Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Why National Service is a fucking stupid idea and you should stop promoting it

Discipline. A sense of purpose. A sense of self worth. Developing a worth ethic. Fostering a greater national and community spirit. And so the list goes on.

These are just a collection of some the tired old shite cliches that have been trotted out in recent days since the spectre of bringing back National Service has risen once again from its grave, this time in a report commissioned by the MoD. Allegedly this will boost public understanding of defence, which given the frequently shambolic state of the MoD is probably something it should be actively trying to avoid, not promote.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Could Britain rapid re-arm?

One of the features of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the amazing response - both here in the UK and around the world - of various enterprises rising to the occasion and turning their brains and their factory space over to tackling the most pressing problems caused by the crisis. As I type this a number of different manufacturing consortiums just in this country alone are pumping out ventilators and CPAP machines at an impressive rate, along with a variety of apparel manufacturers who have turned their hands to making protective clothing, and everyone from large manufacturers to school teachers and home enthusiasts are using 3D printers to pump out components for face masks and other PPE, as well as sub-components for some of the aforementioned ventilator and CPAP designs.

If Britain is "at war" to use a turn of phrase that has become immensely popular all of a sudden, then Britain most definitely has embraced the idea of a war economy. Which is interesting because people often wonder (at least in defence circles on Twitter) how would Britain cope if it had to recapture the spirit of the second world war and go into a state of rapid rearmament? Could we do it? Could we match our forebears achievements in pumping out Spitfires and Lancasters and Halifaxes by the thousand? Could we manufacture small arms at a similar rate, sufficient to equip a modern day army group of a dozen divisions?

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Is globalisation really at an end?

Today we're going a little "Economics with a C".

Since the start of this Covid-19 pandemic I've seen an awful lot of comments and articles assuring us that globalisation is coming to an end. The world, they say, will change fundamentally after the pandemic is dealt with. China will become the global pariah and everyone will be tripping over themselves to bring manufacturing capacity back to their own shores. 

The reason for this? Erm, nobody really seems quite sure. Everyone is sure that it will happen, it's just that nobody can explain why, aside from "because China behaved badly". Well let's test that theory with a little thought experiment shall we?