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Why the UK Should Nationalize Airbus

by John Brian Shannon

Airbus Execs Say Company May Leave the UK in a ‘Hard Brexit’ Scenario

The most obvious thing in the world has finally occurred and the only surprise is that it took so long!

Yesterday, Airbus said it would “reconsider its footprint in the country, its investments in the UK and its dependency on the UK,” and further stated that if Britain crashed out of the EU without a trade deal it would entail an “extremely negative outcome for Airbus,” and “would be catastrophic,” etc., etc.,

Certainly, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said many times that she doesn’t intend on crashing out of the EU without a trade deal and she and her Cabinet have devoted much time and effort towards obtaining a deal.

Whether the EU side has reciprocated in that drive for a deal is another matter. Many of us understand the reason as some in the EU have hurt feelings, and still to this day some continental politicians can’t understand why the UK is leaving and why more than 17-million voters chose to leave the European Union.

Regardless, the UK is leaving. Of that there is no doubt.


If the EU and Airbus want to continue to sell aircraft to the UK they will continue to operate their facilities throughout the UK with no substantive changes.

But if they do leave, it presents an enormous opportunity for the government and companies in the United Kingdom to purchase Airbus properties in Northern Ireland and in Britain to create a homegrown aircraft manufacturer.


When Someone Wants to Leave, Do Yourself a Favour and Let Them Leave (on good terms)

Whether it’s a marriage, a business partnership, or a foreign manufacturer wanting to pull up stakes — do yourself a favour and let them go.

If you stop them from leaving it’s only temporary anyway! So cut your losses and move on brave souls.

There’s plenty to be said about helping them pack and in engaging in some polite small talk until they’re out the door.

Then, as soon as their gone, pull out a blank sheet of paper and design the domestic aircraft manufacturer of your dreams — and get on with it every day until it’s done!

That’s how you get onto the good stuff and prevent yourself from getting bogged down in anger, self-doubt, recriminations, and what-if scenarios. That stuff will drive you bonkers!

Which is why Theresa May needs to take the bull by the horns and politely inquire as to the asking price of all of the Airbus manufacturing facilities which are scattered all over Britain and Northern Ireland — and buy-out Airbus (UK assets only) ASAP.


It’s no time to be a wallflower, it’s time to create a domestic aircraft manufacturer, par excellence!

One that will create just as many (or more) jobs in the UK as Airbus.


Nationalize Airbus, With Intent to Sell

Nationalizing Airbus throughout the UK would cost a few billion, sure, but investors from all over the world would want to get in on THAT IPO!

Commonwealth countries — which make up 2.5 billion people — should be offered ‘first dibs’ on such an IPO to guarantee their participation in that new company, and to help ensure they will choose to order aircraft from that new entity.

The astonishing success story of Airbus, of Bombardier in Canada, and Brazil’s Embraer all point to the success that a UK airline manufacturer could enjoy (assuming the right management team of course) which could also produce their own ‘joint fighter’ and ‘joint bomber’ jets for Commonwealth and developing countries.

Canada could be tapped to produce the landing gear (for example) while Australia and New Zealand could build many of the components for the aircraft, while items with high labour costs (like sheet metal) could be manufactured in India, and seats and luggage bins could be made in Commonwealth nations in Africa and the Caribbean — and all of it shipped to the UK for final assembly and flight testing.

It really comes down to which Commonwealth country can build the best seats, or the best wings, etc., and then simply arrange a build plan around those capabilities.

‘Canada, what can you build better, cheaper, and faster, than any other Commonwealth nation to add to the new [enter name of aircraft here] and deliver it to us for final assembly on a timely basis?’ That’s how you approach each Commonwealth country.

Once the IPO has raised sufficient capital, the UK government could then sell it to that (primarily Commonwealth) investor group.

UK and Commonwealth joint aircraft company

As Airbus has concerns about deliveries of Airbus parts manufactured across the UK post-Brexit, Theresa May should relieve them of that concern by nationalizing Airbus (UK operations only). Image courtesy of Boom Supersonic.


Not Only Will UK Airbus Jobs Be Saved, But an Entire Commonwealth-wide Aviation Industry Will Have Been Created!

Which is another way of saying; ‘Thank you, Airbus. I love you, and I will always remember you fondly.”

Once Brexit occurs, UK companies and citizens will no longer have the luxury of coasting along like snowflakes caught in a gentle breeze; Rather, UK citizens will need to ‘Man-up’ or ‘Woman-up’ (as the case may be) to rebuild the country into all that it could’ve and should’ve been, all along!

From now on gentle Britons, it’s sink or swim, win or lose, own or be owned… decide how you want to spend the next 50-years.

A great way to start is for the UK government to automatically nationalize every company that wants to pull out of the UK, hold it for up to 6-months, and then sell it to any appropriate investor group that has strong UK and Commonwealth connections and looks viable enough to pull it off in style.

That’s how you ‘Build a Better Britain’ Theresa May!

Brexit: Are We There Yet?

by John Brian Shannon

As the Brexit negotiating process drags on perhaps Theresa May has a grand negotiating strategy - leave everything 'til the end - and then, negotiate furiously.

As the Brexit negotiating process drags on, perhaps Theresa May’s grand negotiating strategy is to leave everything until the end — and then negotiate furiously. Let us hope!

As of today, we’re 286 days from the official Brexit date and much remains to be done, and for all the squallering about it, not much has happened. At least, not that the public can see.

Yes, a final Brexit date has been set, Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to pay a £20 exit fee (or perhaps as much as 40 billion according to some reports) to the European Union, there may (or may not be) an interim period when the UK is partly in and partly out of the UK (and without EU representation during that interim period — even though the UK will continue to pay billions to the EU) no trade deal has been agreed, nor have customs issues been resolved.

And all of it built upon the principle that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ which means that the UK has effectively nothing if negotiations go awry.

Further, the Good Friday Agreement could be endangered if the ‘no agreement’ scenario comes to pass.

Not very confidence inspiring.


Perhaps All is Not Lost

Negotiators have different ways of obtaining agreements and sometimes the most effective strategy is to wait until the end of the negotiating cycle and hit ’em hard with a deal they just can’t refuse just as the last few days tick off the calendar. Which is a legitimate negotiating plan, if, if, if, that’s what the plan is.

There’s something to be said for playing ‘defence’ (watching the other side to get familiar with their tactics and devices) as EU negotiators play ‘offense’ using all their ammunition to try to slow, obfuscate, or completely derail Brexit.

In short, it might be better for the UK to let the EU expend all of its effort — and withstand that barrage — then at the last-minute, the United Kingdom suddenly offers up a trade deal that the European Union can’t pass up.

If that’s Theresa May’s strategy to deliver Brexit to UK voters, it’s a good one. But only if she and the MP’s whose constituents voted for Brexit can withstand the ongoing negotiating and media blitz for 286 more days.

Otherwise, she will fail, and so will Brexit.

Risky (if you have a weak team) and brilliant (if your team is strong)

We shall see…

The EU Relationship: After Brexit

by John Brian Shannon

Overcoming significant obstacles in the postwar era, continental Europe has grown into one of the world’s most developed and successful grouping of nations in every possible category.

From conflicted littoral states pre-1945, to a unified trading bloc in 1972 (the EC) to a full customs and trade union in 1993 (the EU) and with several future member states lined-up to join, the modern European Union continues to morph into all that it can and should be.

From its rich history, to its culture and its support for the rule of law, and by placing a high priority on governmental and non-governmental institutions, EU countries have set a global standard in the architecture of governance.

Yet, it isn’t for everyone. Greenland left the bloc in 2009, followed by Switzerland in 2014 which withdrew its application to become an EU member. The Swiss are like that anyway. Very Independent People!

The Swiss remain members of the EFTA, which is simply a group of four like-minded European nations who’ve agreed to streamlined trading arrangements. The EFTA serves to improve trade flows between its members.

Norway, for example (an EFTA member) chose to not join the EU, but participates in many European Union institutions on an al a carte basis, although it must pay a higher price than EU members to have the option to join or not join certain EU institutions and frameworks.

And finally, the UK voted to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum, but the Brits joined to leave anyway, it was just a matter of time before they left.

Even with those disappointments (as seen from the EU side) the European Union is still a stunning success with every opportunity to double its standing in the world. Viel Respekt!


Taking the High Road with the EU in the Post-Brexit Timeframe

As good as the European Union is for its continental partners, it just doesn’t work as well for the UK and its Commonwealth partners, which has resulted in the inevitable Brexit vote and all the subsequent steps the UK government has taken towards Brexiting the European Union.

Of course, the EU people may feel some hurt feelings when a country wants to leave its bloc — nobody likes a one-sided divorce. But there soon exists the possibility of creating a new and better relationship between the UK and the EU. And there is plenty of room to improve on that count.

For some, getting Brexit out-of-the-way is merely a necessary step towards getting on to the super-important work of creating the all-time best possible relationship between the UK and the European Union.

The potential for increased trade between the two blocs, for additional mutual aid in addition to their respective NATO commitments, for multi-lateral support at the UN (for example) and to have two powerful European voices registering their positions in the world media instead of one, are just the beginnings of helping the two main European blocs hold even more sway in international affairs.

Yes, the EU can seem a little bureaucratic and autocratic, but they are dedicated to creating a peaceful world order within a standardized regulatory environment centred around global trade. Unless you just arrived from Mars, you’ve got to like that.

For its part, the UK can seem a little disorganized and even frantic at times, but forced to become all it can and should be via the Brexit change-up, it should emerge as a calmer and more mature country that happens to be attached to a large Commonwealth bloc of 2.5 billion citizens.

If managed properly, Brexit will move the UK and the EU relationship one order of magnitude forward — instead of the present situation where the EU is holding the UK back from fulfilling its best destiny and the United Kingdom appears as a thorn in the side of continental European plans.


Time for the UK and the EU to Write Their ‘Best Possible Relationship’ List

Yes, let’s get Brexit over and done with as soon as possible so we can get onto the far more important work of deciding how to maximize European clout in the world and then working together within a permanent pan-European institution set-up for that purpose, figure out how to best work together for mutual economic benefit, and how best to share the overwhelming number of obligations that are owed by developed nations to developing nations.

Things evolve over time. But just because they evolve, doesn’t mean that those things are the best they can be. It simply means that evolution has occurred.

For example, no modern city planner would’ve located Athens where it is now. It’s impossible to defend militarily (in our modern era) it suffers from lack of rainfall+water shortages, it’s hellishly hot in the summer, and it sits atop a major earthquake fault system. Yet, the city evolved and both its residents and the city government have made the best of it.

But it would have been far better for everyone if Athens had been located near the cities of Ioannina or Arta in Greece, where the city of Athens could’ve prospered a 100-times more than it has in its present location.

Likewise, now is the time to draw up what could’ve been all along and work towards what it still could be with the right vision, leadership, and management.

Rather than a splintering Europe that is getting weaker and less goal-directed as time rolls forward, Brexit offers the opportunity to make Europe work better for all its citizens and to strengthen the pan-European worldview — starting with a clean sheet that allows the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Greenland to succeed as never before!