Help!

Old men often begin their narrative with the good old, 'when I was young', bit.

So, when I was young and the world was one of green fields and smiling people, winning wars and world cups, everyone knew that the bedrock of British wealth and happiness was manufacturing industry. Yes, the industrial revolution that began right here in our islands. Love it or hate it, making stuff was essential and 'Export Or Die' was our government's much advertised mantra. Equally we all knew that you cannot export hairdressing or money banking or good restaurant eating or financial advising or church services. Such so-called service industries seemed very much secondary, seemed to be there to serve those employed in front line manufacturing. Someone has to make the actual things - be it sheets of paper, computers, hairbrushes or oaken pulpits - that  these services use. There seemed to be a huge, almost a moral difference between making boots and shoes (exportable manufacturing) and running a shoe shop (service)

I read that, today, manufacturing occupies only eleven percent of the British economy. The other eighty nine percent is 'service' but has taken over our economy and with it our very culture. Yes, the same culture our P.M. told us last weekend in Munich he now wishes to save. What a cosy, white-collared, blind reversal! A Saudi Arabian businessman once told me why the Saudis loved Margaret Thatcher so much. "Every time she closes one of your factories." he told me, "We will open one." Anyone guess at the percentage of manufacturing in today's global growth economies? It surely ain't no stupid eleven percent. Thanks, Margaret, for throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

And now the final wake up call. One of these so-called service industries has taken over the economy to the extent that it can with complete impunity swallow all the money and gamble with itself, in the process ruining everything for everyone except its own. It's a sort of financial onanism. It's like the waiters have eaten all the food and drunk up all the wine. Help!

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