If there’s any lesson that’s slowly oozing out of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s that British entrepreneurs and particularly energy company executives are completely untrustworthy. They do inferior work with inferior machinery and enormously inflated personae, and attempt to sell it on the open market as though it meant something any longer. Then, when things go wrong — as they often do when you have a joking attempt and really nothing but bottomless contempt for the people you’re ultimately supplying, you occasionally get caught up, as BP is now.
I don’t know exactly when it was that Britain became a third-rate power given to those kinds of machinations, but it had to correspond to the rise of Sir Clive Sinclair, who has produced and sold the most poorly engineered pieces of junk in technology and transportation in the last half century. He’s a minor hero in Britain, but for all the wrong reasons, like the Sinclair C5, which was at least the biggest joke of a deathtrap the British press ever descended upon.
His computers and other inventions weren’t any better. I don’t care that his “QL” computer was originally owned by Linus Torvalds, it was a complete piece of junk in terms of engineering. I have never seen anything better come out of Britain, and I’m completely unsurprised that it was one of their deepwater oil platforms that has caused so much devastation here in our hemisphere. They suck.
Recently, our very American President has decided that Americans won’t go back to the moon, and instead most of the LEO and whatever-else-EO shots are going to be run by people like Richard Branson, another enormously wealthy, eccentric Brit.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we should not do that. We certainly shouldn’t let Virgin run our space program. The best of British engineering is derivative, cheaply-made, eccentric rubbish and the rest of it is on display in the Gulf of Mexico right now. The only thing they’ve managed to do was the McLaren F1, and they’re so expensive that nobody can own them. They’re a once-great nation with a preternatural inferiority complex and the last thing they should be doing is advising anyone about how to do anything important, ever again.
I say that I don’t worry about the day we stop believing in British Engineering, in every way we possibly can.