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Firstly, I don't think I accused Thatcher of merging anything, I said "various Governments". ( Don't get me wrong, at the time I had a soft spot for Maggie, it was a peat bog on the west cost of Ireland). I too lived through the devastation of the British manufacturing industry in the late '60s through the '80s, and was personally effected and experienced redundancy more than once. Her misguided and discredited economic theories (and before you attack that statement, Friedman himself admitted he was wrong!) merely speeded up the demise.
From the '50 on, LONG TERM finance was simply not available in the UK, the spreadsheet, next quarters figures, and share price increasingly became (and largely remain) the driving factors, not development and investment. In the '70 I worked on machines that were 30 years older than I was!!

but as Ignoramus said .... "whatever"

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
Firstly, I don't think I accused Thatcher of merging anything,

Yes, I got that wrong. It was BSA_WDM20.

Originally Posted by BSA_WDM20
When the Thatcher government forced all of the remaining British motor companies to merge, which was a good idea, it failed again due to the tribalism


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TREVOR ........my "WHATEVER " was not aimed at you ok..........it was aimed at some newbie who who had the gall to say "this isnt the place for political discussions before launching into exactly that!

the point i was attempting to make was that closures ect were happening to productive industry all over the western world and it sure wasn't confined to the bike industry

HERE we now even import FOOD from Asia FFS ....importing food into NZ WTF is that about?

Last edited by Ignoramus; 01/12/21 6:09 pm.

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Originally Posted by kommando
Thatcher did not merge any Automotive factories, that was done earlier under Labour direction, then when it became bankrupt was partly nationalised in 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Leyland

I worked in the UK automotive sector for 30 years some of which in senior management. At the end of the day each factory is a set of lines on a spreadsheet, depending on the current fad of management theory it lives or dies on the numbers on that spreadsheet. If a plant is lucky the board may have a manager on the board with a past history working there can help the plant survive, most can't.


CORRECT!

I rember that idiotic notion of "managerialism" which basically said if you can manage an airline you can manage a hospital ..........yeah that worked well didn't it ...but i guess when a CEO is getting $4 million per year plus perks and the workers are on minimum wage ,,,,,,,what can i say


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All this discussion about changing industry environment is certainly relevant but my question was different, why in both cases - new design of A65 and new design of 3 cylinder machine nobody thought about Sunbeam engine as a base, but it was always previous twin engines with all their faults?
Standard answer was "because of technical limitations" witch was as we know now not true. I can see now where I miss the point - designers wanted to be as close to something what was selling well as possible because it was a safest bet the new product will sell as well. They knew about Sunbeam engine and perceived it as a flop, but Triumph and BSA twins from fifties and beginning of sixties were selling very well. Natural for them was to follow what was a well selling design to very conservative public. Unfortunately we can't ask the designers and people making decisions about what model can be produced and what not, but I'm quite sure this was main reason for not trying anything too different from existing solutions.

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Ok, Ignoramus, I have only been a member for just over 2 years so I suppose I am "some newbie" but it has been the best part of 70 years since anyone called me "Sonny".

I have been particularly careful to avoid "politics" in this thread, perhaps not too sucessfully. I understood that this was, after all, a forum on BSA motorcycles. My comments were aimed to draw parallels with the mismanagement of the UK motorcycle industry, the UK motor industry and the UK aviation industry before it.

I actually do not know how I have offended you as, as far as I see, I have been agreeing with you!
I would take slight issue with your contention that manufacturing was closing down thoughout the western world, it wasn't. Germany, France, Italy, USA while were not completely unaffected by the rise of the far east, it was not at anything like the scale of the UK.

I completely agree that the demise was greatly exacerbated by the fall of the "Engineer Manager" and the rise of the "Professional Manager". The various School of Management faculties have much to answer for.

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Well lets see some comments from Americans regarding your comment

"I would take slight issue with your contention that manufacturing was closing down thoughout the western world, it wasn't. Germany, France, Italy, USA while were not completely unaffected by the rise of the far east, it was not at anything like the scale of the UK."

particularly where the term RUST BELT came from


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Originally Posted by Adam M.
All this discussion about changing industry environment is certainly relevant but my question was different, why in both cases - new design of A65 and new design of 3 cylinder machine nobody thought about Sunbeam engine as a base, but it was always previous twin engines with all their faults?
The BSA unit construction twins actually did rectify many of the faults of the pre-unit design, along with retaining many of the underlying limitations which mostly weren't regarded as faults at the time.
The triple really started off as a "what if" exercise at Triumph, and is a bit of a Heath Robinson affair. Yes, the Sunbeam S7/S8 engine may well have been a good basis for a triple if it had been something which had been initiated at a Group level. As it was, Doug Hele had a working prototype when it was suddenly realised that "something new" was needed. The decision to consult Ogle Design for a radical departure in styling tends to indicate that if the whole thing had been planned a different basis for the engine may have been considered.

Originally Posted by Adam M.
I can see now where I miss the point - designers wanted to be as close to something what was selling well as possible because it was a safest bet the new product will sell as well. They knew about Sunbeam engine and perceived it as a flop, but Triumph and BSA twins from fifties and beginning of sixties were selling very well. Natural for them was to follow what was a well selling design to very conservative public. Unfortunately we can't ask the designers and people making decisions about what model can be produced and what not, but I'm quite sure this was main reason for not trying anything too different from existing solutions.
From a design engineering perspective, calculations were still done with slide rules, and designs drawn up on drawing boards. Then somebody had to make a prototype and compare the results to the calculations. Making relatively minor changes to existing designs was much lower impact and risk than starting afresh.
Then it gets to production engineering and actual manufacture and assembly. Again, the less changes which need to be made, the better.

That's basically optimisation across time rather than geographically.

Yes, and from a sales and management point of view, making major changes had quite a large downside risk, and not much upside because at the time the unit twins were designed the factories were running close to capacity.


The Sunbeam engine itself had promise, but apparently it would have been difficult to increase the capacity. The main weakness was in the final drive. and particularly the underslung worm gear.

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Funny really but i always thought the Thatcher government was the best thing that happened to the the UK.
I remember the miners strikes, the 3 day weeks caused by power failures etc.The endless dock and car
worker strikes the busses and trains etc. I lived through that time and found it refreshing that someone would
actually say enough is enough, we've got to stop this. The country was in such a state that it was going to
be hard and certain things would have to change but after the ludicrous socialist governments of the 60's
anywhere would be broke. I also thought that it was an incentive to reduce income tax which happened.
I left my good job and with a couple of friends, started my own company in December 89, we were considered
bloody mad by many we knew but we worked hard and after the first year or so it was great. I sold out in
1999 to come over here as in could see it all happening again with that scumbag Blair.
Just my own take on it but no nationalised industry has ever worked efficiently, you have a situation where
no=one is ever responsible for anything and no-one cares as we get paid at the end of the week anyway.

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just post ww2
the uk was functionally bankrupt and relied on foreign loans
(US ) to prop up the UKs vast Colonial Empire .
the UK continued to fund its Empire and not its industrial base ,
even as the Colonial Empire crumbled . ( final payment of ww2 loan paid in 2006)

1946 ...Germany no longer had an Empire or a military force to fund.
1946 ...Japan no longer had an Empire or a military force to fund .
1946 ... England was still funding an empire
1947 ... England loses half its empire with the Independence of India ,
but will try to fund whats left for 20 more years

the US strategy post World War II quickly involved into
loans to Germany and Japan used to re- industrialize these countries
As successful Bastions against the new threat ... the Soviet Union .
in 1953 the US , UK and France
agreed to cut in-half German war reparation debts
dating back as far as ww1 ...

The US continued to fund the UK Colonial Empire
as long as it aligned with the main US cold war objective ,
as anti- Soviet .

the UK , a supposed winner in World War II , played a losing hand of propping up a collapsing Empire
while the 2 biggest losing countries , Germany and Japan ,
were not only free to re industrialize without the constraints of military Empire .
they were sponsored to succeed by cold War alignment.

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That empire was a huge money earner for the UK raw material etc not such a loss maker.
You must remember the UK has little natural resource unlike the US etc.
It's also funny that the UK had such massive war debts although no-one declared war on them.
All due to ancient european allegiances.
They did repay the debt though, did any others?

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Originally Posted by NickL
That empire was a huge money earner for the UK raw material etc not such a loss maker.
You must remember the UK has little natural resource unlike the US etc.
Quite so. The British Empire (or Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, or German) didn't exist just so that the various monarchs could skite that "mine is bigger than yours" when they got together on the steam yachts off the French Riviera.
While they were in full swing, they provided considerable resource and market advantages.
One of the complaints about the British Empire was that Britain had free access to the markets of all the Dominions but other nations faced serious impediments such as tariffs and quotas.

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it was Ted heath that brought in the 3 day week, cold weather and an ageing power system caused power cuts.Old poles were broken. its complicated.
I was a kid at the time , it was brilliant, loads of days off to play in the snow. Maggie was a nasty person.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 01/13/21 4:42 am.

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Originally Posted by NickL
Funny really but i always thought the Thatcher government was the best thing that happened to the the UK.
I remember the miners strikes, the 3 day weeks caused by power failures etc.The endless dock and car
worker strikes the busses and trains etc. I lived through that time and found it refreshing that someone would
actually say enough is enough, we've got to stop this. The country was in such a state that it was going to
be hard and certain things would have to change but after the ludicrous socialist governments of the 60's
anywhere would be broke. I also thought that it was an incentive to reduce income tax which happened.
I left my good job and with a couple of friends, started my own company in December 89, we were considered
bloody mad by many we knew but we worked hard and after the first year or so it was great. I sold out in
1999 to come over here as in could see it all happening again with that scumbag Blair.
Just my own take on it but no nationalised industry has ever worked efficiently, you have a situation where
no=one is ever responsible for anything and no-one cares as we get paid at the end of the week anyway.

DANG Nick we finally agree about something!

I also started my business (manufacturing engineering) in 88 ........the BIG company's who did that work were going bust like there was no tomorrow ...so i was able to pick up work from their customers ......what to the big boys was just a nuisance job was a major contract for me ...the big boys wouldn't even set a machine for a run of ONLY 5000 but for me it was a good order

Other good thing about starting in that time (not with standing the crippling interest rates ) was that I was able to buy some really good production equipment very cheaply .........one lathe i brought ( a Dean Smith and Grace center lathe , considered to be the Rolls Royce of center lathes) was actually in a container waiting to be shipped to Asia .......I tested it in the container and brought it

I went to an auction, a workshop receivership closure . which people had come from all over the country for , an Asiatic chap bid 2 million dollars on lot 1 for everything ...it was all packed up and sent off right down to the workers overall and the lockers to put them in ...people who had traveled were furious to put it mildly

and now we have to listen to newbies telling us that it wasnt that bad .........

Last edited by Ignoramus; 01/13/21 4:54 am.

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The game i was in by that time was factory automation mainly so i saw loads
of older firms go to the wall, some decided to invest but many just wouldn't so
they died. 'We don't need to automate that' was a line i heard often 'we've always
done that by hand' etc etc. Bloody shame as some really great firms died.
Funny how some people will not accept change, blimey i had to, i did my time
as a radio/tv tech, who repairs them now? It was a great grounding but i could see
the way it was going back in the mid 70's so moved on, changed tack. That's life.

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M Thatcher wasn’t likeable, but she was probably right about the big things. I do remember being worried about my job back then.

If she hadn’t closed the deep coal mines, where would they be now?

They’d be closed.

It was unfortunate that the mines were not closed in an orderly, gradual fashion, but that was not entirely the Government’s fault, was it?


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