Dr Alf is right but for a long time we have not had a strong or visionary political leadership in the UK.
The Chinese Government contains many engineers and people who know how to get things done and done quickly.
They look at their healthcare system, their energy policy, defense, jobs, exports, sports and competitive positioning and compare themselves to whoever is the best in that field of endeavor. This is done dispassionately, with precision and with the sole intention of first closing the gaps and then surpassing the benchmarks set by others. After that they plan, put the resources in place and take action with quiet but messianic zeal. They are not afraid to seek advice but all the time they are learning and making progress. This is strategic planning.
In the UK we “wing it”, imagine that it will come good on the night, and see ourselves being overtaken by others whilst remaining in a complacent state of torpor.
Yesterday we had David Cameron dismissing the ability of the Russians to penetrate UK airspace with the shadowing of the Tupolov(Bear) bomber off the Cornish coast. The UK defense chiefs were quick to rubbish his assertions on the basis that Putin could overwhelm our air defenses quite easily.
Our political classes are not up to the job and need to be replaced, whilst our ailing institutions need to be reformed if they can be or replaced outright.