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Speaking as a Mechanical Engineer with Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd, I would like to take issue with your comments.First, a point of fact. Whilst it is true that Bombardier Inc (the panret company) is a global multi-national, Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd is registered in the UK, so it is a British company. Walk into any office at a very large engineering company and you will find it filled with engineers and technicians from all over the world, pursuing their engineering interests. It doesn’t matter where the staff are from; everyone is graded on merit. To an extent, you are right, and yes we do have some Engineers who are not British nationals, usually they are here on secondment, and of course we share best practice with our global colleagues. But the vast majority of our Engineers in Derby are born and bred in the UK and live in the areas surrounding Derby. Therefore they pay British taxes, shop in British shops, and contribute to British society, all of which we acknowledge to be a Good Thing since it helps both the local and the national economy to grow. Thus, the argument for supporting UK-based engineering and manufacturing is not so much because of idle jingoism so much as good economic sense.If the factory closes down, and if those people are laid off, not only do they have to find another place to practice their art (not easy in the current climate), but there is also one less employer in the UK to take on Engineers (both Graduates and Apprentices).At the end of the day, as an Engineer you might be quite happy to work anywhere in the world. You can, and that is your choice. But personally I love my country. I want to stay here and be able to do high value-added engineering and research which contributes to the national economy. I want to see the products that I have helped design come rolling off the production line, designed and constructed by the hands of British people schooled by the British education system, improving the lives of British people. And maybe, being sold abroad to boost our exports and hence to reduce our trade imbalance and national deficit.To paint this debate as being some facile us against the evil Germans' is to completely misrepresent those of us who are fighting for the existence of Britain's last train manufacturer. To my knowledge, nobody has been blaming the Germans. In fact, most people I speak to say, fair play to them . I work with Germans all the time, in fact I have been seconded to one of our German offices over the last four months. Germans are lovely people and Germany is a lovely country. What Germany has, however, is a sense of national self esteem, fostered by its economic strength and stability which is built on, yes, engineering and manufacturing. But look at Britain and much of the rest of Europe crippled with debt and barely able to support itself, after years of over-reliance on the service economy and the house price boom. What's left of our manufacturing sector is doing well so far, yes, but will it be enough to see us out of this trough, let alone compete on a world stage with the likes of China and India.The Made in Britain' debate is about more than just old fashioned national stereotypes. It's about what we want to be good at in this country, and what we need to do in order to grow our economy in a sustaintable fashion. Personally, it may be idealistic but I want Britain to become, again, renowned as a beacon of innovation and inventiveness, a place where Engineering is a prized profession, and where we can design and make worthwhile things on our own soil for the benefit of mankind. The Bombardier scandal is part of that debate, and the loss of Bombardier in the UK would mean the loss of another Tier 1 supplier, the kind of supplier the UK economy should be crying out to retain and attract, since so much other economic activity depends on them.To say that Engineering is International' is very nice, and partly true, but you have missed the point.
illouli : c est effectivement une oiinpon souvent exprime9e, meame si pour ma part je suis nettement plus re9serve9.Ce n est malheureusement ni le moment ni le lieu d en de9battre, mais pour moi, la Chine, e0 l instar de l Inde, ne deviendra pas une hyper-puissance comme peuvent l eatre les Etats-Unis tant qu elle n aura pas surmonte9 ses proble8mes structurels, ethniques, de9mographique et culturels.Ce qui fait un paquet de de9fis, et son histoire a montre9 qu elle ne les avait jusqu e0 pre9sent jamais surmonte9, quelques furent les e9poques et les re9gimes en place.Son marche9 inte9rieur, meame fortement captif, ne couvre pas l ensemble de la population, tre8s loin de le0, meame, et ne peut pre9tendre avant longtemps avoir la stabilite9 et la puissance e9conomique requises pour une pre9tendue domination .Pour moi, c est un colosse aux pieds d argile.
Mixner's argument about the pulaicartr characteristics of the Netherlands and Denmark misses the point that both those countries became auto-centric in the years after WWII and only became the bicycling-oriented places they now are as a result of a massive government shift in priorities and a massive cycle-infrastructure building program that is still underway today, more than 30 years after it began. It wasn't universally popular at the beginning and faced all the obstacles that Mixner identified it would face in the USA. But they were innovative enough to find a way around it.And the idea that cycling and public transit is necessarily slower and poorer quality than car travel is absurd I live in continent-sized nation and personally drive only rarely and I find the experience awful compared to cycling definitely slower and poorer. If you're living in a sprawl city, then the innovation you need is one that transforms it into a less sprawling city, thereby making automobility less required.
I often take catnaps on the bus I use for comimtung. Other people read, play with their children, or so on. That would probably be a bad idea if we were all driving instead.Anyway, the three technologies I cited aren't limited to low-output engines. In fact the new Audi 4.2L V8 TDI has adopted common rail, and makes well over 300HP. BMW is gradually introducing micro-hybrid technologies like start/stop and regenerative braking basically across their line, including the new M3 and upcoming new M5. Heck, the tiny 1.4L MultiAir available in the Alfa Romeo MiTo makes 168HP the 3.4L base V6 in a mid-90s Camaro/Firebird only made 160HP (MultiAir both reduces emissions AND adds power).Frankly, it just strikes me as bizarre to claim that technologies that reduces CO2 emissions per unit of power are irrelevant to this discussion. It may also be true that on average, Europeans buy smaller and less powerful cars, but obviously adopting such technologies will have an impact on emissions independent of such trends.
The major cities and towns in Denmark and the Netherlands were laid out long beorfe the rise of automobiles. The layout of the central areas Copenhagen, Amsterdam and other major cities and towns goes back to medieval times. They were designed for walking and horse-drawn vehicles, so they tend to be compact. That makes it easy to adapt them for biking. American towns and cities just aren't like that. They were built in the age of the car. The only way to make them conducive to biking would be to tear them down and rebuild them from scratch at dramatically higher density. That's never going to happen. And our extreme climate is another reason why biking will never be more than a niche market here. Ever ridden a bike in a Chicago winter or a Phoenix summer?And no, cycling and transit aren't necessarily slower than driving. They're slower for the vast majority of trips. Transit and cycling have a role in our national transportation system, but it is a very, very small one.
It's a pleasure to find such ralionatity in an answer. Welcome to the debate.
Robert & Gilles CLARACO Fondateurs du portail de l’intermodalité intermodalite.com