This coming week an international tradeshow takes place in London. It’s easier to get to than it’s ever been, at least for me. The wonderful new Elizabeth line[1] goes directly to the ExCeL London.

The organisers describe the event as for the commercial aviation aftermarket. Personally, I don’t like those terms, but I guess it’s a way of grouping together all the activities that happen after an aircraft has been delivered by an airframe manufacturer. That’s maintenance, repair, overhaul and a good deal of other activities. It might be sophisticated test equipment or spanners. It might be hanger facilities or complete aero engine overhauls.

MRO Europe[2] is a major European event. Along with the exhibition there’s a conference highlighting some of the challenges aviation faces. There are a whole lot of uncertainties that are rippling through the industry. Recovery from the impact of the COVID pandemic is happening but it has taken its toll. 

The conference subject that caught my eye is that concerning the shortage of qualified people. Civil aviation must compete with every other international technology-based industry. Long gone are the days of the 1960s and 70s when aviation was associated with glamour and a kind of post-war kudos. Now, those with the right abilities, attitude and experience can command excellent reward packages in a wide variety of digital high-tech industries.

The MRO industry is aging. Offering an attractive pathway to young people is proving to be difficult. It’s a two-sided problem. On the one side the industry is inherently conservative. Afterall it’s in the safety business where reputation for quality matters. On the other side the attitudes, beliefs and expectations of younger people are markedly different from those of their potential mentors and teachers. Bridging this divide isn’t easy.

Apprenticeship schemes do help[3]. However, they are often picking up the people who already know they want a career in aviation.

The challenge is not just recruitment but retention. The aviation industry must make it attractive to retain talent. Working in an aircraft hanger, or on the ramp in the middle of a cold winter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Especially when comparing stories with a colleague in a nice warm office of a telecoms or social media company.

Building community, professionalism and a love of aviation is a priority. I’ve seen this done in the US. Next April at MRO Americas at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta a competition[4] takes place. It’s an excellent example of how to create excitement in this field. Check it out.

[1] https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/elizabeth-line/

[2] https://mroeurope.aviationweek.com/en/home.html

[3] https://www.stsaviationgroup.com/sts-aviation-services-launches-newly-formed-apprenticeship-scheme-united-kingdom-1/

[4] Aerospace Maintenance Council – YouTube

Blah Blah Blah

To comment on British politics, Twitter maybe the perfect platform. It’s one of the ways commentary and observations can keep up with the pace of change. So febrile is the current landscape of British politics that it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen next. Naturally, there’s thousands who will volunteer their views. It’s a wonderful entertainment but probably not terribly helpful.

What makes a good politician, or at least what makes an effective politician in 2022? Let’s forget what makes a great politician because that category is only ever seen in the story books.

Setting our situation in the context: however good a person maybe they will make errors and have failures. Let’s not get hooked on the ridiculous idea that perfection is out there to be found. That’s the territory of ideology and fanatics. There’s too many of them in Twitter-land.

What makes a good politician? I think it does come down to fundamentals. There is a big word that stands out in any community. It has done throughout history. It’s that simple but sometimes illusive quality of TRUST.

It’s not enough to stand in front of a group of citizens and espouse trustworthiness. It’s not enough to say – trust me, I know what I’m doing. There must be believability built on sound evidence. That’s a record of saying things and doing things that are correct, consistent, and coherent.

Not easy to do. The frenetic speed of News is like a hungry monster wanting to be feed minute by minute. Say too much and arguments are pulled apart ruthlessly. Say too little and the vacant space is filled with speculation.

Getting beyond the blah blah blah of ephemeral commentary is not so easy. Trust and communication can’t be separated. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say must run through every message.

Am I being naively contradictory? To start, I emphasised that it’s human to get thing wrong now and then. If public communications must meet unobtainable standards what hope does any politician have in this new media world?

Well, there’s a balance to be struck. That’s where we are – way off balance. Like a wobbly wheel spinning on a worn out axal. Both the wheel and the axel need replacing.


October 2022 and the art of defending the indefensible is rife. There’s a lot of it about. In Great British Bake-Off style, it’s to take a really badly made sponge cake and coving it with colourful decorative icing and sprinkles. It’s a simple deception. It’s the practice of turning awful News on its head. Intention being to avoid accountability for that unwelcome daily News.

Ministers so up to their necks in almighty screw-ups, travel the media studios spouting endless reasons why things have never been better and there’s no other choice but to stick with “the plan.” The word Growth gets banded around as it was glue powerful enough to hold smashed atoms togther.

Global economic headwinds, pressures amplified by conflict and devious opponents all are all depicted as the reasons why international markets are sticking two fingers up to this Conservative Government. Speculators are loving it. As unpredictable turbulence always opens opportunity for a few people to make a great deal of money.

Articles with such titles as: power cuts are not so bad, higher mortgage costs create a sense of responsibility, don’t pamper poor children and global issues cause our woes. It’s difficult to understand journalists and newspaper readers who think misery is good for you. It must be that the people who write such material are hired guns without a moral compass. They are paid to churn out counter factual editorials, warped options, and shock jock entertainments.

What’s the answer to this cavalcade of absurdly? Unsustainable situations are not solved by walking on by. There’s a strong need for a refresh. That does mean a General Election.

I know I’ve said a General Election is not on the cards for 2022. What’s new is that the more old school Conservatives, who’s order of priority is – Country, Consitituency, Party – are showing signs that they realise their Party is hurting the Country.

There is a petition to “Call an immediate general election to end the chaos of the current government[1]” and it is scheduled to be debated in Westminster. No prizes for what the outcome will be but, in a way, that’s not the point. An election is on the agenda.

NOTE: Sacking Kwasi Kwarteng is a desperate attempt to distract from the disastrous consequences of the PM’s own policies. It has been a day when the chickens have come home to roost.

[1] https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619781

Air Taxi 2

As a quick effort at simple research, I looked at several local government websites searching for Air Taxi or Urban Air Mobility (UAM) or Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). The result was lots of blanks with one or two exceptions[1][2]

There’s numerous articles about e-scooters and how they might be integrated into cityscapes.

Addressing local governments, much of what has been published to date concerns the use of drones. Yes, the use of drones is happening here and now, so this is not such a surprise. However, to me, this was a reminder that the frenetic world of aviation often discussed the future in rooms full of like-minded people. Embracing a wider audience is overdue.

In the case of UAM/AAM, innovations in civil aviation are move beyond airports, upper airspace, and specialist technical interest. If the electrification of flight is to take hold it will touch the lives of many more people than conventional commercial aviation.

These new aviation developments will generate new business models and offer new services. This is challenging stuff. It’s clear to me that, without the agreement of local authorities such enterprises will be dead before they start.

National governments may take a regulatory approach that imposes on local governments. That would be ill advised and ultimately unsustainable. A cooperative partnership would open a smooth transition from transport novelty to accepted everyday part of mobility.

Local authorities will need to adapt their formal local plans to include planning considerations of zoning, land-use, multi-modal matters, environmental impact, construction, utilities/support infrastructure, public privacy and much more.

Local government is a partner in risk management too. Just as highway authorities wrestle with improving road safety so, no doubt, UAM/AAM accidents and incidents will be on their agenda.

Fostering public-private partnerships is talked about but few examples have moved beyond theory and into practice.

POST 1: These issues have been highlighted at ICAO this year Urban Air Mobility and the Role of Air Transport – ICAO 2022 Innovation Fair – ICAO TV

POST 2: The organisation is looking at possible future operations https://varon.aero/

POST 3: People taking a holistic view http://www.supernal.aero

[1] https://www.civataglobal.org/

[2] https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/global-map/

Where are we?

From time to time, we do need to remind ourselves what the differences are between pollical parties and their thinking. Those differences are particularly stark now. In fact, dangerously stark.

So called “conservatives” are in defensive mode. They are lashing out having lost popular support and legitimacy across the nation. The misinformation is suggesting the opposition will form a “monstrous coalition” with other parties. Failing to recognise that the Conservative Party of 2022 is as monstrous coalition at war with itself.

In my mind there has never been a better time to argue for Proportional Representation (PR).  It’s a good way that a diversity of political thinking can be fairly represented. My words here are not an academic discourse so please don’t quote literate sources that point to flaws in my opinion.

Libertarian: It’s Anti-Government Government. In other words, reduce the size of the State to the absolute minimum. Thus, remove regulation and social support to create what is often called “UK PLC”. It’s a devil take the hind most thinking. Images of such a society are best captures in William Hogarth’s Gin Lane[1]. A small elite control and prosper but the majority languish.

Socialist: Almost the reverse of the above. Where the State is mother and father of every citizen. The “greater good” transcends individual aspirations and rights. Life is codified and regimented. A levelling takes place where tall poppies[2] are loped off ruthlessly. A small elite control and prosper but the majority languish.

Traditionally, these two have been characterised as far “right” and “left” in politics. Naturally, it’s not so simple as that because there’s lots of variations on the above themes. One common thread is that they both end up becoming authoritarian and destructive. Some would show the ends of the political spectrum as anti-authoritarian (anarchists) at one end and dictators at the other. So, there’s more than a few different ways of cutting the cake.

Where are we? It’s my belief that the vast majority to not fit in either of these two camps.

We live in a liberal democracy or have done until now. That, when it’s working well, balances individual aspiration with social responsibility. Our rights are respected at the same time as recognising our common journey as a nation. We work together to ensure that opportunity is spread far and wide. We cherish our environment. We build coalitions with common goals.

Britan needs to stop and take stock. The Conservative Party is pushing the whole nation in a direction it doesn’t not want to go. It’s strident libertarians are on a disastrous path. These are dangerous times.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/picture/2012/sep/12/william-hogarth-gin-lane

[2] https://wordhistories.net/2018/11/12/tall-poppy-origin/


One Minister say we want more immigration. Another Minister says we want less immigration. One Minister say we want to tax less. Another Minister says we want to keep taxes. One Minister say we want shale gas. Another Minister says we do not want shale gas. One Minister say we want more building everywhere. Another Minister says we want less building everywhere. One Minister say we can put tackling climate change on hold. Another Minister says we must act on the climate. One Minister wants to privatise the NHS. Another Minister supports public health provision. And, so on and so on.

What we have is an unsustainable UK Government without a mandate. No wonder the financial markets have been spooked. The more Ministers zigzag, U-turn, and twist and turn the more damage they do. In Truss and Kwarteng’s first month of Government chaos, it is reported that around £300 billion has been wiped off value of UK assets.

The UK is facing its biggest crisis since the Second World War. The threat is the Conservative Party. Their abject inability to set-out what they stand for has left the Conservative Party vulnerable to volatile knee jerk reactions and being led by the nose by fringe interests.

Poltical parties contain people with different interests and views. When there’s no alignment and common purpose holding those people togther then the fabric of a party fails. Trying to head this off, leaderships often get louder, more irrational and clutch at straws. Prime Minister Truss received Conservative Party conference applauds to her “anti-growth coalition” slogan but this is crazy in the context of recent Government preformance.

What is observable across the globe is that right-wing populist politicians love confrontation. They enjoy shouting down opponents. They like controversies of their own making that they can then attribute to others. The Conservative Party is broken.

Our immediate concern needs to be that this Government is sleep-walking into a mass of avoidable catastrophes as we move into the winter of 2022. Sadly, now, they are practicing the cartoon pose of an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Decaying Fantasy

I never thought that I’d read a political conference speech that referenced Jethro Tull[1]. Not the long-lived British rock band. Personally, I doubt if Minister Jacob Rees Mogg has ever heard of that group.

Like a cake baker who knows they have baked a poor cupcake his conference speech is sprinkled with 100s and 1000s. The bitterness of the sniping that interleaves every other sentence is an unsteady grumpy excess.

True that references to Adam Smith might be expected given the Minister’s known inclinations. However, reference to the Navigation Acts[2] is beyond the pale. The Navigation Acts, while profitable for Britain, caused anger in the colonies and contributed to the American Revolution.

The so called “Brexit Freedoms Bill”, a fantasy island piece of legislation, that is exactly the opposite of what is needed. We need to collaborate with others to increase the size of markets and not create even more barriers to trade.

On one major point on energy, fusion reactors remain as expensive experiments. Yes, they are expensive experiments that should be continued as global collaborative research, but they are a million miles away from being operational power systems.

Even the companies that have explored the possibilities of shale gas have concluded that it doesn’t have a future in this country. Our countryside, geology and ground water should not be put at great risk by a headlong rush into such folly.

The highlight of the Conservative party conference could be attributed bullnosed stubborn buffoonish fantasising. Meaningless slogans like: “We are the only party with the determination to deliver.” Have nothing to offer. Especially when the premise has already been shown to be a con.

The speech indicates a political party void of ideas and in terminal decline.

[1] https://www.ukpol.co.uk/jacob-rees-mogg-2022-speech-to-conservative-party-conference/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navigation_Acts

Election now?

Unless turkeys vote for Christmas, there will not be a UK General Election (GE) in 2022[1]. Well, I say that assuming that there will not be a total and utter breakdown of the governing political party. In the current state of play that event is within the realms of possibility. However, with a sizable remaining majority in the House of Commons, the Conservatives intend to continue regardless of their habit of swapping out party leaders.

It was pointed out to me that since the changes made to the UK Electoral Commission[2] earlier in the year, it’s much to the Conservative Party’s advantage to use their new powers to their benefit. The Electoral Commission is the “independent” organisation that oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. Ministers now have much more influence over the workings of the Commission.

There’s more than one Commission in the mix too.  The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is in the process of coming up with a new map of proposed Parliamentary constituencies. From the 8th November, members of the public will be able to view and comment on new constituency boundaries. With this boundary review underway there’s little incentive to have an early UK GE.

Embarrassingly, Parliament will have to debate a public petition[3] that is signed by about half a million people. So shocked are people by the ineptitude of this Conservative Government, this petition calls for an immediate UK GE.

The calling of an early UK GE is at the discretion for the sitting Prime Minister (PM), whoever that might be. So, as I’ve said the case for a turkey voting for Christmas pertains.

Certainly, winter national elections are not popular amongst political party activists. The shorter days and weather conditions often make conventional campaigning activities like doorstep canvasing difficult to do. There’re other complexities too. For an election held in December, the notice of election will be published before the deadline for publishing the revised electoral register.

There are, and there have been unprecedented crises threatening the UK. The new PM’s team looks and acts febrile and inept, but it looks like we are stuck with them for a while longer.

POST: Reports from Birmingham are that the supernova like explosion of the Conservative party is indeed a possibility.

[1] The 2019 General Election was held on Thursday, 12 December 2019. It resulted in the Conservative Party receiving a majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons.

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/electoral-commission-elections-bill-independence-b2067888.html

[3] https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619781

Out of Step

If ever a political party has misjudged the public mood more in the last few decades, it’s the British Conservative Party, here and now. Without going into the cavalcade of reasons why they are incompetent, the overriding fact is that they are completely out of step with the British people.

After years of turbulent instability and pressures caused by the banking crisis, the pandemic, conflict and Brexit they have a mad idea that we have a big appetite for chaotic change with blind sheeplike obedience. It’s difficult to say that in “normal times” this Government’s irresponsible behaviour would be totally unacceptable to the point of civil disobedience and mass protest. But it’s true and the later may indeed happen. Winter is coming.

Running the British economy as if it were a poorly thought-out student project is beyond contempt. The childishness of the UK Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer is off the scale. There is’nt a scale made for this bunch of idealogical fanatics.

This week there maybe a week of back peddling, without seeming to back peddle but the damage is done. Reputational damage is easy to achieve but mighty difficult to recover from in the short-term.

The classic British example is that of Ratners in 1991/92. Now, instead of the “Ratner effect[1]” we will have to speak of the “Truss effect” in 2022. Certainly, in the rank and order of economic disasters the Truss Government must rank well above Ratner. Afterall, he only lost 330 jewellery stores, 2500 employees and over £122 million in a few seconds.

Interestingly, the fall of Troy is on the list of all time disasters brought on by human folly. Even I wouldn’t draw a comparison with the Truss effect and a tragic story from classical literature. Or would I?

In breaking my own rule, I can just see the Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng as a wooden horse entering the His Majesty’s Treasury ready to burn it down. He’s jumped out of the horse and what comes next is writen. He may be serving at His Majesty’s pleasure but I’m sure that’s just formal terminology and, there’s a whole bucket load of displeasure behind the scenes. Whatever his eccentricities, it’s likely His Majesty is far more in-touch with the British people than this appalling British Government. They have sat too long. It’s time for them to go. And go soon.

POST 1: At conference, it is reported that the Conservative Party chairman is telling their MPs they will lose the party whip if they vote against the fatal mini-budget of last week. Shirts are being printed with the slogan – I’m with stupid.

POST 2: Conservatives now plan to scrap the scrapping of the 45p top rate of tax. It’s a big poltical u-turn only days after the UK PM publically defended the policy.

[1] https://www.businessblogshub.com/2012/09/the-man-who-destroyed-his-multi-million-dollar-company-in-10-seconds/

Magic Money Tree

The genuine problem with the today’s momentous announcements in the UK Parliament is that of political expediency. I don’t mean traditional political pragmatism but like a snake: the art of shedding one skin to replace it with another. Transformations are part of political life but total repudiation of statements, policies, and positions of only a couple of weeks ago are destabilising and lead to universal mistrust. Who are these Conservatives?

What I mean by this thought is the unsettling claim that some people have made that this is the first days of a true Conservative[1] government[2]. As if the entity that was elected at a General Election in 2019 was merely a dark cloak of convenience. As if the British Conservative Party General Election manifestos of 2019[3] was a prospectus that no one should ever have expected anyone to take seriously. As if the last decade of Conservative rule was merely a colourful sham.

Not so long ago, time and time again we were warned of that Magic Money Tree[4] was a dangerous myth. That the sirens of the opposition parties would entice the great British state onto the rocks. Financial doom would surely result if the public voted for social democrats, liberals, greens or socialist. The perils were exclusively caricaturised as attributed to “lefty” high spenders.

Magical thinking is now mainstream Conservative thinking. This smack of complete and utter hopelessness. The claim is that the new “Growth Plan” puts more money back into the pockets of businesses and families. It makes some attempt at putting some money back into the pockets of businesses but sets the cost against the ordinary taxpayer. Paying for borrowing will be an ever increasing burden.  New British Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is a gold rush gambler without the know-how, track record or skill of ever being a winning gambler.

The cynical political gamble is that increasing burden will not become disastrous until after the next General Election. The leader may have changed, but the same old desperation to cling to power, whatever the cost to the country continues in the Conservatives.

POST: Pound Sterling dives after British Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng presented his budget to Parliament’s House of Commons on Friday.

[1] https://twitter.com/LordAshcroft/status/1573247615629758464?s=20&t=YGIIoj2ODXvpnLdMQHFE1Q

[2] https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/made-pile-lord-ashcroft-businessman-politician/article/940641

[3] https://www.conservatives.com/our-plan/conservative-party-manifesto-2019

[4] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44524605