privacy – OK to use cookies Y/N” at every website – from the EU

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately US software makers do not acknowledge the demand for better and more selective cookie filters for users – of course they don’t, they get money for not so doing – and so these tiresome site-by-site dialogues are the only other means of protecting people’s privacy.

      I have the blunt instruments of “block all cookies” and “stop cross-site tracking” only, for instance.

      It’s impossibly impractical to stop Google’s third party cookies from every other site that you visit, which I would do instantly given the choice.

    • hefner
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      MWDTW, Interesting. Indeed the Y/N questions are a pain in the neck, but without the EU GDPR you would not even know that all your information is being continuously passed to various companies and very likely sent to the USA ‘for further processing’.

      ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit …’ and this type of things …

      But after all you might have been one of those whose data have been used by Facebook, Twitter and various other AggregateIQ-type companies and you might even have been very happy that they helped you vote ‘independently’ during the referendum, mightn’t you?

  47. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    As others have said ARM was not just a Great Success story in the World of Technology. They were and still remain the Worlds Dominate Player in all digital devices as of this week 138 billion devices exist because of ARM.

    The UK’s Government in all of this – Oh let the technology go, who cares1

    Sir John your heart is in the right place, but those around you with all the power just don’t care about the success of the UK

  48. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The EU according to the FT has brought forward a few hundred billion of taxpayer Euro’s just to produce its own Chips. Level playing field anyone.

    While they were at it the EU signed up for a trade deal with there biggest importer by a long way – China. No requirement for China to obey EU Laws and Regulations or adhere to EU standards in there own domain. Looks like the Mugs we employ have been conned again. Once is maybe a mistake, twice they should have known better – but over and over what do you call that.

  49. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Industry, all industry needs competitors – not take-overs or consolidation

    With very few exceptions all take-overs are those that cant do it buying up those that do. Or alternatively they are those with foresight seeing a competitive threat coming and removing it.

    You cant pronounce to be a ‘Free Marketeer’ then applaud those that distort it.

  50. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Red tape and bureaucracy does not produce anything, it sucks the life blood from innovation. It doesn’t protect anything or anyone other than the jobs those employed in as paper pushers. The market, the real market is the real protector. But Governments and this Governments is at the top of the list manipulate so as to control to the detriment of all.

    More and more tax doesn’t produce more money for our shared facilities it inhibits the inflow – reducing tax intake. The higher the tax burden, the more the wealth creators and driving force behind a countries wealth ‘off-shores’ its base to avoid getting penalised.

    I usually try to avoid names, but just ask why Jim Ratcliffe left the UK for Monaco this year. A 85$ billon a year self made man & company, yet it would appear it needed to go some where less hostile to do business.

    It is this Government, this Conservative Government that has taken to wearing a mini-me EU hat and putting personal ego ahead of the Countries Wealth, Health and Security.

  51. JimS
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Before we had the digital revolution we had the semiconductor revolution.

    In the USA companies started with two men in a garage. As their companies expanded some of their employees with good ideas left to start their own companies in garages.

    Meanwhile in the UK our major electrical company, GEC, was brought before a HoC select committee and asked why they weren’t leading the semiconductor revolution. The answer was that they were waiting to see which would be the best technology to use – i.e. two men in the USA were prepared to risk all but GEC was unwilling to even match them.

    As an aside the boss of GEC, in front of another HoC committee, was asked about integrated circuits. He replied that GEC made all of its printed circuits in-house. That confused but satisfied our MPs. It should be noted that an integrated circuit is a complex device, a printed circuit is essentially just the wiring, as a teenager I made them in my bedroom.

    Then, as now, UK management and MPs don’t ‘do’ technology.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      No wonder I didn’t make a success of my life, I’ve never had a garage. I did have the idea of a clockwork radio 15 years before Trevor Bayliss, made a cassette tape rewinder that uses no batteries, a world wide travel insurance scheme which indemnifies countries and travellers (No company will sign a confidentiality agreement whatever Mr Bayless said), a product which did away with headlight dipping… etc., etc

  52. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Boris has secured a deal with regards Air Travel in the Brexit Agreement – so he says.

    The EU requires all(that is those you thought were UK based) airlines to be majority owned by EU investors to continue to fly. The Level playing field in action.

    There is no deal on banking and services (The UK’s No1 export to the EU) unlike other World financial centers New York, Singapore(that have been awarded free movement etc) the City of London has reduced access and will have to relocate to trade in the EU. This a EU fair and level playing field in action.

    The UK has been set up by Boris and Chums to be punished.

    • Lynn
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Boris and Chums have set themselves up to get 9% in May – let’s see if we can give them less than that. Vote for anyone but the Tory, that increases the total vote and reduces their percentage.
      The Tory Party need every encouragement to sack the government, it is now private sector business or Boris, mutually exclusive, it’s one or the other.
      Insofar as one of the major the shortcomings of the Boris ‘agreement’, Melanie Phillips proposes the Irish Republic leaving the EU as the solution to the ‘Irish Sea border’. I agree. If it’s painful for them, they will leave and join our union. Let’s make it painful and not enable the victory of Sinn Fein.

      • rose
        Posted January 2, 2021 at 12:21 am | Permalink

        One of David Cameron’s failures over our decision was not to prepare with Southern Ireland. He should have remembered we always did everything together when it came to the EU: went in on the same day, stayed out of the Schengen Area together, stood up to the EU on tax harmonisation, etc. If the socialists had been clearer about our intentions, Southern Ireland might not have gone into the single currency.

        Instead he panicked and he and then Mrs May allowed the EU to gang up with the IRA to foul up our exit.

        Eventually this negligence and stupidity will have to be corrected and the border put across the Celtic Sea, not down the Irish Sea.

        After all, both of us do more trade with the USA than with the EU. And we haven’t even got an FTA.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      So, we move out of EU airlines and put large duties on flights to the EU. Who loses?

  53. Original Richard
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    We would need a complete change of attitude, education and culture to believe building, constructing, designing, engineering, inventing, and generally “doing” and producing is more important than controlling, regulating, taxing, suing, and equalising,

    We would need an MSM, particularly the BBC, to promote good news instead of only bad news and to stop gas-lighting us into believing that the only morally justified jobs are in the caring public sector, that we are all “ists” and suffering from phobias and mental illness.

  54. Fishknife
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Now that we can think, act and legislate for ourselves it’s time we did.
    We have a shortage of nurses and an under employed population we are paying to sit on their hands, many medically educated.
    Only Red Tape and a lack of imagination keeps them apart.
    50 years ago I was given an atropine injector to stab in my thigh, give everyone with a NHS number an injector – sell them world wide.

  55. John Hatfield
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    “There is the hostility to enterprise and small business, with legislative solutions favouring costly and intrusive regulation suited to incumbent large companies”

    Is it not these incumbent large countries that control the government? Without these people lobbying the government I am sure we would have been able to exit the EU without the attached strings we now have.

  56. bill brown
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    We are into genralisations on the Eu gain, which do not stack up.

    There are lots of countries in the EU which haave an enterprising culture and support and develop new companies. In particualr Denmark Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Netherlands which is why there is a strong technology culture in particular in Sweden, Finland and Estonia and for biotechnology in Denmark
    So, please can we have a balanced view of the market we have just left and not just overarching generalisaitons that do not stack up.

    Happy New Year

    Reply So why are the FANGS all US?

    • bill brown
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Sir JR

      Thank you for your kind answer and follow up , one does not nescessairly exclude the other as both Berlin and Stockholm have crated significant technology companies as Lonodn in the past five years. I was talking about siginifcant generalisaitons not just FANGS

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        You started by talking about generalisations.
        Then when challenged you became very specific.
        How does that work?

        • bill brown
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          It works very well thank you for your kind contribution as my first contribution was relatiively specific as well

          • Edward2
            Posted January 1, 2021 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            Berlin and Stockholm have technology companies just like London does.
            But your point whilst correct is irrelevant.

            The question originally being asked was why does America have nearly all the major ones.

  57. forthurst
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    What are the real areas of concern:

    Item 2. Yes, banksters when they are not selling each other derivatives, look askance at anyone with the temerity to ask for a loan if it’s not to acquire a pile of bricks of varying sizes. In the USA, the banks are fully prepared to back startups and to write off money if they fail knowing that backing a good business in its early days will offer future rewards. Take away their bankers’ licences if they provide no benefits to the entrepreneurial economy.

    4. Government meddling sometimes called ‘picking winners’. Examples of this include the formation of ICL from ICT, English Electric, and a bit of Ferranti. Completely incompatible so the whole far less than the sum of the parts. Where is ICL now?

    5. Government allowing the formation of highly damaging monopolies. GEC was formed by the takeover of hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses, including advanced electronics, in which R&D was banned unless funded by a government contract. Where is GEC now?

    6. Government referring to foreign takeovers as ‘trading’ as ‘we are a trading nation’. The list as we know is endless. People frequently refer to ARM but what about that other potential great company derived from Acorn and the genius of Sophie Wilson, Element 14, now driving the growth of Broadcomm? Apart from trading there are the simple giveaways like the jet engine and radar.

    7. Governments allowing the formation of highly damaging conglomerates in which disparate businesses, accumulated by accountants, having zero synergies eventually break up with bankruptcies and foreign acquisitions. Many examples including Trafalgar House.

    8. The government’s determination to prove that everyone can succeed equally by cutting off the opportunities for those good at thinking from qualifying for a specialist school (grammar school); no, far better to make all exams much easier so everyone can pass.

    Perhaps its time to look at the calibre and background of people who want to become politicians? Maybe an Eton ie comprehensive ‘woke’ education and a degree in PPE is insufficient to address the modern world which continues to evolve and change and become more technologically advanced with every year that passes?

    • Dennis
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      The first operational jet engine was designed in Germany by Hans Pabst von Ohain and powered the first jet-aircraft flight on August 27, 1939. The outbreak of World War II finally spurred the British government into supporting Whittle’s development work. His patent was in 1930.
      But a Frenchman got a patent for a jet engine in 1922, never built, so prior contenders, but RR engines sell well all round the world I think.

      • forthurst
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 1:10 am | Permalink

        GE has 55% market share; Pratt & Witney has 26%.

    • jon livesey
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      “Examples of this include the formation of ICL from ICT, English Electric, and a bit of Ferranti.”

      Thank you, a perfect example. I worked for ICL, back in the day, and we wrestled with three incompatible architectures, as you note, and just about everything we did was aimed at persuading the Government of the day, which had created the company, to bring us customers and contracts.

      ICL was a text-book example of what happens when politicians and civil servants, who do not understand technology, try to “structure” the economy and businesses without ever grasping how the component companies related to their markets.

      In the end, ICL’s internal incoherence and conflicting and mutually hostile design teams, killed the company and it was sold off to Fujitsu.

      ICL was a Government sponsored failure, while ARM and dozens of private start-ups have succeeded. Compare and contrast.

  58. glen cullen
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    BBC reporting – Gibraltar will join the EU’s Schengen zone and follow other EU rules, while remaining part of the UK

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 1, 2021 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      This is what the BBC wrote ‘To avoid a hard border, Gibraltar will join the EU’s Schengen zone and follow other EU rules, while remaining a British Overseas Territory.’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-55497084. Other articles such as one in the FT Say the agreement will ‘in effect’ make Gibraltar part of the EU Shenzhen free movement area – just between Gibraltar and Spain.

      This we are told is to allow Spanish citizens to work in Gibraltar/ so what did Spain have to contribute for this permission? Will there be ID cards required, can people just jet off from Gibraltar airport into the UK without passport checks?

  59. dixie
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    If you want a large population of startups then you need to make it easy for people to get started and understand that not everyone is motivated by profit.

    The biggest problem I found when trying to start an activity is the lack of low cost premises and transport.

    So my suggestions are;

    1. Stop converting everything to dormitories
    2. Stop centralising everything, it’s better to have dispersed light industrial estates than a very few central (expensive) ones.
    3. If the “high street” is failing in retail then encourage a change of use to light manufacturing, R&D, education, anything, but the very last thing to do is to convert it to residential.

    Last year Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell and West Berks collaborated on a programme to encourage local activities and small businesses. But the rule was there had to be commercial partners and a commercial outcome. This precluded any involvement of social enterprise and non-commercial activity, open source development or even enthusiasts.

    Desktop 3D printing has become a major commercial and industrial element but it was the enthusiasts and open source projects that made it all happen, commerce and profit cam later.

    Big companies come from small companies come from many ideas, not all commercial.

  60. Murphy
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow! You guys are really brave- from 2300hrs no single market no customs union with your neighbours- wow! can’t say it any other way

  61. jon livesey
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    So, our problems are caused by too much Government interference, but also by the Government negligently allowing the shareholders of ARM sell the company that they, the shareholders, own.

    I don’t think you could easily get a more perfect Catch 22 than that.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      The government has a golden share in Rolls-Royce; is that interference? In most sensible countries the government has an implicit golden share in all its businesses and those businesses tend to grow and prosper and are not at risk from their foreign shareholders as ARM was.

      • jon livesey
        Posted January 1, 2021 at 12:33 am | Permalink

        Government has a golden share in RR because it rescued it financially, not because it’s “implicit” or standard practice. This golden share protects a defence and security resource; it does not defend a normal commercial company from takeover.

        And ARM was not “at risk” any more that any other company that gets bought. ARM was at one time a hot start-up, and then it became an established company with moderate growth, which ws when Softbank bought it – in fact that is *why* Softbank bought it.

        Softbank paid $11bn for ARM, which was $11bn of new money for investment in the UK economy, and fortunately that money went to ARM shareholders and not to the UK Governemtn or taxpayers..

        I say fortunately, because those shareholders had already demonstrated that they knew a good investment by investing in ARM, and they had shown that they treated investments *as* investments, and not as exercises in Government interference or false patriotism.

        • forthurst
          Posted January 1, 2021 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Governments have poured billions into failing British companies without the justification of national security. Having done that with R-R, however, they blocked foreign takeover with a golden share.

          The money released by the sale of ARM went substantially into foreign pockets. Once a company is sold its future course cannot be influenced at all and like a carcass can be fought over by foreign jackals whose interests are in no way alighed with those of the British people.

          • Iain gill
            Posted January 2, 2021 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Intellectual property invented partly on the public purse, eg significant university input, should have a British public golden share, and should be protected in the national interest.

        • dixie
          Posted January 2, 2021 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          “Softbank paid $11bn for ARM, which was $11bn of new money for investment in the UK economy for investment in the UK economy”

          So where did that $11b go exactly, what investment in the UK economy has been made from that USD $11b?

          During the last 20 years ARM had been gobbling up numerous small companies that could have become bigger, then all that IPR went East then West.

          For me the issue is that we don’t have enough such SME companies here that could grow large and neither the city nor the government give a toss about our economy – only the city matters.

  62. Otto
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    The first operational jet engine was designed in Germany by Hans Pabst von Ohain and powered the first jet-aircraft flight on August 27, 1939. The outbreak of World War II finally spurred the British government into supporting Whittle’s development work. His patent was in 1930.
    But a Frenchman got a patent for a jet engine in 1922, never built, so prior contenders, but RR engines sell well all round the world I think.

    • Iain gill
      Posted January 2, 2021 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yes and Chuck Yeager was the only allied pilot to shoot down a German jet in world war two. He joined their military in the ranks, with a poor background, but got commissioned early on talent. Ended up a general who was still rated to fly fighter jets, and would regularly do so. Exactly the kind of person so badly missing at the top of the British public sector. Oh and he broke the sound barrier.

  63. XY
    Posted January 1, 2021 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    No more IR35.

    Spot on. But how?…

    A major part of the root cause here is Employer’s NI. This is a truly silly form of tax that hurts workers by making businesses pay more for their services. When a business can employ a worker to do the work in another country and pay their salary in that country, without Employer’s NI, then the British worker is immediately at a disadvantage over their competitors in other places.

    Employers NI then creates a need for artificial “employment statuses” because there is a large difference in the tax paid by different people who work in different ways.

    Why is the status known as “employment” taxed so heavily in this country?

  64. XY
    Posted January 1, 2021 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    IR35, yes, a total joke.

    HMRC/Treasury don’t seem to be able to realise that they are unable to define which people fall in which of their artificial “employment statuses” because they are… well, artificial.

    Once you create, say, Employers NI, and intend that not everyone pays it, you have defined a need for different statuses – or groups of taxpayers – hardly a surprise when people head for the lower-tax group.

    Abolish Employers NI and a lot of this goes away.

    They might also ask themselves why no other country has any equivalent of Employers NI – and the answer is probably in the above.

    Good luck getting any government to reverse IR35 now, with the inevitable whining from the lefty media about “fairness”.

    • Iain gill
      Posted January 2, 2021 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Yes the ways to legally operate as a freelancer have got to be clear, supported by the state, and allow people to claim genuine business expenses tax free. This idea of the lefty’s that all freelancers are nasty does none of us any good. Indeed we should have a national celebration of the best freelancing brings to the country.

  • 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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