I've started about four or five different posts today - and failed to finish them all! The reason is that I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the stupidity of journalism in Britain today, but I find it hard to put my point across coherently enough and that makes me even more frustrated.
So I'm going to take a bit of a break from blogging for a week or two.
What I find most frustrating is the lack of understanding from both our journalists and politicians of some simple facts regarding what they call protectionism. The truth is that cheap imports and unrestricted immigration might seem OK while we're in a boom, but the reality is that it is only possible while we all have jobs and income.
The thinking over the last 10-20 years has been that we can lose all these jobs that we used to have in manufacturing and make up for it by investing in high technology and services. Services are a dead loss - especially as they are often the easier to move to cheaper foreign countries than manufacturing is. That's why all the call centres have been moving to Bangalore and Islamabad over the last 10 years - and it's just as easy to move financial services as it is call centres (especially when the politicians start trying to regulate it!)
High technology is a great idea - but what drives high technology? Manu-bloody-facturing of course! The reason Britain used to be at the forefront of technology back in Victorian times is that we were making all sorts of things - and necessity is the mother of invention.
The idea that you can just develop high technology skills when you're not making anything that requires high technology is just daft. If we had a manufacturing base worthy of the name - making cars, ships, aircraft, electronics and so on - it might be worth while, but as we aren't what are we going to use this high technology for.
Sure the government can pour billions into researching nano-technology or what have you, but unless there is a manufacturing process which will benefit from it and which will give us a competitive edge over the rest of the world then what is the point? All that will happen is that some company in China will benefit from it - not us.
Protectionism is necessary because of some simple truths. We need to have jobs to earn income to buy goods. Those jobs have to come from somewhere, but if more and more cheap imports are allowed in then it becomes increasingly hard to maintain those jobs. If more and more immigrants are allowed in it becomes increasingly hard to win one of those jobs that are available.
Unless we take action now to protect ourselves and start building a proper manufacturing base again, we're going to see a resurgence of two things in Britain over the next 5-10 years.
Deprivation and poverty.