Welcome to Britain Watch

All the signs are that the governance of Britain is spiralling out of control: record trade and budget deficits; a swollen bureaucracy; an inadequate but costly education system; a government incapable of providing for our future energy needs; record emigration of native Britons, unprecedented levels of immigration; a mind-set putting the non-citizen ahead of the British citizen.

Britain Watch has been set up to highlight key examples of these trends and to promote practical reforms to reverse the incompetence and loss of national self belief they engender. All readers are invited to participate.

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Short News

Another IT Fiasco
As forecast in our post of 11th August, “The Conduct of Long-term Projects in Britain”, that more IT contract disasters were on the way, right on cue comes another revelation.  As with the Fujitsu contract for the NHS, the US company Raytheon, sacked by Mrs Teresa May in 2010 from the so-called e-borders project, has successfully gone to binding arbitration for the balance of their contract – £224 million which will be dumped on the hapless taxpayer.  This is on top of the £259 million already spent on the contract, signed in 2007, which wasn’t delivering. [more »]

Humanitarian Crisis in Northern Iraq
All the journalist attention is focussed on how the United States, and Britain, can relieve the terrible suffering being inflicted on the Yazidi people, and others, by the truly bestial “Islamic State (IS)” terrorists, who are much better organised and therefore much more of a threat to peace and stability than Al Qaeda for instance. As Stephen Bush has proposed in Britain Revitalised[1], abolishing the Department of International Development (cost in 2013 £10.5 billion) and assigning around £5 billion to the Ministry of Defence for an explicit disaster-relief role, additional to its primary war-fighting responsibility, would exactly meet the needs of humanitarian crises like the present one in Northern Iraq[2]. [more »]

Carbon Capture and Storage (2)
The dawning realisation that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is impossible on any significant industrial scale which is made clear in various papers by Stephen Bush and David MacDonald (National Grid Consultation 2009, I.Chem.E. paper 2011) has claimed another victim for common sense.  The Swedish firm Vattenfall is discontinuing its research into CCS.  It has operated a 30 MW pilot plant at Schwarze Pumpe, a lignite-fuelled station in Germany which tackled CO2 separation – but not the more demanding storage of CO2 issue.

Post Script Just In: Another Deportation of Good Australians by Mrs May's Home Office
Katherine Tate is a 23 year-old Australian lady, pregnant with her third child, whom Mrs Teresa May’s Home Office is trying to force to leave her British husband and their two children.  It is all because she failed to complete her application “for indefinite leave to stay”, in Australia before she came. This is despite an immigration tribunal ruling that Mrs Tate should be allowed to stay with her British husband and her British family in Britain to bring up her children.  Why is Mrs May wasting taxpayers’ money on this unjust endeavour to deport Mrs Tate and split up her family? Does Article 8 (Right to Family Life) of the Human rights Convention apply only to foreigners?

Disordered Minds At Work
Many of the things wrong in Britain are attributed to politicians.  Many of the things they try to put right are however obstructed by disordered minds in the Law and public institutions at variance with what most people see as plain English and/or common sense. There are instances of these more or less every day, frequently involving immigration and ethnic minorities at the expense of the native people of this country.  Here are three such from the week beginning 28th July. [more »]


UK/Scotland Separation (2): Mutual Damage

Most attention has been focussed on the economic arguments of Scottish separation – would Scotland be worse off or better off as a separate country?  The answer here is to be found by looking at the real economy of manufacturing, services, and jobs.  In most companies the scale argument would be decisive.  Interfering with scale will do real damage.  (For issues of citizenship and border controls, see the post of 29th November 2013, “The Meaning of Scottish Separation and the Union Alternative”).

(1)  Scale of Manufacture

Each of four key industries which particularly depend on scale of manufacture and research – civil aerospace, defence, chemicals, pharmaceuticals – are a significant part of Scottish industry[1] but they are clearly part of the wider UK industries and contribute to their economies of scale[2].  So irrespective of the detailed numbers as of now, if Scotland were to separate itself from the UK, it will damage these industries particularly in Scotland itself.

(2)  State Procurement and start-up assistance

Where an industry depends on state procurement and start-up assistance – as all defence and most civil aviation projects do – governments tend to choose big concerns because they are themselves bound by international and EU state aid rules.  Particularly does this apply in the defence sector where the claim of national security is usually invoked to justify government assistance.  No British government will source its naval or its super-secret radar and electronics hardware in a foreign country, and exemptions from state-aid rules in the defence field apply only to production in the country being defended.

Re-establishing the defence related research, design and production facilities currently in Scotland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would take time and expense among the principal defence contractors like Thales and BAe Systems, but it would be done.  Dockyards at Portsmouth and Plymouth would in fact be keen to host the new build Type 26 frigates and the fitting out of the new Prince of Wales aircraft carrier (sister ship of the Queen Elizabeth just launched by the Queen).  Clearly BAe Systems and other contractors would offer jobs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to many of those engaged on these projects on the Clyde and at Rosyth as they relocated the design and production facilities, but this would take time and money and represent a net loss of expertise to Scotland in these fields.  About 40,000 of these skilled jobs could ultimately be transferred out of Scotland[1]. …[more»]