First there was the insane decision to cancel a loan to Sheffield Forgemasters (deferring it may have been justified, cancelling was not), then another to favour Siemens over a British consortium for the Thameslink trains contract; now comes news of 3,000 job cuts in aerospace engineering at BAE Systems, the defence contractor.

The UK economy is supposed to be moving away from debt-fuelled consumption to export led growth, a formula for recovery virtually all economists and politicians agree is the only way to rebuild. Most of the news however seems to be a grim mix of retrenchment and continued deindustrialisation, a process which has been going on sinceMargaret Thatcher's destruction of the traditional industries in the 1980s

True enough, immediately after the Great Contraction of 2008 industrial production appeared to recover quite swiftly. With the pound once more trading at levels low enough to give British factories a competitive edge, there was even talk of ...

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