Like Dr Alf, I normally would not agree with Owen Jones and having seen him on television, I find him nauseating. However, I separated my feelings about this man from what he was writing and then read the Guardian piece which is factually correct.
Tracking the UK’s productivity against the figures of other nations since the 1850s by looking back at the historical records reveals low worker productivity and a history of non-investment by bosses, coupled with a propensity to import workers from other countries to do the work which the indigenous population cannot or does not want to do.
In the 1800s, it was Irish farm-workers who cut corn and Irish tunnelers who built the London Underground.
In World War 1, Lloyd George the wartime Prime Minister had to bring in the licencing laws which are still with us today to deal with the shortage of artillery shells caused by munitions workers too drunk to complete their allotted shifts. The Germans, even under the full weight of area bombing of cities, were outproducing us by 2.5 to 1 in artillery shells, guns, bombs, bullets, uniforms, gun carriages and explosives and in World War II did exactly the same thing until America efficiency experts were brought in to relay factory floors, install modern methods of production and turret lathes and boring machines capable of getting the country ready to equip 5.5 million men under arms.
People from Southern Italy had to be brought in in the 1960s to make bricks for our council houses because people born here did not want to make bricks and since that time low UK productivity has seen much of the car, steel and clothing industries disappear into the Far East along with shipbuilding, toys, furniture, garden tools, computers and mobile phones.
This lack of productivity and lack of meaningful investment transcends all political parties and has been with us for at least 150 years.
George Osborne is at fault, along with every Chancellor and leader of British industry and their trades union counterparts since their inception.
People afflicted with the idea that the world owes them a living and that they are entitled to always be on holiday, are also at fault, but nobody gives them the message because it is too difficult. It has been made more difficult by bosses paying themselves up to 450 times average worker pay when bonuses and other emoluments are factored in.
It is time this was challenged along with “rewards for failure”.
George Osborne needs to talk to all relevant parties in severe, uncompromising language, but I suspect the UK public are not and never will be ready for such plain speaking, until they run into a financial brick wall.
No doubt Christmas spending will continue to be added to credit card debt, then there will be a short reprieve until the January sales. January credit card statements will as usual cause deep debt hangovers to kick-in.