The Anonymous Widower

Will Britain Negotiate With A United Europe?

In this article on the BBC, which is entitled EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker ‘will not seek second term’, this is said.

Mr Juncker also said the UK could divide opinion among EU leaders once Brexit negotiations begin.

I think that will be highly likely, as putting 27 people in a room and asking themany question, will give several different answers.

Last year, I wrote Brexit – Signalling Implications For The UK, which was based on an an article on Rail Engineer.

This is a paragraph from the article, which talks about implementing signalling post-Brexit.

The endless committees to discuss and agree how the standards will be implemented do not get in the way. Whilst not suitable for main line usage (at least in the foreseeable future), there could be suburban routes around cities (for example Merseyrail) that could benefit from CBTC deployment.

I know it is talking about one small part of railway signalling, but if the states of Europe can’t agree a common position on that, how will they agree a common position on how to deal with the UK during and after Brexit?

In some ways, the biggest problem with Brexit, is that we will still be arguing about the details of the settlement well into the 2030s and beyond.

I can see some absolutely silly arguments going on and on!

 

February 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Should Brexit Mean A Return To £sd?

Why not?

I wouldn’t have a problem, as I honed my £sd skills in a pub, where a bottle of Guinness was one shilling and eight pence or three for five shillings.

Those were the days!

 

January 31, 2017 Posted by | World | | 4 Comments

Out Of The Mouths Of Brummies

The December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways has a special report on railways and trams in the West Midlands.

There are some choice quotes from those involved in planning the future of the rail network in the area.

On HS2

“It’ll be half an hour from Birmingham Interchange station to the Crossrail interchange at Old Oak Common. That means Birmingham Airport will be in London Zone 4, timewise.”

On Stations

“Nobody looks at their strategic value to the community”

On New Street Station

“The Birmingham New Street Gateway rebuilding has quadrupled the passenger circulation area in the station, but it hasn’t addressed the key issue of lack of track capacity”`

On Battery Power For Trams

“Since then there has been lots of work and we’re now comfortable that battery technology has advanced sufficiently for it to be viable.”

“Under test conditions with plain straight track a tram could travel 20 km catenary-free. In practice, this would be rather less for a fully laden tram ascending the 9% gradient on Penfold Street. The longest catenary-free run we’ve envisaged is around 2 km, and we’re comfortable we can achieve that”

On More Trams

“They will have to be bespoke to a degree in order to operate catenary-free, but the rail sector is embracing alternative technology and on-board energy store so we may be looking at something more advanced afain.”

Conclusion

It’s all upbeat and it looks like Birmingham is looking forward to the battery trams.

No-one mentioned the B-word!

 

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Could The Brexit Ruling Be Beneficial To All?

This article on the BBC is entitled PM urged to calm the backlash against Brexit ruling.

It is all getting very nasty out there.

The judges were asked for their opinion and they gave it.

Some  reaction is like that of a heavy smoker, who has just asked his doctor, if smoking will cause lung cancer and he hasn’t liked the reply.

I am by training a Control Engineer, who in his time has modelled very complex systems.

I can remember a couple of difficult problems, where to find a working solution, some form of delay had to be introduced.

After that, everything was hunky-dory!

The biggest effect of the Brexit ruling, will be to introduce a delay in the calling of Article 50, which will now hang like a Sword of Damacles over everybody, be they a politician, captain of industry or just an ordinary Jack or Jill like me.

So as Doctor Johnson said about hanging concentrating the mind, could we see the ultimate British solution; a compromise?

Thank the Devil for lawyers!

 

November 5, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Threat Of UK Tax Cut Staves Off Hostile EU

This is the headline on an article in the Sunday Times, which suggests that the UK may cut corporate tax rates from 20% to 10% unless the EU grants the UK access to the single market.

I don’t know whether it is speculation on the paper’s part, but it does illustrate how Brexit means that it removes a whole set of rules from the UK Government.

It is an interesting suggestion!

I think it could have these effects.

  • Companies like Apple, Starbucks, Google and Amazon would look at the UK favourably.
  • If a company was spending fortunes on research, the UK would probably be more attractive, as if say they developed a world-beating drug, they wouldn’t pay as much tax on the large profits.

But I never heard it mentioned in the Referendum.

It probably shows how our politicians all think inside boxes and that those in Europe do even more so!

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 2 Comments

Walloonacy

In Brexit – Signalling Implications For The UK, I quoted this from an article on Rail Engineer.

The endless committees to discuss and agree how the standards will be implemented do not get in the way. Whilst not suitable for main line usage (at least in the foreseeable future), there could be suburban routes around cities (for example Merseyrail) that could benefit from CBTC deployment.

So when I read articles like this one on the BBC, which is entitled Ceta talks: EU vows to unblock Canada trade deal, I do wonder if the EU has got its decision-making right.

Allowing the Walloons to block the trade deal with Canada, is a bit like giving a handful of MPs, the right to block new standards on the making of sausages.

When we leave, which is something I don’t want, the EU must surely reform itself to make it a more efficient and sensible organisation.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Brexit – Signalling Implications For The UK

The title of this post is that of an article on Rail Engineer.

It looks at how rail signalling will be affected by Brexit.

It is an article worth reading.

Remember that signalling is the instructions that keeps a railway functioning, just like the operating system does on your computer.

The article starts like this.

With Britain on a course to leave the EU, how might the plans for signalling (control and communications) be affected? In short, nobody really knows, but a number of factors might now change the policy that had existed hitherto. Not having to comply with EU rules on interoperability, the non-inclusion of TEN routes and the advertising of large contracts in the European Journal might all lead to a different (or modified) approach.

So will it lead to different approach?

I don’t know either, but if you read the article we have gone a long way to creating a signalling system, that is some way along the path to meeting the ultimate EU aims.

ERTMS

The article says this about ERTMS or \European Rail Transport Management System.

ERTMS, and its constituent parts of ETCS and GSM-R, has been a corner stone of European signalling policy for over two decades. Both have taken far too long to come to maturity, with ETCS Level 2 just about at a stable level and GSM-R, whilst rolled out throughout the UK, facing an obsolescence crisis within the next ten years.

ETCS or European Train Control System is not fully deployed, but in the UK, we have made some progress.

  • The Cambrian Line has been equipped as a learning exercise.
  • Significant testing has been performed on the Hertford Loop Line
  • ETCS is being installed and has been tested in the central core of Thameslink.
  • Crossrail will be using ETCS.
  • ETCS is being implemented on the Southern part of the East Coast Main Line.

GSM-R is the communication system from train to signallers.

Looking at this , shows that although the UK fully implemented a GSM-R network by January 2016, not many companies have got as far as the UK.

Surely, you need decent communications to run an efficient and safe railway.

I think it is true to say we’ve not been idle.

The article talks about alternatives and shows a few cases where an alternative approach has been taken.

  • Norwich-Ely and Crewe-Shrewsbury have been resignalled using a mofdular system.
  • Scotland has decided to go its own way in the Far North.
  • The article talks about CBTC or Commuincations-Based Train Control, which used on several systems around the world including London’s Jubilee and Northern Lines.

The article also says this about CBTC

The endless committees to discuss and agree how the standards will be implemented do not get in the way. Whilst not suitable for main line usage (at least in the foreseeable future), there could be suburban routes around cities (for example Merseyrail) that could benefit from CBTC deployment.

Could CBTC be a practical system without the bureaucracy?

But these alternatives all smell of pragmatism, where the best system is chosen for the line.

But we have one great advantage in that we have imnplemented a comprehensive digotal network covering the whole network.

This is no Internet of Things, but an Internet of Trains.

Software

As a computer programmer, I couldn’t leave this out of the signalling recipe.

You can bet your house, that somewhere there are programmers devising solutions to get round our problems.

And they will!

Conclusion

I can’t believe that other industries are not giving the same opportunities to the disruptive innovators of the UK.

Brexit might be good for us, in a surprising way!

Nothing to do with politics or immigration and all to do with innovation!

 

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Did The Mind Of Buyers Cause The UK’s Surprise Manufacturing Rebound?

This article on the BBC is entitled Pound jumps as UK manufacturing activity rebounds.

This is the opening paragraphs.

The value of the pound has jumped after a survey indicated the UK’s manufacturing sector rebounded sharply in August.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 53.3 in August from July’s figure of 48.3. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

The weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote boosted exports, the survey found.

I also think another factor comes into it – The buyers who are purchasing the goods.

My father’s business was ruined by a bent buyer, who was taking bribes all over the place. When this was discovered, all the suppliers were changed and three-quarters of my father’s orders for his specialist printing disappeared to the only other company locally, who could do it.

My father was not amused and he told me so, in no uncertain terms.

There is also the story of the UK department store chain, that cut the foreign travel budget for their buyers, who were sourcing goods to sell. One unexpected consequence was that they increased the proportion of UK-made goods.

I’ve heard so many tales of bent buyers, and suitcases filled of high-value notes, that I can afford to keep some back for later.

Now though, the UK could have a rather strange advantage because of Brexit.

Say you’re a German buyer of components for your company, that are made in the UK.

Could Brexit on the horizon mean that you’re worried that in a couple of years, doing business with the UK will be a lot harder?

So perhaps now is time to have a last business trip to the UK before it gets too difficult.

If the price is right, it’s also a lot easier to go to Birmingham than Shanghai!

Never underestimate buyers, who are always looking out for themselves.

You are probably a straight buyer, but your family will probably enjoy the UK more than China.

 

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Business, World | , , | Leave a comment

I Am Totally Against Brexit, But Read This!

York Potash are developing a potash mine in you’ve guessed it! – Yorkshire.

This article from the Gazette Live is entitled Work on York Potash mine which could employ 1,000 due to start in September.

This can’t be bad news, as every new job on Teesside is needed. This is also said.

Costs for the project “have moved in our favour”, Mr Fraser told the newspaper. “We are a dollar asset but a big part of the costs will be [paid in] sterling [for] labour… With lower sterling, we will be in a stronger position.”

In the end, I suspect that whether or not we leave Europe, the result will not be a disaster for the country.

The dollar will continue to call the shots, as it moves towards being the universal world currency.

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Business, World | , , | 2 Comments

Brexit And The Abolition Of Slavery

In my view, voting for Brexit is the same sort of independent decision, equivalent to the passing of the Slevery Abolition Act of 1833.

Both votes were opposed by large sections of the population and commerce.

I know slavery still exists, but who would deny, that what happened in 1833, was right and proper with hindsight of nearly two hundred years?

I think the Brexit vote will change Europe for the better, as we are by no means the only country, where the voters disapprove of Brussels!

Although, I support staying in Europe, I’ve never been in favour of appointed presidents with political power and vast armies of civil servants.

July 2, 2016 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments