We are losing the industries which made us ‘Great’

AS an engineer of 55 years’ experience I would like to join any campaign to keep rail locomotion engineering in this country.

During our recent past we have lost whole manufacturing industries.

Industries that were born in this country because of the ingenuity of our engineers and entrepreneurs.

We all know them, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Rolls, Royce, Charles Parsons, Watt, Whittle, Cockerell and R J Mitchell, to mention only a few of the pioneers, their design teams right down to the well trained craftsmen that put the ‘Great’ into Great Britain.

What happened to our ship building industry?

Was it not part of the deal when we joined the Common Market that our commercial ship building be phased out?

Look what happened to our power generation manufacturing industry, now also phased out.

The writing was on the wall when a power cable was laid across the Channel.

To ‘rub salt into our wounds’, the electricity supply along with other services i.e. gas water etc. are now foreign owned.

The turbine generators built by Parsons in Heaton were constantly the top of the efficiency league.

We now need to replace our ageing power stations.

Who are we going to get to manufacture the generating plant, or will our government take the opportunity to pipe it across the Channel at the price the continent require us to pay?

The British textile industry has been decimated.

The British factories have been closed down in favour of foreign suppliers that produce ill fitting inferior garments that have flooded our shops which give us no choice, and all for a quick profit.

The fishing industry has also been decimated by EU rules – and everyone knows it is only the British that are held to these rules as other countries turn a blind eye.

British ports are foreign owned; utilities are foreign owned.

Now we hear that within a short time there is to be a ‘United States of Europe’, and Great Britain is not to be included because we did not join the Euro.

Then why do we have to obey the EU rules?

We know that the so called senior countries of the EU protect their industries by manipulating the rules to ensure that contracts are awarded to their own companies and their own people employed.

This is why the British public need many questions answered regarding the rail contract.

On Wednesday, July 11, it was mentioned in Parliament that the reason for awarding a contract to Siemens was that it was virtually its own banker and had a package in place to finance the deal.

Siemens will manufacture the rolling stock then lease and maintain the rolling stock to us over the next 30 years. Have we not heard of this before?

PFI (private finance initiative) springs to mind, or as the tax payer has come to know it, PFI, PTN (pay through the nose), which is now becoming more clear every day with the rising costs of new hospitals and schools.

It has not been made clear what the other bidder offered in their tender, but, Bombardier has a base in Britain and at least would have employed British labour.

It is about time our governments of whatever persuasion forgot the six-week ‘skilled man’ course and the ‘Alan Sugar type of Apprentice’ and give our youngsters a proper five-year apprenticeship, enabling them to learn their trade correctly.

Only this way can we build up our country’s true skill base and enable British companies to bid for contracts to keep our workforce employed and unemployment costs down.

Public pressure has stopped Mr Murdoch; now let public pressure keep the jobs in Britain.

J RUTHERFORD

North Shields