I propose to use my own experience of the credit crunch to show what has happened to thousands of people and thousands of businesses, because those we trusted, chose to and were allowed to steal our money, hive it off, and not only not be taken to book, the government gave them even more money to play with. When I was in my 70s, Sophie and I calculated what we would need should one or both of us been taken ill and had to go into care. At the current rate we would need £15,000 per annum just for one, and as we wanted to retain our home for the other, we saved on a regular basis for a nest egg to cover the differential, to ensure the government could not steal our house to pay for the incarceration, because we were on an income where this could happen. When the crunch came our investments in many cases were decimated. I recalled this as a microcosm of what is happening throughout the land. Careful people in industry and at home have made decisions on the assumption that any change would be minor. Now we know that that was not possible.
I have always felt from my own experience, that apprenticeship in trades, and articles to the professions produced, in many cases, far more competent people at the end of their training, than either the technical colleges or universities produced. They had hands-on experience, possibly a rough ride, but when they came out of training they were experienced. When people come out of college their experience is virtually limited. I have seen General Foremen who knew more through experience, and what they were doing, than the engineers in charge of them.
The effect of this credit crunch is that first of all the schools and colleges are under extreme financial pressure which will inevitably reduce the variety, and possibly even the quality of the education available. We have already seen that in Belfast the Queen’s University is closing its German department. There is hardly a day that passes but we see on television the cutbacks that are occurring right across the board. What is even worse is that our manufacturing and construction industries are closing down or going on short time, throughout the country. The effect of this is that the educational facilities in industry, such as apprenticeship, will be considerably reduced, and so it is the emerging generations who will suffer, and in consequence the ability and the resource of labour, particularly in industry will suffer, and it is this upon which the viability of the country depends. The future for this country will be bleak unless some strong minded leader, pulls us up by our bootlaces as Churchill did in World War II.
I have said before that I can’t understand how so much money from across the world has been hived off and clearly set aside without anybody knowing who has it and where it is. Clearly it is not being used. It must be obvious that if either some individuals, or some country that has gathered in all this money, starts to use it, and we, the nations who have lost the money, have a monitoring system cannot discover any sudden appearance of wealth, then one must assume that the money is virtually gone, and, if it were replaced purely by printing more, so that the finances of the governments that have been affected were back to where they should be, then surely the crunch would be over, or am I so ignorant I can’t imagine an obvious reason why this has not happened?