Oh dear

He added: “We’ve got to change the culture in our country. People have got to stop thinking about exporting as an opportunity and start thinking about it as a duty — companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon.”

Contributing to national prosperity is not a duty of anyone or anything. Let’s not come over all fascist here, shall we?

42 thoughts on “Oh dear”

  1. No, I think this is great! Imagine being able to contact any government department or local council office anytime you find convenient?

    I mean, is isn’t just going to apply to the private sector, is it?

  2. I put up with doing my paid job ***SO*** I can do my equivalent of playing golf on Friday afternoons, not so I can do my paid job. The WHOLE POINT of doing paid work is to access the funds you need to be able to get on with what YOU want to do, not what your boss wants you to to do.

  3. It is sanctimonious “U must work harder than Mee” type shite from a failed GP who swapped medicine–which can be a difficult job despite ZaNu deals–for the much easier and viler path of politics.

    Who the fuck is he to tell others they aren’t grafting enough?

    There are some corporate socialist business types who think trade is boozing/smoozing with Simple Shopper state pricks and equally dumb council hacks for big bucks contract-scams. But there are more hard workers out there who need to be freed from state meddling.

  4. “In the nightmare of consumption that is Tate Modern’s gift shop, for instance, there is now a huge section called critical theory. Here, the Frankfurt School no longer has a monopoly on the term – critical theory involves all the disciplines that Lambert once had in his library. A mini-boom in popularising critical theory books – graphic guides, dictionaries, biographies – was one consequence of the global capitalist crisis, as was a renewal of critical sociology premised on the Frankfurt School heritage.”

    Tate Modern. We are the 99%. Marxist lecturers. Maoist philosophers. The Guardian. German sociologists.

    It’s like this little parallel world, isn’t it? A B Ark here on earth that has so little perception of what’s outside but all reinforcing each other’s views.

    I’d rather have root canal surgery than go to the Tate Modern. Like most “modern art”, buildings full of works by charlatans that filled the vacuum left by talented artists going into cinema or advertising.

  5. To export you really do need people willing to buy your stuff.
    I buy some American products, there’s a market in the UK for them.
    I cannot export them to the US as they sell items a lot lower there and my costs would be higher than their price and the cost of postage in the UK makes exporting them to the rest of the EU a higher price to the buyer than local sellers will charge.
    So I’m supposed to export as a duty? To whom?

  6. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    “Export or die !”

    Blimey haven’t any of you seen “I’m Alright Jack” or indeed any British film from the 1950s ?

    Which is where Mr Fox seems to be living.

  7. Pingback: The Second Word is “Off” – Longrider

  8. The man’s an idiot. One perfectly valid argument against EU membership that was never aired in the referendum debate is that if you are a UK manufacturer of household items that get bought week in week out, then while there is a perfectly good market in the UK, a factory in the UK is never going to be competitive in the production and sale of low margin goods in Europe with a supplier on the continent because by the time you have got your yoghurt/ loo paper/ baked beans from Northampton to Nuremberg, you have been undercut by other suppliers from Nantes and Neuchatel. Which is why we export the sort of goods that we do to the EU and the rest of the world (and more importantly why we don’t export the sort of goods that we don’t). And that isn’t going to change until someone fills in the North Sea and creates wholesale distribution networks that run from Grimsby to Helsinki.

  9. Its my experience of business that if you are good at what you do, customers beat a path to your door, you don’t have to go looking for them. So that suggests that Britain isn’t very god at producing anything that people elsewhere want…………….

  10. What goes round goes round. Some forty odd years ago I went to a conference where the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip himself was up their with a script extolling the virtues of exporting as a duty to which we all should aspire. Whoever wrote it must have been a bit of a dimwit because most of us were giggling long before he finished.

  11. Agreed he’s a prat.
    But I’ve been to French markets where English produce gets sold like hot cakes. And vice versa seen French goods being sold from English market stalls.
    So it’s possible, unless there is some reverse economy of scale.

  12. @Jim “So that suggests that Britain isn’t very god at producing anything that people elsewhere want…………….”

    No it suggests that Britain is good at providing services and producing goods that have high added value (e.g. aero-engines) that can be sold around the world.

  13. @BiF But go into a French supermarket and try to find products that are made in the UK and you won’t find anything. Even the Heinz ketchup is made in Holland (just like the ketchup sold in the UK even if it says in comes from Heinz in the UK).

  14. But go into a French supermarket and try to find products that are made in the UK and you won’t find anything.

    Whisky and Digestive biscuits, i.e. high-end stuff. I’m not sure where the Kellogg’s cornflakes are produced.

  15. I’ve noticed that the French are inordinately fond of Bird’s Custard Powder. Their supermarkets also stock specialty English tea, conserves, biscuits, crackers, etc.

    The weirdest grocery export I have seen is Maldon Sea Salt in the Mercadona chain in Spain. Sea salt must be a very low margin export.

  16. Presumably, as we want everyone everywhere to be prosperous, everyone everywhere else should be exporting as much as possible and minimising imports too?

  17. I was in Evian in France recently. One has to respect a place that has managed a great deal of prosperity through exporting water.

  18. Kelloggs Corn Flakes probably come from their factory in Trafford Park although they also have factories in Noisly-le-Grand, Mechelen and Bremen.

    FWIW about 15 years ago I refinanced the entire contents of the Trafford Park factory, including the machine that makes all the Variety packs. Then I did the same for Heinz, Gillette and Bernard Matthews and learnt more than anyone needs to know about the UK food industry.

  19. “I’ve noticed that the French are inordinately fond of Bird’s Custard Powder.”

    They use it as a soap substitute Theo.

    After all Italian priests bath in it.

  20. PF,

    This completely ignores geography. If you’re a furniture shop in Antwerp, you have no more costs shipping to a customer in Breda as a shop in Amsterdam. That means you get lots of cross-border trade. Transporting a sofa from Dover to Calais incurs a considerable shipping cost.

    It’s why 2 of the largest economies in the world, Japan and the USA have even lower percentages than us. OK, the USA has a land border with Canada and Mexico, but when you consider the time from so much of the country to get there, well, you aren’t going to get a sofa shop in Kansas doing much exporting either.

    If you look at the world bank data, you even see these effects in Europe.

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP.GNFS.ZS

    Belgium and Netherlands are bigger exporters as percentage of GDP than Germany. Because well, I doubt that furniture shops in Hanover make many exports.

    This is why Liam Fox should really be fired. Because he’s running a business department and has no fucking clue about even the basics of the challenges of British businesses competing globally.

  21. “Belgium and Netherlands are bigger exporters as percentage of GDP than Germany. Because well, I doubt that furniture shops in Hanover make many exports.”

    Not just that. Rotterdam and Antwerp are big entrepots from where imported commodities are trucked and shipped across Europe. For a manufacturer in central Europe importing raw materials via Rotterdam, the EU is a godsend. The same doesn’t apply to most raw materials shipped to the UK

  22. Hate to support Fox but…
    Cost of a pallet (1m3) to me here is about £100
    Cost of a pallet to UK is about £200
    because of volume of goods
    It’s about the backload, where truckers make their margin.

    Maybe that’s stupid but here’s another
    packet of ginger biscuits in tesco 80p
    same packet here €2-90

    Someone wants % margin, when the goal is not % but total profit.

  23. @Alex, September 10, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    “Kelloggs Corn Flakes probably come from their factory in Trafford Park although they also have factories in Noisly-le-Grand, Mechelen and Bremen.

    FWIW about 15 years ago I refinanced the entire contents of the Trafford Park factory, including the machine that makes all the Variety packs. Then I did the same for Heinz, Gillette and Bernard Matthews and learnt more than anyone needs to know about the UK food industry.”

    Alex,

    Interesting. What is your opinion on the recent BBC Inside The Factory series?

    @PF

    Thanks for Spectator link, provides some balance and as Fraser says, he was speaking to a partisan audience.

    P

  24. @Alex, Interesting. What is your opinion on the recent BBC Inside The Factory series?

    Dont have one. Stopped watching the BBC round about the time of Fawlty Towers.

  25. BiW

    I agree. I don’t think the export / capita metric by itself is that useful (and it’s not what Fraser was saying)?

    As others said, export / capita is always smaller for a bigger region, by definition, as a greater % of GDP will be “internal”.

  26. @Demetrius
    “… Prince Philip himself was up their with a script…” Not sure how to parse that, but the mind boggles…

  27. Hob Nobs and Walker’s shortbread are very popular here, as is the echt Dairy Milk and not the vile waxy US version.

  28. To be honest I’d say the worst culprits for not doing any work are the professions – try getting hold of them on a Friday afternoon. Plus the moment the schools are out everyone goes on holiday, so the period from mid-July to early Sept is written off entirely, as is mid December to early Jan. There’s basically three periods that you can get the professions to do anything, Sept to Dec, Jan to March and May-June. The rest of the time someone in the chain will be away on holiday and everything will be on hold.
    If you are in a business like farming that runs 24/7 and when the weather allows its particularly annoying that everything closes down at 3pm Friday, and amazing how often the machinery breaks down at weekends and on Bank Holiday Mondays.

  29. Maldon salt used to be a luxury item here with the corresponding price.

    Lots more producers (including Frenchies) have jumped on the bandwagon (that capitalism thing) and all the prices have come down.

    We have a local producer in a nearby valley with, of all things, a salt spring that first produced industrially in Roman times, went through major growth in the middle ages, went bust in the twentieth century and now sells salt, salt flakes, salt flakes with red wine, with olives etc…. Got a load of Michelin chefs on board (so many round here) and they are making a go of it.

    Well worth a visit to see the ancient wooden structures where they evaporate the water to leave the salt and you can see them here:
    http://www.vallesalado.com

    (Honestly, I have no skin in the game!)

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