It’s reported that this year’s Paris Air Show was worth £ 8 billion to the UK economy. More than 70 companies were exhibiting at this global marketplace for the aviation industry. Today, the UK’s place as a world leader in aerospace design and manufacturing is built on regulatory alignment, integrated supply chains and top-class research and innovation. All three of these are severely challenged by the Brexit project.
Sadly, the leading candidate to be the next UK Prime Minister seems to have turned a blind eye to the facts. This week he’s quoted as saying that the impact of leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal would be “very, very small”. For those accustomed to evidence-based policy making this glib political assurance is playing well with a narrow party electorate but is very far from true.
The interdependencies within aerospace design and manufacturing businesses across the whole of Europe didn’t arise overnight. Since the 1960s, there’s been one direction set towards more and more working together. This approach has delivered success on the world stage. One leg of this success stands on is the high level of confidence in each other’s institutions, regulatory cooperation and the harmonisation of rules.
Meanwhile, Conservative (and Labour) politicians have played to prejudices by telling their constituents of “faceless Brussels bureaucrats.” Whilst the truth is that there are a great number of civil servants in the UK and Brussels who are exemplary in their work.
The success of European aerospace design and manufacturing gets taken for granted. The strength of cooperation, collaboration and coordination is swept under the carpet. In cahoots, the national media then tends to highlight the stories politicians feed them about discord, mistakes and rivalry.
Since the general populace has had little need for knowledge of how the system works, just that it’s safe, then an unhealthy situation of glib and unsustainable predictions persists. This goes some way to explaining why a candidate for UK PM can get away with saying the impact of leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal would be “very, very small”.
Usually a political campaign has a phase where a candidate needs to create credibility and legitimacy for their campaign so people will take them seriously. This stage is being bypassed in the UK.