England has sadly been eliminated from the World Cup earlier than any of us had hoped. Personally I am cheering for the Netherlands now, but would you expect anything else? The good news is that Capello appears to be staying, which in my ever so humble opinion is right. He is not to blame for this. The problem is much more fundamental and needs a much longer term fix.
Every business needs a good infrastructure to function well, not just within the business, but also outside. For example we need a supportive banking system. As I wrote last week I have been trying to finance a minibus for a business I am working with, but the banks are not interested. This part of our infrastructure still appears to be crumbling or should I say self destructing?
A friend of mine got her car insurance renewal in through the post last week from a well known insurance company, owned by the large bank ‘we, the people’ bailed out recently – ‘oh yes!’. They had almost doubled her premium and came up with some lame reasons for this. Fortunately a quick search of the internet provided a quote which was lower than her premium last year, so she switched. So much for bank support.
Driving around the country we all see our roads are falling apart. Our Councils blame it on the winter – I blame it on bad investment on our infrastructure. A friend who came over from Europe recently commented on the number of potholes on our roads and enquired why this was. The answer is simple – we do not value or maintain our infrastructure.
Traveling on our trains shows how little we value infrastructure. We have some of the most expensive, slowest and least timely trains in the industrialised world and we are far behind on the development of the much needed infrastructure. The previous Government had a 10 year plan of many billions. Not sure what happened but the result is dismal. This Goverment is cutting the spending so at least the dismal result should cost less!
Internet is now an essential part of our infrastructure, yet our broadband speeds are falling increasingly behind. I am lucky enough to have a second home outside the UK, where the local authority has installed fibre optic broadband cabling, free of charge, throughout the town. My broadband here at home comes through a cable coming from a pole across the street. Fortunately I do not need high speed internet, but many businesses do. They are better off going to another country.
Now our new Government is addressing the appalling waste we see in the schools academy program our friends in the previous Government gave us. Quite correctly they want to address this, but there is a real danger that this next piece of essential infrastructure may be destroyed by the way they approach it.
Getting back to football, the reason we lost is that we do not have enough good English players. The reason is we do not have the infrastructure to develop the players we need. Unfortunately it will take at least a generation to correct this. The infrastructure needs to be developed, implemented, people have to join it and we then need to maintain it. So by 2030 we could have the players and the real potential to win.
If we want to ensure the economy does not go the same way as our football team we need to develop our basic infrastructure and we need to do so efficiently and quickly. Our roads, trains, broadband and education systems need to be revamped and maintained and we have a chance of getting the world class economy we want. Only then can we win the World Cup again one day or maybe even the European Song Contest.