Friday, March 23, 2012

World Class Politicians in Action #auspol

I suppose handouts are a good thing - if you are on the receiving end. The Howard government survived for years after perfecting the art of handouts - to this or that special interest group. It works a treat when you are trying to stay in the big seats.

And the Gillard government is just following along in that grand tradition. A quarter billion here and a quarter billion there and pretty soon you will be talking real money.

$275 million to General Motors - no worries. Ford will be next, closely followed by the Japanese the Koreans and everyone else who can find a Minister with an electoral problem and a chequebook.

I am sure there won't be too many unintended consequences Virginia.

Apparently we are supporting the motor vehicle industry because we want to keep the high value and highly skilled people who work there. The vehicle designers and engineers are supposd to be a vital part of the industrial infrastructure of the nation and we simply can't affort to lose those skills.

These twenty or so people are so vital that they are worth the billions in handout money that we spend. So too are the few thousand blue collar workers who assemble the cars, live in the inner city and who mostly vote Labor.

We need them to stay here to design and build the world class cars and aircraft and submarines and warships that we need.

Or so the myth goes. But it's mostly BS.

Remember Mitsubishi and the kerfuffle that resulted when they pulled the plug on local manufacturing? Their last world class - locally designed and built car was the 380. This thing was so bad that I think they sold 17 of them and 16 of those were bought by the state government.

But wander into a Mitsubishi showroom today and marvel at the variety and quality of vehicles on offer. It's all top notch and hi-tech stuff - but not one is designed or built locally - sorry about that.

Do you think there might be any lessons in that experience for our "world class" politicians?

And remember the GAF Nomad, the Collins Class submarine and the Leyland P76 - Australian engineering excellence in action? I could go on but you get the picture.

And then we have the costs. Why do you suppose it is that our cars cost about twice what they do in the US, the UK and even little old NZ?

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