Saturday, June 22, 2024

Tories have fallen for the Silicon Valley fantasy hook, line and sinker

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Dyson turned over £7.1bn last year, is admired the world over, and is currently growing faster than Google. Only a little faster admittedly, but at 9pc it’s going at a healthy clip.

Renishaw began life specifically to solve a problem with Concorde’s Olympus engines, and has grown into a world-class company: nobody does precision measurement quite as well. A Questor stock tip, the firm is worth over £3bn.

There’s no shortage of British technology brains generating wealth at Bamford or Rolls-Royce. Or at Oxford Instruments, whose late founder, Sir Martin Wood, invented the astonishing superconducting magnets that would eventually make MRI scanners possible.

Or at Airbus’s space division, once GEC Advanced Electronics, which designed and built the Philae spacecraft that landed on a comet. This is all British technology, and it even flourishes in places we don’t expect. “Our industrial estates are now the true cathedrals of wealth creation,” I explained recently.

No one disputes that these are all technology companies – what else would you say they do? – solving the very hardest technological problems. But what Silicon Valley has achieved is to redefine and degrade the word “technology” so that it largely refers to internet companies, very much like its own.

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