EU could pilot Airbus case if UK was willin

Posted By: October 04, 2017

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast.  Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The US Government’s treatment of Bombardier is a foretaste of what’s to come, a clear signal of the impending disaster of Brexit and its accompanying fantasies.

Our proconsul’s [ NI Secretary of State] whining in his predictably lackluster Conservative conference speech to a mainly empty hall (who cares about here?) was a good example of Britain’s delusions.

He lamented that Boeing’s behavior is no way to treat a partner.

Look, Boeing is not a partner any more than Britain is a partner of the gigantic US. You hear repeated claims that Britain is the sixth biggest economy in the world, though it’s slipping down fast. Just to put that in perspective; on its own,  the state of California would be the sixth biggest economy in the world. The UK with its population of 65 million can’t operate or be compared to any US scale with its 323 million population.

The same applies to Boeing, which employs 145,000 in 65 countries around the world. More importantly, it employs more than 2,000 directly in Britain but about 16,500 through 250 companies in its supply chain. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner uses Rolls-Royce engines. The British army flies Boeing’s Chinook and Apache helicopters and so on and so on. The conclusion is clear. Britain is a tiddler in the world economy and can’t stand alone despite the vaporings of the crazier Brexiteers.

There’s one aspect of the threat to Bombardier that no-one here, least of all our proconsul has mentioned. Have you noticed that no-one in the British government has appealed to the EU for help? They can’t of course, not this government because apart from the humiliation of having to admit only the EU is powerful enough to take on the US, the uproar from the Conservative Brexiteers would bring down the government.

All Theresa May can do is plead with the US Department of Commerce but why should the US give special treatment to one country?

Yet the EU, which May has to ignore, has a good record in going toe to toe with the US on trade matters including aircraft. Airbus, the EU’s equivalent of Boeing has thanks to the economic power of the EU managed to sell planes to American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and other smaller US companies. This, despite both the US and EU subsidizing their favorite airline manufacturers for the US, can’t afford to lose Boeing’s European market. However, the US knows the British army can’t-do without Boeing-manufactured helicopters.

Here’s another thing. Airbus employs 13,000 people at two sites in Britain, Filton and Broughton. What’s going to happen to them when the UK pulls out of the customs union and single market? The factories mainly make Airbus landing gear and the wings. The supply chain for these is vast and stretches across Germany, France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere. How are all those components going to be shipped backward and forwards in their various stages of manufacture? They aren’t. Jobs are going to go.

Furthermore, Bombardier, which isn’t at the Shorts factory just for the view of Divis mountain, is developing a new plant at Sheffield, located like Belfast’s to gain access to the EU single market. Now, the EU could step involuntarily to hide Theresa May’s blushes and help Bombardier survive the attack from Boeing but why should they? After all May’s government thinks there’s no point in being in the EU.

Equally, Bombardier, if it survives in Canada as well as here, might think why not move to Toulouse or outside Prague if Britain isn’t in the single market?

Has anyone asked the DUP why they haven’t appealed to Brussels to help out Bombardier? Has anyone asked why the DUP dupes aren’t asking their Conservative friends to appeal to Brussels? The answer is obvious. The DUP made a disastrous decision in supporting Brexit but they couldn’t have imagined they would be exposed as eejits so quickly and so publicly. It would be amusing to watch the MP for East Belfast running around studios like a headless chicken if it weren’t for the prospect of several thousand jobs going down the Swanee because of his party’s stupidity.

Will they admit the government they’re propping up is powerless alone?