It is ironic that Hamish McRae offers car production as a probable source of Britain's redemption because the "British" car industry is now owned by the Americans, the Germans and the Japanese. Much of the success of the car industry is due to Japanese finance, Japanese production engineering, Japanese management and - most significantly - a British workforce. We have always been capable of rivalling the best in the world given the capital and the management to do so. The City has not yet grasped that services are built upon manufacturing - the largest German insurer is five times bigger than the largest British insurer, and the largest Japanese insurer is five times bigger than that.
Britain's financial institutions lack the critical mass to compete on the world stage, and if Lloyds and Barings are any indication, they will be condemned by their managements to go the same way as the British car industry - and for the same reasons.