Thursday, 13 April 2017 - I have just invested in a new P2P lending site

related posts on P2P lending

Place for comments on the P2P independent forum for now

author's advert for vegan shoes on-line

Primstox logo copied for a review of
Just invested a few tenners in , a P2P lending outfit that has trappings of sanity like a nice web site. It has very high annual percentage payback rates on very small short-term investments if all goes well, and next to no references from other web pages. Given the first two points, I decided to invest about £100 yesterday, and write this referring page which I revise now and then.

The Primstox contract + , a brochure, or ask customerservice@...

Investers have a right to a parcel of food on default

The firm finances food for investors, and, being a P2P platform, investors own the food. Other P2P systems are a bit theoretical about this, but not Primestox, where it is a point of pride and and spelt-out in some detail, with inevitable gaps. The food is financed over about three months during manufacture, sale to a shop, and payment back to the manufacturer. Each investor owns the right to an individual parcel of food, with free delivery, if the process goes wrong. A pound of flesh for example. The food is branded, upmarket, and valued at a near-retail price somewhere like Waitrose.

The next bit of this section is a guess. None of this has happened yet.

I guess that food companies want good publicity from their borrowing, and will do a lot to avoid defaulting on the loan if they can pay, but these things happen.

"the situation could arise that he [sic] could not pay. In that case you continue to hold title to the the product until it is sold. You also have the option of requesting that the product be sent to you or a location you specify - at no additional cost. " - FAQ

An online vote, run by, allows other investors to out-vote you on the best option, but I guess that a vote would allow some people to take the stock and others to hold-on for repayment or accept an offer. If the borrower is still in business and half solvent, I imagine that they want to pay later for the food that will sell, rather than return all of it. There are degrees of mess-up, from late-payment to late payment under legal threat to receivership to wind-up and non-existence, and I suppose that nobody wants to work down the list if they can stay at the first stages.

If the borrower can't pay later, then maybe they can organise a clearance price for investors who don't want all the food delivered. I am guessing wildly here, because none of this has happened. With luck, one of the lenders might organise an option of very cheap sale if the borrower doesn't. allow you to do something similar by opening an account and try to sell surplus food on a free small ad via an 18% escrow service. Takestock's details are further down the page. If 18% for an escrow service sounds high, you can see what other links I have found at the bottom of the page as well, but none says "we pay near retail price at somewhere like Waitrose for an upmarket brand". They all look a bit clearance-ey.

Getting back to Primstox, their contract does
- not say that Primestox will use their commission money to pay for deliveries
- not say that Primestox invest in every loan and so lack incentive to flog dud ones
- not say that Primestox will run an ecommerce site or help any lender who does so, selling surplus food to other investers. There is ebay-like free software available that might help them do something like this - I imagine that other investers are a sympathetic market for the one or two who have a tonne of soup on the doorstep. I imagine that Primestox do invest in loans at this stage, just to try to balance lenders and borrowers, but that they have to learn from experience what loans work. So after a default, in the worst case, you have invested far too much, and more food than you want to eat is plonked on your doorstep..
  • If you have anything to do with catering you might find other uses.
    If you need contacts in catering, you might use the app that connects restaurants and their surplus food and customers who want cheap deals, you might already have a restaurant contact who might help. The app called Toogoodtogo gets mixed reviews and hasn't downloaded yet on my phone, or ipad, but it could put you in touch with restaurant managers who are open to ideas.
    - dish of the day
    - special offer by the restaurant to bargain-hunters who use the app for that restaurant.

  • If you have anything to do with food sales, an idea might come to mind like...
    - special offer food by a shop counter.
    Maybe your newsagent would borrow some food, and give you a credit note for 50p per jar sold for you to spend on other newsagent stock.

  • If you have nothing to do with food sales, but want to start, membership is free.
    - free small ad and escrow service that charges  you 18% on any offer you accept

  • If you plan to eat it the food, another freezer might help if you have space. Chest freezers are efficient apparently. includes ads on sites like ebay and gumtree. Local searches are most likely and you might even find a free one on Trashnothing, or join the same site to give some food away. An app called Olio comes-up on search engine results, specifically for giving food to neighbours if they happen to have the same app. Maybe someone will offer you an apple crumble two miles away once you subscribe.
  • I don't know much about those food bank collection points that you see in places like supermarkets. There are a few sites on search engines for locating organisations and collection vans that can use food. I suppose that a one-off donor of a freezer-load needs some scale between the nearest collection-point and the agency that can send a van. This list covers foodbanks, who might help.

My first two or three investments...

  • £30 for 16 x ¼ litre fruit juice, cold-pressed @ £15 a litre.
  • £20 for 20 x 60g fruit energy bars @ £16.66 a kilo. For comparison, ClearanceXL tries to sell 60g fruit energy bars at a quarter the price - four for a pound plus delivery. If they were buying they'd want to pay - what? - 10p a bar sale or return for some minimum amount?
  • £20 for 200g of vanilla paste @ £100 a kilo
  • £25 for 10 x 200g pots of fermented pickle @ £12.50 a kilo. This is usually home-made or sold in wholefood markets apparently.
  • £20 for 10 x 500g packs of frozen chips, sweet potato, battered @ £4 a kilo. MySupermarket shows a few shops selling sweet potato crisps, with the smaller packs or upmarket brands around £4 a kilo while typical prices are £2.60 or less on special offer or under £2 at Aldi. Waitrose sells these battered ones at £5.60 a kilo. The same brand has some crisps at ClearanceXL (see below) but I get this wrong at first glance - they are crisps and not these chips.

Incentives for lenders

  • Cashback

    If you buy the food in a shop, borrowers might offer a cashback deal, should you be organised enough to keep the receipt and send it in.
  • Food is delivered to you if the borrower can't pay

    For investments of a few tenners, the value is in the flutter. It's a nice thought that a parcel of food might turn-up one day. For investments of two or three hundred pounds, it's trickier.
    Nobody knows the risk of this happening - whether one in twenty or one in a hundred
    Nobody knows the risk of this happening with no other options to take, even bad ones.
  • High interest

    There is interest of one or two pounds on the sizes of investment I've described and a three month loan, but there is a tick box you can tick to invest a lot more. One or two pounds is a lot of ten or twenty pounds, for a three month loan. The annual percentage rates are high. In comparison Investly invoice finance pays around 10-15% to lenders on an auto-lend system: the loans are only a month, but your cash is re-lent automatically to the next one.

Incentives for borrowers

This is the tricky bit. The brochure gives an example like 9% over three months, not 9% per year, on £3,000. Assuming the commission and hassle bring the cost up to 10% that's £300, and some deals are larger amounts at higher rates of interest. Why do it?
  • Investly P2P invoice finance can cover part of the loan over time

    Investly is a P2P site where lenders lend the value of an invoice not yet paid. Borrowers and interest rates come-and-go: the UK part of their market is small, like Primestox. A London peanut butter manufacturer selling a special mix to a chain store got a months' credit at 10% annual equivalent; other borrowers get loans in the low teens or even 20%.

    The peanut butter loan was not secured on peanut butter. If either side somehow messes-up - either the shop or the supplier - then the loan is backed by the supplier's personal guarantee. Called-in for payment, this could be a distraction that causes stress and legal costs all round rather than paying-back the lenders, so a borrower that is short of credit might use Primestox for all of a loan, while another borrower might use some combination of Primstox and Investly.

    If the invoice has not yet been agreed, there is no loan; it is only for a month between sending an invoice to the shop and getting paid. Assuming the shop doesn't want to pay before production, that leaves a lot of ingredients and work to finance, even before sending the food and the invoice. So invoice finance just competes with the last month or so of the three-month cycle that Primestox typically finances.

    Primstox' one press mention, in Informita New, December 2016, says that there aren't many stock or inventory finance companies - "there are some out there who have had limited success, but none have hit the market in a bit way", so the niche-within-a-niche of the "perishable" could do with a specialist P2P firm.
  • Promoting the food, retail, wholesale, the brand in the background

    As borrower, P2P borrowing makes your business public to a few dozen people on each platform who become interested in your brand; an overdraft is a secret between you and the bank. It's a kind of civic duty to find alternatives to banks at the moment, but for a businesses interested in food, I suppose it is the public side of the deal that attracts.

    There are also some random overdraft rates and refusals given by banks to businesses; this kind of thing doesn't count as a secured loan. Banks are obviously short of money. They have asked government for bail-outs. They are likely to pull-out of parts of the market or make ridiculously expensive lending offers. Maybe some borrowers have a row with the bank manager and throw something.

    The P2P platform tries to sell lending offer as a way of promoting the brand as well as borrowing money, for example with the cash-back offer that encourages lenders to go and buy the food.

    "From the manufacturers perspective this will finance inventory and drive sales to consumers. A positive double whammy! ", says a review in Informatia.

    Lenders are called "friends", and if they don't use the cash-back offer to buy the food, they still have some incentive to remember it. They might mention the food to people or at least give it away to neighbours if any of it is plonked on their doorstep. Some of them may be bloggers or tweeters or chatterboxes or dinner hosts or potential stockists. They might offer the cash-back deal to to someone else. They also have an incentive to fund small amounts, simply because of the risk of plonking, so there are a more plonkees per batch of food than lenders per loan on other P2P sites - it's more like crowd-funding. Thirty six is a common number according to the web site, but in future there could be more per deal.
  • Promoting the food for clearance wholesale

    This is un-tested, but from a food producers' point of view it might be good to be known to a lot of foodies, just in case one of them can offer a good price for specialised food near its sell-by date. Maybe one is a shopkeeper who will try selling the stuff and order some more when it runs-out. My search of twitter mentions reveals a physics teacher and a P2P lending enthusiast who is keen on bitcoin. I am a P2P enthusiast too. Maybe some of the other few dozen investors are foodies or will be, because each food industry borrower tends to promote the platform and I imagine that food industry people will come-along.
  • Formal way for informal contacts to lend

    If a food producer has relatives, regular customers, or any kinds of contacts who want to take a flutter, this provides a formal way that they can do it without having to think about legalities. The producer just puts-up a poster for Primestox. The customer sees the url, logs-on, and takes a punt
  • Novelty

    I guess this is the weak point in the idea, but no reason not to enjoy it while it lasts. Other platforms like Rebuildingsociety and Thincats had ridiculously high rates of interest on offer when they started, which gradually dropped in an auction system. The system is to fix an interest rate and use an auction-like system to fill the loan, but they'll most likely experiment with lower interest rates if they can.

Background to the company

There are practically no references to the site on other sources. It looks more polished and sane than some sites that do things like bitcoin lending, or my own shoe shop that you should try, but less referenced from anywhere else. The borrowers are food businesses with web sites linked. is the company. The check-business site would drop a couple of tiny hints from an Equifax report if there was anything to say, but there isn't - the business is too new. The Companies House entry doesn't state much more - just a links to West London from previous employers that's confirmed from the director's facebook page and choice of software engineer, so it looks UK-based. There are three shareholders and one of them seems busy employed in South Africa; only one is an "officer" on the Companies House form. The postal contact is the first floor above Starbucks in London's Oxford Street, which looks an expensive place to work or even hire a forwarding address. The floor was just recently let, after asking for offers over £75.69 a square foot for £55 rent and £17.91 rates. It's the registered office for 23 limited companies and an accountant - BG Partnership. Linked-in profiles mention some people related. There is no mention on P2Pmoney yet; I added a post on P2P independent forum. If the whole lot turned-out to be a fantasy that someone had made-up, my excuse for lending would be to say that it was still convincing enough to be worth a flutter.

The software looks a like crowd-funding software, which can be had for free. I don't know if it is but if there is one free open source piece of software, there will probably be others, cheap or free, and this company has used something similar-looking for the new purpose of P2P lending, which is otherwise expensive to get going, I think, for lack of free software. I don't know if this is unusual - it's good to see that it can be done. The company paid Alex Panichi, user interface web designer who answered an upmarket job ad and "worked to improved various steps in the user journeys. The user interface has been enhanced and refined. There has been lots of sketching, wire framing and hundreds of iterations to de-clutter the interface. In fact, the main challenge was to show the most relevant information to the user at each stage" So, £200 an hour for several evenings and weekends doing iterations on a general theme is a few thousand pounds, but not bad.

blog background

Written as a hobby and to promote for vegan shoes online - an online vegan shoe shop selling boots belts and jackets mainly made in the UK

Selling food on classifieds sites - ebay and the rest tend not to sell food

Neither site has replied to my attempts to sign-up last week. but it turns-out that I have a log-on for that allows selling! The site doesn't have a huge amount on it, with a lot of the guide prices well over supermarket basics prices per kilo. People use it to advertise sales to new customers, I guess, rather than for regular turnover. classifieds - allowed login

  • Buy from their advertisers - sign-up. It's a classifieds site for food. A photo and often a minimum order is available for each advert once you sign-up; guide prices are cheeky-high except for the odd overdate thing which is low.
  • Delivery - postcode or place name on each advert but no map or search-by-distance. Most offer to help with delivery. Some have a place name like "London" which helps searching; a lot are in north england or Norfolk for vegetables.

    There is a box for questions which is a good place to ask if the seller would use your favourite cheap courier such as Parcel2go's UPS shop-to-shop service for up to something like 20kg for not much money.
  • Sell to them - sign-up - they take the money via their bank account and take ? 18% +VAT if there is no dispute. 8% on fresh food.. Selling page recommends a low minimum order and to offer help with delivery.

other home retail

  • There are ecommerce add-ons for facebook, I think, which might be free. I don't know if facebook contacts would use them, but they might see the page and offer you cash. An idea for someone with a zillion facebook contacts.
  • Leaflet a hundred letterboxes with an explanation and half-price offer. Someone might be intreagued enough just to say hullo to a neighbour. Cheapest paper is from Wilko or supermarket basics. Cheapest ink is a CISS system on a printer or Epson Ecotank.
  • Flypitching, pop-up stalls, honesty boxes ... all a bit unfamiliar to buyers I think, who would pass-by to avoid being bothered, or assume the goods second-rate in some way. My aunt - do you know my aunt? - anyway she used to sell potted herbs in a market for the womens institute. They were cheaper than the garden centre but people were just programmed to buy them from the garden centre. Anyway, if you know my aunt, you are on to something.
  • Pop-up restaurants. There is something in this; I am not sure what
  • Buying from self-employed people like stallholders is a good habit to get into, in case one of them can suggest something if you are caught with a lot of stock. Easier if they know your face. classifieds - no login provided

  • Buy from their advertisers - it's a paypal system
  • Delivery - ads say things like "ships to Blackburn"
  • Sell to them - I've signed up, waiting for confirmation by email. No mention of commission yet. Still waiting for confirmation a few days later. classifieds - want £86 sign-up fee

  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery -
  • Sell to them - same

Selling to shops and wholesalers


  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - £17.50 minimum order and £6 delivery
  • Sell to them -

Clearance Wholesale

  • Buy from them - no web shop - Grimsby cash & carry
  • Delivery - apply for pallet deals
  • Sell to them -

ClearanceXL including

  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - - £5.25 most areas. Free collection by appointment in Sheffield S9
  • Sell to them - has the email address


  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - - £3-£5 or free over £40
  • Sell to them?


    • Buy from them - no web shop
    • Delivery - walk-in at Rotherham or Barnsley
    • Sell to them -

      Self Trading

      Not quite sure what this one is - it once bought a supermarket's stock. Found by googling "short dated food"

      SOS Wholesale

      • Buy from them - apply for an account or use the Derby cash and carry.
      • Delivery - apply
      • Sell to them -

      more unlikely stuff below this line, but worth a note from the same search -----------------------------------------------

      Bargain Outlet
      • Buy - discount shop in newkey and weston. Prices from 25p
      • Delivery - walk in, retail
      • Sell - "supermarkets get in touch"

      • Buy
      • Delivery
      • Sell - looking for regular producers; food is sorted by manufacturer

      • Buy- app links you to any local restaurants with closing-time bargains
      • Delivery - you need to link to a restaurant near you via the app
      • Sell - restaurants welcome. If you know a restaurant on the system, they might use the app to try to sell for you on commission.


      • Buy - aka Nifties
      • Delivery - Delivery - - £6 or £2 in Dover. Possibly a walk-in grocer in Dover too.
      • Sell? - probably not for specialised upmarket products by the look of them

      The Peoples Supermarket

      •  - no web ordering - £25 annual membership to work 4 hours a month and get 20% off
      • Lambs Conduit Street, North Central London


      • buy -
      • delivery -
      • sell - looking for regular batch producers not surplus stock - 18% charge
        Not trading C...a ran just for the end of 2016 and start of 2017 Foodbargains

          Tuesday, 21 March 2017

          Copydex Jointmaster instructions never used

          Maybe nobody has ever used Copydex Jointmaster instructions in the history of the world, but a few people might be interested to know what they said, now that bits of these kits turn-up in junk shops.
          Maybe someone can use these images to help put the things back into production if they were ever any good.

          Copydex Jointmaster box - fee inside, detaild plans for making two superb coffee tables

          Someone else's jointmaster pictures and comment.

          This blog is from someone who has never used a Jointmaster for anything, but does make belts by hand and sells vegan boots belts and shoes at an online shop called

          Optical character recognition without the photos:


          Adjustable Angle Bracket     page # 14
          Base of Jointmaster                 15
          Bench Stops                         15
          Buffer Pads                      4, 15
          Bridle Joint                         8
          Butt Joints 90
          °                      5
          Care of Saw                          4
          Closed Halving Joint                 7
          Depth Stop                          14
          Dovetail Joints, Tail           10, 11
          Dovetail Joints, Recess         11, 12
          Dovetail Halving Joints             12
          Dowels                              15
          Feather Cut                          9
          Half Lap Mitre                      10
          Joints, Examples                    13
          Lap Joint                         5, 6
          Marking Out                         16
          Mitre Joint                          9
          Open Halving, Joint               5, 6
          Saw Cuts, 90
          °                        5
          Saws, recommended types              4
          Saw Guide Springs                   15
          Saw Guide Pillars                   16
          Selector Head                       14
          Spare Parts List                    17
          Tenons, Cutting                      5
          Waste Removal                       16
          Wedge, use of                       14
          Notes for left-handed users         17

          General hints on sawing and use of Jointmaster


          • Always allow the saw to follow the guides — do not try to control its direction and do not use too much downward pressure.
          • Move the saw backwards and forwards within the guides taking a LIGHT cut on each forward stroke.
          • Take particular care not to overstroke and cause the saw to leave the guides, (the less you try to influence the saw the better the results are likely to be).
          • A well sharpened saw requires little or no downward pressure. If, after a few trial cuts, an accurate saw cut is not obtained check the SAW. A saw with blunt or badly set teeth, or a saw with a twisted or bent blade, will never cut squarely and cleanly. If necessary, have the saw teeth sharpened or reset. However, avoid too great a set on the teeth.
          • If there is an initial jerkiness in the action of the saw, check the setting of the teeth. Jerky saw action is usually the result of an over coarse set of the teeth and light honing with an oil stone, across the side of the teeth tips, should level these cutting points and provide a steady, easy and clean cutting operation.
          • It is advisable to practice easy joints to get the feel of the Jointmaster before tackling major tasks.
          • NOTE: Unless the wood being used is straight and has a 90° end cross section, completely accurate joints are impossible.


          • Either a 12" tenon or back saw with a blade at least 3" deep; or a 22" hand saw with nine teeth per inch having small set on teeth.
          • If the blade of the saw is not deep enough to reach required cut, raise workpiece on a flat parallel wooden packing strip (this will also avoid cutting into buffer pad).


          • The Jointmaster is designed to take up to 4" x 2" (10cm x 5cm) for 90" cuts and up to 2" x 2" (5cm x 5cm) for 45(' cuts.
          • Keep jig free from sawdust and check that dowels are fully seated in tapered holes and that buffer pads are flush with or below surface of base. Also check that laminate face of saw guides is adhered firmly in position.
          • A range of angles other than 90° and 45° can easily be cut by positioning a dowel pin in selected degree marked hole at rear of jig. Normal cutting procedure applies.

          Securing the Jointmaster on working surface
          The jig can be secured either permanently by screwing it on to the workbench or temporarily by the use of bench stops. Bench stops should be inserted into the holes at the base of the jig.

          Insert dowel in the left hand 90
          ° hole. Place wood against dowel and face of rear saw guide pillars. Saw through wood for 90° cut.

          1 Place first part piece of wood on right side of jig. Slide adjustable angle bracket forward so that it lightly holds wood against the right side of the guide pillars. Tighten thumbscrew and remove wood.

          BRIDLE JOINT

          The 1st part or male section of the join is made using the adjustable angle bracket and 'C' blade of the selector head in precisely the same way as used for the closed halving joint. With the bridle joint, however, the saw cuts are made on each side of the wood to one-third of the thickness.

          1 Gauge the width of the 2nd part by inserting in the adjustable angle bracket.
          2 Mark wood to show one-third depth.
          3 Cut the two sides of the recess on the first side of the 1st part, using 'C' selector head blade.

          It will be found helpful after cutting the recess in one side to turn the wood 90° (i.e. onto its side) and then to insert the 'C' selector head blade into the edge of saw cut. The saw is then used to mark the position of the recess on the other side. The wood is turned a further 90' and the second recess is cut to one-third depth.

          4 Remove waste (see page 16). The 2nd part (femalel is made by sawing vertically on the front saw guide pillar.

          5 Having marked the end of the wood to show the one-third depth, position the wood vertically against the front saw guide pillar with the end approximately 1" below the top of the saw guide pillar.

          6 Hold the wood in position with a G-clamp and align under saw (spring will hold saw in suspended position) using a square to ensure 90° against the base of the jig. Note: the saw cut or ken must be on the`waste'side of the line showing the width of the slot to be cut.

          7 Saw to required depth.

          8 Remove waste, initially with a drill and finally with a sharp chisel.

          p #8

          MITRE JOINTS

          The Jointmaster has unique advantages over the conventional mitre box in that the wood is moved and the saw is always used in the same direction.

          A dowel is inserted in the appropriate 45° hole and the wood to be cut is laid against it and the rear saw pillar, as illustrated. Precise positioning of the cut is ensured by lining the wood up under the saw, held in the suspended position by the saw guide springs Before sawing, it will be found helpful to use the wedge for holding the wood firmly in the required position. A dowel is inserted into any convenient hole with the wedge pressed between it and the wood to be cut (see illustration).

          An alternative method of cutting accurate mitres is to place dowels in each of the two holes immediately in front of the rear saw guide pillar. A large mitre dowel should be placed in the right hole. For opposite cuts, the mitre dowel should be placed in the left hole. An additional dowel is placed in one of the forward 45' holes. When using this method the wood must be cut first at 90°. It is then placed with the 90° cut end into the two adjacent dowels and against the inside of the 451 front dowel. A feather cut is then easily achieved. This method is very helpful when cutting picture frames since the sides of the frame can be cut first at 90° to the exact length required. If a short piece of wood is to be cut, use the central 45° position for exact control.

          p #9
          HALF LAP MITRE
          DOVETAIL JOINTS for the tail

          1 Cut an open halving joint on the 1st part, following the instructions on page 5.
          1 Cut wood off at 90
          2 Place two dowels in the two adjacent holes immediately in front of the rear saw guide pillar; the large mitre dowel going into the right hand hole and a dowel in the appropriate front 45
          ° hole.
          3 Place the wood with the open halving joint against the two adjacent dowels with the wood against the 45' dowel.
          4 Make a feather cut to produce a 45" angle on the open tenon.
          5 For the 2nd part, cut off the wood at a 90' angle
          6 Place the wood with the cut 90 end against the two dowels inserted in the adjacent holes in front of the rear saw pillar, and against the appropriate 45' front dowel.
          7 Make a feathercut to half the thickness of the wood.
          8 Remove waste with a sharp chisel.

          2 Use wedge to mark the angle of the tail on both faces of the wood, as illustrated. It will be found helpful to lay the edge of the wood and the wedge on a flat surface to control the pencil line.
          3 Reverse wood and draw the second line (see illustration).

          p #10
          4 To gauge length of tail required, place 2nd part in which the recess is to be cut on the right side of the jig, sliding the adjustable angle bracket forward so that it lightly holds the wood against the right side of the saw guide pillars.
          5 Tighten thumbscrew and remove the wood.
          6 Insert dowel in the 90
          °, hole; and place the selector head on the adjustable angle bracket with the'T blade facing you, blade downwards.
          7 Place wood against the 90° dowel, with the cut end against the 'T' face of the selector head.
          8 Make saw cut down to the line showing the depth of the tail shoulder.
          9 Reverse wood and make a second cut to the depth of the tail shoulder. If several tails are to be made, the depth stop should now be set.
          10 Place the or blade of the selector head into the slot in the wedge, and press the blade down so that the top of the blade is just below the blunt end of the wedge.
          11 Move the adjustable angle bracket to the front channel.
          12 Place the selector head, complete with the fitted wedge, on the adjustable angle bracket — adjusted so that the left side of the wedge is approximately 1/8" from the laminated face of the left front saw guide.
          13 Place wood against the front saw guide pillar with the top of the wood in line with the top of the wedge. Use a G-clamp to hold firmly in position and saw out waste down to the shoulder saw cut. Note: the saw cut must be on the waste side of the line.
          14 Loosen G-clamp, rotate wood 180°, and re-position to cut second side of tail down to shoulder.

          p #11
          FOR THE RECESS

          1 Using the dovetail, mark the depth of recess required.
          2 Insert dowel in 90
          ° hole. Place wedge against 90° dowel and left rear saw guide pillar, with the thick end of the wedge against the saw guide pillar.
          3 Place wood against wedge and position so that the saw makes the right hand saw cut. The cut must be made on the waste side of the line showing the recess.
          4 Saw down to the depth required for the tail.
          5 The left hand saw cut line is now marked on wood, taking care to ensure tight fit.
          6 Replace wedge so that the thick end is against the 90
          ° dowel.
          7 Move the wood to the right and align under the saw held bythe guide springs to cut the fell hand side of the recess. The saw cut must be made on the waste side of this line.
          8 Remove waste from the recess with a chisel.

          1 Make the tail, following instructions on page 10.
          2 Cut away half the thickness of the tail using a 90° dowel and rear saw guide pillar.
          3 Make recess to required depth, following instruc-tions on this page.

          p #12
          These are some of the joints you can make with the Jointmaster

          Dovetail Halving

          Housing Halved

          Cross Halving

          Mitre with Half Lap

          Corner Halving

          p #13
          General use of Jig and Accesssories

          The wedge provided is cut at an angle of 8;. It is primarily intended for the sawing of dovetails (see page 10). It will also be found useful (together with a packing strip when necessary) for clamping the wood during sawing or when the jig is used as a glueing frame. Any convenient dowel hole (marked 451 can be used. There is, however. an extra dowel hole for clamping purposes on each side of the central rectangular slot between the two saw guide pillars.

          DEPTH STOP
          PLASTIC NUT AND GUIDE N. : r
          TENON SAW RIB
          PLASTIC HEAD
          TENON SAW

          Usage: When making a number of similar joints, consider-able saving of time can be achieved by using the depth stop. This stop when set and used with a tenon saw (or similar saw with a ribbed back) limits the downward travel of the saw. It is usual to fix the depth stop in the guide column A, furthest from the operator. In this way the depth stop when correctly set will take care of the depth of cut on the hidden face of the work, whilst the operator can ensure parallelism of cut bycontrolling the depth of cut on the "visual" side of the work Note: Care should be taken to make sure that the saw does not miss or override the depth stop. Use only the lightest downward pressure of the saw for best results. The depth stop can be removed without altering the depth setting and replaced to its original pos-ition as required. Take care when replacing the stop to ensure that the depth stop is correctly located.

          Insert the threaded portion of the screw into the groove behind the fixed saw guide strip. Make sure that the plastic spring nut is the correct way round and is resting on top of the guide column.
          Adjustment: A) Make a sawcut in a workpiece to the required depth using a tenon saw with a ribbed back edge and leave saw "balance" in the saw cut. B) Rest plastic nut of depth stop on top of guide column and adjust height of the depth stop by rotating the screw in the plastic nut until the top of the cylindrical plastic head just touches the under-side of the saw rib. C) Sway the saw slightly to the right so that it de-presses the plastic springs then insert depth stop into the receiving hole in the guide column behind the saw guide. ID) Allow the saw to regain its normal position and check whether the plastic head of the depth stop rests correctly against the underside of the rib of the saw if not sway the saw to the right to make minor adjustments. E) Make a trial sawcut and check depth.
          SELECTOR HEAD AND ADJUSTABLE ANGLE BRACKET The selector head and adjustable angle bracket are used for automatically gauging the width of the 90
          ° joint recess. The selector head is designed to com-pensate for the width of the saw cut (kerf). The com-pensation for the saw cut is dependent upon the type of joint being constructed and the selector head is designed accordingly.

          THUMB SCREW


          p #14
          For open ended recesses, the selector head is used with the blade marked 'T facing towards you and with the tapered end of the blade downwards. When making closed joints, the selector head is used with the blade marked 'C' towards you again with the tapered end downwards. The adjustable angle bracket slides in a groove on the right side of the saw guide pillar and is held in the required position by a thumbscrew into the base. To remove the adjustable bracket, simply remove the thumbscrew from the jig. There are two positions where the angle bracket can be screwed down. For narrower pieces of wood the bracket should be screwed into the far right screw hole (not dowel hole), as illustrated earlier(a). Forwider pieces of wood the bracket should be turned 180
          ° and fixed to the left hand screw hole. The selector head has to then be repositioned as illustration (b). Note: the 'T blade of the selector head will be found useful as a length stop for short work, i.e. cutting dowels, etc. Normally, the adjustable angle bracket is fitted with the upright towards the saw guide pillar. Additional length can be obtained by re-fitting the adjustable angle bracket in the groove with the upright portion away from the saw guide pillar.

          BUFFER PADS Two reinforced nylon buffer pads are fitted on the sawing line between the two saw guide pillars. These buffer pads are designed to protect the saw if the user inadvertently continues the sawing action when the saw cut has been completed and can be rotated to maintain this protection. They can also be replaced or re-positioned by inserting a probe through the corres-ponding hole in the underside of the base plate. Note: the base plate is diecast from Mazak (a zinc alloy). If the saw should strike the base plate, damage to the saw teeth will be minimal.

          THE DOWELS There are three types of dowels, all illustrated on Page 3 . These fall into the following categories: — Bench stops — Ordinary dowels (tapered) — Mitre dowels (for use with mitre joints). These are precision made from reinforced nylon. The taper on the dowel matches the taper of the holes in the base of the Jointmaster. This self-seating taper ensures an accurate vertical fit but some pressure is advisable to seat the dowel fully. If excessive pressure is used, the dowels can be removed easily by a blunt rod through the corresponding hole in the underside of the base.

          BENCH STOPS Two tapered holes in the front of the base of the jig are provided. By inserting a dowel in each of these holes the Jointmaster can be held firmly against the edge of a bench or table.

          THE BASE The base of the Jointmaster is a precision die casting. The tapered holes into which the dowels are inserted are each marked to show the angle that each will produce. Unlike the traditional mitre box, the Jointmaster allows the saw to be used in the same direction always. The wood is moved to the required angle and therefore control of the saw isalways maintained regardlessof theangle of cut. To maintain the accuracy of the Jointmaster, some care must be taken to remove sawdust as it accumu-lates: the wood needs to be placed accurately against the saw guide pillar, and the dowels seated firmly into their tapered holes.

          SAW GUIDE SPRING RETAINING ENLARGED --:- BOLT CURVE DOWN WHEN FITTING It7 A special reinforced nylon spring is fitted to each of the Right Hand saw guide pillars. These springs assist in holding the saw upright against the saw guide faces. The springs also allow the saw to be suspended above the wood to ensure very accurate positioning of the wood before the saw cut is commenced. Each saw guide spring is held in position by a screw through the side of the saw guide pillar. The springs can be replaced when necessary (see sketch) — the spring leaf should be curved downward. To insert the saw blade between the guide springs and the saw guide face, keep the saw blade vertical and apply a light pressure to the saw against the guides. This will compress the springs and so open a gap allowing the saw to slide downwards. When the guides are new the initial rate of wear may seem excessive but this wear will progressively reduce as the jig becomes "run in".


          p #15
          General use of Jig and Accesssories
          SAW GUIDE PILLARS The sawing face on the inside of each Left Hand guide pillar is protected by a wear-resistant laminate, and is held in position. Should they eventually wear, however, they can be replaced (see sketch).

          The saw guide pillars a e designed to fit correctly into the base and are held in position by bolts. Always ensure that these bolts are secure.
          MARKING OUT (90° Crosscut Joints, etc.)

          As the jig has automatic setting, it is not usually necessary to mark out, in detail the joint which you are to make apart from: a) The position of the joint along the length of the workpiece — this can be as little as the position of the right hand edge of the joint only. b) The depth of the joint i.e. the depth to which the saw-cuts are to be made. Item (a) above requires only a rule or other simple means of determining a position.
          Item (b). The depth of the joint recess can be marked out by measurement or alternatively the position can be marked out using the marking on the 8" wedge. Viz. (1) Select a position on the workpiece adjacent to the joint, and make sure the edges of the workpiece are square. (2) Place the wedge diagonally across the work-piece such that the two lines (shown Nos. 1 and 5 in the diagram) are opposite the edges of the workpiece. THIS IS IMPORTANT
          Line 3 will show the point of half thickness. Lines 2 and 4 show the points of a third thickness. Other marking out is described where necessary against the specific joint instructions. It is advisable to mark the joint depth on both opposite faces of the workpiece so that the parallelity of the sawcuts can be checked.

          Method 1. Using a wood chisel. This is the conventional method which is shown in numerous woodworking books and magazines.
          Method 2. Make additional sawcuts at approximately 1/4" spacings from the limited sawcuts. Make use of the Depth Stop to be sure not to make the sawcut deeper than the finished joint. Place a screwdriver or similar shaped lever to the bottom of the middle intermediate sawcut (as sketch). Gently lever and remove the cut section. Repeat along the length of Joint. Clean up bottom with a rasp or chisel. Note: When using this method make the section at the ends as thin as possible and slightly under depth. This will help to create a clean edge and avoid breaking away the good material.

          p #16
          There are two methods of cutting mitre joints (see section on Mitre Joints, page 9). Left-handed users may prefer to follow the instruc-tions below for some common joints. 45 Mitres
          a) Place dowels in position, placing the wider one in the left hole. Place wood in position, holding it firmly against the dowel placed in the front right hand 45' hole. Proceed to saw. Mitre Joints
          b) Insert dowel in top right hand corner. Lay wood against dowel and the rear saw pillar. Before sawing, it will be found helpful to use the wedge for holding the wood firmly in the required position. A dowel is inserted into any convenient hole with the wedge pressed between it and the wood to be cut. 90
          ° Cuts Insert dowel in right hand 90° hole. Place wood against dowel and face of rear saw guide pillars. Proceed to saw. Closed halving joints The procedure for closed halving joints is the same as detailed in body of this booklet, except that instead of using the left hand 90° dowel position, the right hand 90° should be used, with the wood placed firmly against the rear saw guide pillars and the dowel.

          SPARE PARTS SERVICE PRICE LIST (1st October 1981) FOR U.K. AND EIRE ONLY (Prices for Overseas on request)
          Ref. No. JM 201/3 JM 202/3 JM 203/3 JM 204/3
          JM 205/3 JM 206/3 JM 207/3 JM 208/3 JM 209/3 JM 210/3
          JM 211/3
          JM 212/3
          Angle Bracket Buffers Pads Depth Stop 4 Tapered dowels, 2 Bench stops, 1 Mitre dowel Saw Guide Laminate Saw Guide Spring Selector Head Thumbscrew Wedge Saw Guide Pillars complete 1 pillar with laminate & retaining bolt, 1 pillar with spring & retaining bolt. Saw Guide Pillars complete set of 4 Rubber Feet
          Price incl. of. VAT 45p each 35p per pack of 4 35p per pack of 2 57p per pack of 7
          35p per pack of 4 • 45p per pack of 4 45p each 35p per pack of 2 35p each
          £1.72 per pair
          £3.10 (2 of each) £0.07 per pack of 4
          When ordering spare parts please provide a list of your requirements quoting ref. nos. together with clear details of your name and address for use as label and cheque or postal order to the value as listed above. Additional stamps for postage are NOT required.
          Please address all correspondence to: Consumer Services Department Copydex Limited, 1 Torquay Street, London W2 5EL
          p #17
          (Copydex merged into a larger firm later-on and dropped the Jointmaster product)

          Tiled Table - 4 pages

          Matching Tables - 4 pages

          Shelf Unit - 4 pages

          Tuesday, 28 February 2017

          1980s recession

          Related: Bad Economics Teaching for the twenty-teens from data on Unistats, 2015 Better Economics Teaching: some off-the-cuff suggestions based on being a 1980s student The British Economic Crisis - a similar book to Robert Peston written in the 80s - Star Courses: the least satisfied, most bored and lowest paid UK graduates, written 2015 Boring Economics Teaching is interesting: how someone managed to teach economics from memories of an old textbook at the peak of the worst recession since the 1930s, and tried to cover-up for government causing the recession. Journal Articles by Professor Les Fishman - unbelievable beliefs - 1980s recession explanations I wrote - UK unemployment 1980s from the Begg 1984 textbook

          1980s recession caused by deliberate government policy

          The 1984 Begg textbook says what caused the 1980s recession. It was caused by a policy of raising the value of the pound by tinkering with interest rates. As a result, export industries had to close. Begg was a teacher at Oxford Uni when he wrote his first textbook, and recent politicians like a prime minister and a shadow chancellor in the mid 20-teens were students on a PPE course there in the 80s, but said very little about the problem in the teens. As though they didn't know. The Bank of England had to explain to a treasury select committee how the system worked; a report with a neat flow diagram. The bottom line of arrows shows the rate of interest - that government can influence - effecting import prices. In other words it effects whether a lot of UK manufacturing has to close because of a deliberate government policy.

          I have a long blog post about being on a college economics course at the time, and imagined that someone might read it and simply not know what the economic problem was, so I started writing what came into my head, but for a proper read you could skip this and try The British Economic Crisis book quoted in full on another post.

          I guess something about the teaching of compact economics degree courses in 1984-7 left students like myself unaware of other students' views or anything like that - views roughly suggested by opinion polls, or views of people who wrote books, but we were rather sure of our own views alongside the crushing hopelessness of most economics teaching. I was rather sure on both points anyway, and the recent prime minister and shadow chancellor seemed un-troubled by facts. Like them, I had been to posh school with loads of essay-writing about things like the origin of the first world war and thought that I could have sorted it in a few sides of A4. The difficulty was that people with different views - people like Dave at Oxford - were just as confident. Boris Johnson is reported as writing two essays to himself, pro and anti EU, in order to help him decide on the strength of his own prose.

          The Times
          , my dad's old employer, reported that everything was wonderful in the UK and that is the view that's now recorded on TV and among pundits. Recent prime ministers, historians and such were at college at the time - they are in their early fifties now - and seem to believe that some kind of painful but useful reform happened in the 1980s. That's self-delusion based on ignorance and bad newspapers. Unemployment was caused by a Kamakazee economic policy that continued until 2009 with support from the three main Westminster parties.

          My dad sold advertising space for a few years for The Times and The Observer in the 1950s - he was the same age as Professor Fishman - and kept-up the newspaper subscriptions for ever. I got to know the newspaper habit of putting the paragraphs in order of importance: the proprietor's view at the top, and the contrary facts at the bottom of an article or said in a different way. The Times also noted graduate unemployment in a different way. It said that nearly all graduates from Trinity College Dublin had to emmigrate about that time, even though things were going so well. I remember the article, with a formal graduation picture - like a victorian sports team in dressing gowns - and a list of how few of the graduates remained in Ireland to find work. Ireland had a cheaper currency from 1979 so it missed the worst of the Thatcher recession, but shared the problem of trying to sell to a dole queue in the UK; everything in the UK was not wonderful. Even Micheal Gove, the politician, had a dad who wound-down a business in the early 80s but the Micheal Gove version of events is fiddled. Everybody seemed to have redundant or out-of-business parents.

          The Times' proprietor-top-of-the-page view is the one most recorded, for example in Daniel Sandford;s TV History "The 80s" Maybe he read The Times as well. Early 80s unemployment, in this history, was caused by privatisation of a big public sector, but that doesn't make sense except to people who believe blatently untrue things in economics text books written on a pattern set in the cold war. According to the textbooks, the UK was half way to East Europe in the share of GDP controlled by the "Command Economy". It follows, to Daniel Sandford, who studied history at a similar university further south about that time, that 80s unemployment was a bit like the East German unemployment that followed unification and attempts to close or reform firms like Skoda in East Germany. If you asked someone who was in a country like East Germany after unification, they'd probably recognise the process far better than anyone in the UK in the 1980s who just experienced a fiddled exchange rate, a flood of imports that closed all kinds of industry, and fiddles to reduce services we'd paid-for in taxes.


          Degrees of Market Orientation:: the role of the market in allocating resources differs vastly between countries. At one extreme, in the command economy, resources are allocated by central government planning. At the other extreme, in a free market economy, there is virtually no government regulation of the production, consumption and exchange of goods. In between lies the mixed economy where market forces play a large role but the government intervenes extensively.This is a strange point worth repeating. Textbooks like Samuelson contrast the market economies like the US with the state-run economies like the Soviet bloc at the time. What's stated is that the UK is half way between the two. Stated in a strangely blatent and serious way for such a misleading point. I googled "cold war economics teaching" to see whether this has changed now, and the first link that came-up suggests not; words like "social insurance" or "Social Democratic Party" would not fit the definition "Socialism is an economic system that features public (government) ownership and production of goods and services".

          The scan here is from my 1984 Begg textbook, written by a teacher at Oxford Uni where they have another short course in Economics, as part of the PPE degree done by so many wannabe politicians from David Cameron to Ed Balls. They both probably stared at exactly the same diagram. A few even went to ordinary colleges like Keele where Claire Short and Priti Patel studied, and looked at the same diagram or something just as misleading.

          There are no numbers next to the diagram, but if you take it as a measure of the percentage of GDP controlled by the state - say 50% in the UK at the time - then the picture has a false simplicity to it. Since the 1980s, much more work is contracted-out but public-funded. So still public sector in a way. Other bits are more regulated, like banking, but still private sector in a way. When I started at Keele, National Express Coaches was used to a monopoly on long routes given in hope that they would return the favour by running short routes as some kind of back-room deal. I'd bought tickets on a rival - the tiny Stagecoach service from London to Scotland - but they were small and new and obviously private. Later-on, the roles were reversed. Stagecoach had a skill at predatory under-pricing that far out-gunned the ability of rival bus commpanies or the monopolies and mergers commission, so they could just take-over a 'hood like gangsters. They were specially interested in bus companies that owned valuable bus stations, to be sold after take-over. In a way, the monopoly power transferred to them and they became something a bit like the public sector in the sense of being the establishment or the big organisation with unfair power.

          There are other services, called public sector on the statistics, that would have to be re-invented if the public sector didn't so them like compulsory insurance for sickness and unemployment. Every special case bamboozles everyone who isn't much intersted in it, and those who study the subject are not helped by the diagram above,

          If you have a look at and the names of the ministries, it's clear that UK government is a kind of big insurance company providing services that we might use at some points in our lives but not at others. There was no ministry of economic command. There was no slice in the spending pie-chart for "propping-up three million pointless jobs in nationalised industries to close in the early 80s". There is no Ministry of Economic Command to spend that budget. Simply not.

          This is a breakdown of spending in 2010

          This is a breakdown of spending in 1980

          As a big insurance company, the state can be more efficient than a private one, and it can also be more inefficient. This is one of the topics that economically-minded people discuss and it's a pity that economcis courses like this didn't promote discussion and evidence either way.

          A big public sector GDP can include a large number of payments made by a computer with few staff involved, paying a universal benefit like Child Benefit. The cost can be far lower than some private sector pension scheme like the one my dad tried to work for, which provided some pretty awful annuity deals to fund high sales & admin costs, and wouldn't be able to quote for providing child benefit or accident and emergency services, nor any services like school-fee schemes for the parents who can't pay.

          One difference between then and now is the proportion of taxes spent on debt repayment. In these area, the Thatcher government spent more than before. Most borrowers would seek the lowest rate at which to pay interest. I think Disreali was good at finding good advisors and someone knocked-up the idea of a government bond for him - or something like that (it's a long time since history O-level). Economists after 1979 added another constraint when advising governments: if the interest rate can be tweaked-up a little higher than other similar interest rates around the world, funds will tend to flood-in and raise the value of the pound, followed by cheap imports flooding-in and reducing inflation. The treatment has side-effects: higher public debt and demoralised survivers among a bust UK manufacturing industry, because manufacturers deal with international trade much more than the people who commentate like broadcasters and ministers and newspaper owners.

          An obvious difference between the 1980s and 20-teens is the amount of people on the dole. Broadly, a policy that puts people out of work will cost a lot in benefits, government schemes, and quite likely other services as well, so a government that is remembered for cutting subsidies to state industries is in fact one that increased demand for public services like benefits.

          A third difference is that there are pieces of the public sector that seemed a bit odd, even at the time, but the difference is not clear-cut. Nowadays the fiddles or the problems are PFI hospital buildings, or the the Palace of Westminster that funds staff to do pagentry but not mend the roof, or the nationalised banks. In the 1980s there were another lot, but not so very different. A strange example was that only gas and electricity boards were allowed to sell new cookers. You queued-up at their show-rooms and filled-in triplicate form to order one for you, then they would book one of their own qualified staff to plug it in when  it finally arrived. Nowadays the system has evolved: you go to a private shop, they order a cooker, and when it arrives you can get any Corgi-registered gas plumber to plug it in.

          The oddest thing then was a kind of trade war going-on between European countries subsidising over-capacity in their steel industries in kind of game, to find out which one would stop first, close steel works, and make the capacity in other countries more profitable. EU rules wouldn't alloow it now. Lastly, councils and ministries tended to own the organisations that provided services like schools and hospitals in a more clear-cut way than now, so more of GDP counted as public sector. Even so, the proportion of GDP that counts as public in the stats is still high; there was no wave of privatisations big enough to cause 1980s unempoyment.

          The Begg course textbook comes back to a similar point on other pages, but in a more detailed and rather opposite way. It says that UK government makes a lot of transfer payments to provide a lot of public services, rather than being half way to a command economy as on the scale above. It even quotes words like "national insurance". The textbook is funny like that; it puts conflicting points of view on different pages, like an encyclopedia.

          Talking of privatisation as a cause of three million people being unemployed, there were more jobs on state-owned or council-owned payrolls in 1979, or payrolls that were private but felt a bit like state. No one individual knows the status of all the organisations like the Welsh Water Authority of the Potato Marketing Board, the National Lottery, the BBC, The Cheese Bureau or Universities, that tend to feel a bit like the public sector even if they're private and vica versa. Even ministers and journalists don't know: they tend to assume that it's all part of government under the Merit Good heading.

          Anyway, there were not three million less jobs on taxpayer-funded payrolls in 1987 than 1979. I don't know how to research this but it seems too straightforward to be worth researching. Some of these jobs were transferred to privately-owned empoloyers who employed fewer people to do the same thing, One example is the electicity board shops that used to have a monopoly on selling new cookers, just as British Gas and elictricity boards had a monopoly on plugging them in. It was daft and jobs had to be lost, but someone still had to sell cookers one way or another, and there is still a Corgi licencing scheme to replace the old British Gas monopoly on plugging-in a gas cooker. Much of what changed was a rather fuedal way in which government worked, and made itself unpopular, by insisting that people outside of any state payroll could not plug-in a cooker, but the change was not quick and consisted of large public organisations becoming a state regulator and a large private organisation. There was a state-owned railway, but the Beeching cuts had already happened and a lot of the infrastructure - now Network Rail - remains in state hands after a brief attempt to be Railtrack PLC. I think the National Grid remains nationalised, and, as with electricity supply, the private part co-exists.

          Nationalised and slightly nationalised industry in 1979 - reminiscence

          My recollections of 1970s nationalised industry don't fit the story that privatisation caused 1980s unemployment. Nowhere near. Which is no reason not to write some reminiscences about large organisations trying to do things. so skip down a paragraph if you want to read the next thing. I write this because I enjoy reminiscence.

          Before the 1980s, as now, employers like banks or steel works or the odd car manufacturer had swung in or out of public ownership for reasons of policy or panic, but they behaved in fairly similar ways whoever owned the shares. The Chrysler Avenger was just as bad a car as the Morris Marina. Other firms in the private sector had tended to merge rather than invest. There was a trend towards the big and corporate and the nationalised and the council-run, which both political parties seemed to like and encourage.

          Car manufacturing is often quoted as an example of a nationalised industry at the time because everybody looked at cars on the street and even tried to mend cars on the street because the factories were new to cheap mass-production as were buyers, and the result was cars that fell apart. Less of the car industry was nationalised than current high street banks and, like them, it had other problems that had caused state intervention as a kind of short-term emergency treatment for the last remaining UK-owned conglomerate. The real state-run attempts to make cars were in East Europe and included a couple of models from Trabant, some Skodas and a car known in Poland that I'm told was known as "The Sock" for its shape and smell. Emmissions laws prevented The Sock and most of the others from being offered for sale in the UK. A delux model of the Trabant was offered for a while before emissions laws caught-up with it and sales ceased. The Skoda did OK, but  by the late 70s most Eastern-bloc manufacturers tried buying-in designs from Fiat instead, and using thicker steel so they didn't rust-through like my brother's Italian fiat 600.

          UK telephones were an odd bit of industry. I saw on TV that the Post Office controlled a little empire of other parts of the economy, including telephones, land, and a catering college, but not a lot of expertise in the new generation of digital phone systems. There was a digital scheme called a System X telephone exchange, but that was considered special. The organisation charged £15 a month or so for a landline, but that's the odd bit. It still does, and people still volunteer to pay that kind of amount to the mobile operators too instead of using pay as you go. And if someone reading this knows about the phone industry, I gues they'd say that a lot of low-tec analog infrastructure still exists; there were not a million people made redundant by the privatisation of British Telecom, how ever a good a video it makes on a TV history.

          UK car manufacturers still tried making their own models, but had run-out of petrol for the expensive bits of research and development and run-out of nous for having those ideas on the cheap as smaller firms sometimes do. They were like a 70s pomp rick group attempting the difficult 3rd LP. I saw somewhere the there is a firm that can make engines for Foumala 1 cars by cutting moulds out of very hard wood, and do it for some high number of thousands of pounds, but to develop an engine that scores well on comparison charts and avoids bad reputation costs millions - so much that manufacturers now club together to do it. In those days the conventional wisdom was to merge-together rather than club-together. Why one figure has so many more naughts on it than the other is a mystery and good subject for economists. Obviously a good result for something like petrol consumption or starting ability involves a lot of trial and error, but are the trial and error tream as good at nous and innovation as the people at Formula 1? Nobody knows.

          Jeremy Clarkson's brief interview with the designer of the Algro car went something like "do you like it?" "no" "was it a result of too many committee meetings?" "yes" "Do you want to drive it for the video?" "no". 1970s cars were OK for steering because they all shared a supplier for that, and somehow they did well on the new sheet metal chassis-less chassis, but other bits of research and development were kept in-house which meant not being done at all because of the cost. The Allegro was made in Belgium while the Marina and MG were made in the UK, but I guess they were all low in comparison charts for things like
          • engines good enough to start in cold weather & score well on comparison charts,
          • undercoat that stopped the chassis-less monocoque chassis rusting through
          • gear boxes that you would want to use as a sales rep driving every day
          (sales reps were a post war pointless industry; their cars counted as a business expense so most brand new cars sold to sales reps and then dads would buy them a year or two later)

          When you look at the dashboard of a 70s car - there is a Chyrsler Avenger in the National Motor Museum but few 70s cars survive in the wild - you see very scary silver paint and printed wood which scream "fake". (I guess: I have walked past that Chrysler Avenger but don't remember the dashboard.) If the car dashboards could talk they would say "I am a fake. You are a fake for choosing to buy me. Why don't we both just drive off beachy-head in a suicide pact together?" A slush-moulding technique allowed very detailed fake sewing to be moulded into plastic door panels as well, just to make fakery worse. Technology was used as the Blair governement later used technology for PR. And the cars had trouble starting in the morning. You had to fiddle with the choke on my parent's Ford Cortina while the evil engine went "he he he he he. HA HA HA HA HA. he he he he he".

          There is a web site somewhere that publishes how many cars or a type survive over time. I haven't got the link but it's good material for economists to prove what was obvious in the 1980s: some cars were slightly worse than others but not much worse.

          Something about the prople chosen to design new cars and car factories, their budgets or the fragmentation of some of their budgets and combinations of others, and the people who bought the cars and decided where the market went, and the structure of the pension and share-buying industry that provided only short-term investment - something was bad for research and development. I suppose you could say the same for political parties' relationships with votors, or tabloids relationships with their readers, then and now.

          <Digression on colleges>
          Digressing from cars to colleges for a second, there was a fault with the customers. They were new to car-buying. A lot were sales reps  looking for status in the car park. They looked for something classy, and the ranges of cars had a kind of class system with woodgrain veneer on the one you couldn't afford, all the way down to the one without a radio at the bottom of the range. They chose rather as people choose college places, looking for the classiest college, discovering that it's too selective, and working down the list from Oxford and Cambridge at the top to Burnley FE college's coaching for mail-order degrees at the bottom. When I chose a course, it was hard to find-out what was on the course and whether it was what I wished to study. Looking on the web, I see that newspapers still encourage people to choose by instutution rather than course, tweaking league table data to promote unpopular courses in popular institutions against popular courses in unpopular institutions. The differences between a course called "Economics" at one college and another one with the same name down the road are glossed-over altogether.
          </Digression on colleges>

          The Roots Group merged with Chrysler of Detroit that had the same problem, so neither side could help the other. There may be records of how long Chrysler Avengers lasted - probably less than ten years for a lot of them. I knew one still in circulation after ten years would emit a kind of blue smoke if driven faster than 60mph. Another UK car manufacturer was short of money for research and development and got a government bail-out. It produced the Morris Marina, likewise. 1970s and 1980s cars were a spectacle in themselves - the National Motor Museum in Coventry says that factories were new to competative, fast, cheap manufacturing and not every good at it. I'm sure that consumers were not very good at choosing cars either, getting more skilled through the 80s and 90s. TV remeniscences about Ford of Dagenham state how the jobs were organised in a madenning way for people who worked there. My own remeniscences were of patching-up my dad's Ford Cortina with plastic padding, sanded and covered with careful spray and T-cut to fill the rust-holes. Once the gear lever came-off in my dad's hand, revealing tarmac underneath. Morris Marinas were only slightly worse, but sufficiently worse that sales reps (who's employers got a tax rebate and were the only people to buy cars new) only bought Ford and Vauxhall; Chysler and Leyland's Austin and Morris brands were stop-gaps.

          UK coal mines were more what you'd imagine of the public sector. British Coal had been in the public sector for as long as NHS hospitals and the thing was run rather more like a ministry, with the benefit of cheap government loans to buy machines. It also had very cheap central accounts systems, rather like government: all pensions were paid-for out of the current account. If the payroll shrank in an area, that area showed a loss in later financial years because it still paid the pensions of previous generations of miners. Like a ministry, the National Coal Board had a head office near Whitehall - in Buckingham Palace Road alongside British Steel Corporation. I expect that was so that National Coal Board could sell coal to British Steel without having to pay delivery costs. There was probably a gateway between the two in the basement.

          The pruning theory - dead wood - green shoots of recovery

          The pruning-view came-up on Google just now, in the first half of a book synopsis published in the late 80s. The book was called Shaking The Iron Universe, apparently, and there is a link below, but it represents a common view among commentators.
          At the time, international trade had become a lot easier as the port of Felixtowe allowed cheap surface mail for container-sized parcels addressed to the kinds of firms that liked to pay suppliers after recieving money from customers, and could afford high rents in the new retail planning zones. I guess a bit here - I don't have evidence for every clause - but I did see on telly that supermarkets were able to pay suppliers after the retail customers paid the supermarket were a new thing - often based on the ring road with a favour given to the council for planning permission. I am really not sure what I'm saying here but the ideas are worth writing. There was anyway a hike to the value of sterling caused by North Sea Oil. Norway had similar oil but a different system. It put the new tax money in a fund. Maybe it avoided massive rises in the value of its currency. But in the UK, government tends to put all money into the current account and tends to think a high currency is good for no known reason.
          The book reports under-investment as over-staffing or low production per worker. These are close to being the same thing, but if you call it over-staffing then you can dream of a situation in which factories and jobs can close to encouge the others. Metaphors like "dead wood", "prune", and "green shoots of recovery" come to mind, specially if you read the Sunday Telegraph and watch Gardiner's World and are a core conservative supporter who might respond to this message..
          The cruel truth was that many of the companies that went out of business, and many of the managers who lost their jobs, got their just deserts. British industry was overmanned and in large part poorly managed. By the middle of 1981, the recession was already lifting, and company bosses - some newly in place, others terrified into action - realised something must be done. Throughout the Eighties, the quality of the manufacturing base improved greatly: proper financial controls were introduced, factories were overhauled, so were industrial relations. - Online Synopsis from The Independant of David Bowen's "Shaking the Iron Universe"
          The theory put in this book is that bad product lines like MG closed and that good ones like Morris Marina bounced-back revitalised. Bad Steelite closed. Good staffordshire figurines continued. Bad aluminium bicycle parts at GB Sport ceased production. Good cast-iron ones at Tube Investments stayed in production. Bad small computer firms like Acorn closed. Good computers like GEC's mainframe continued.

          I'm not convinced.

          What put the steelworks and the car-makers out of work was the exchange-rate hike caused by Sir Geoffrey Howe's interest-rate decsions, and that was what I had gone to Keele to study, as part of an economics degree course, so it should have been an exciting time to study economics. It turns out that an ex shadow chancellor and an ex prime minister went on a short economics course about the same time, and I don't think they learned anything either; I guess they both accepted the official view put in newspapers about what happened to the economy in the 80s.

          Talking of excitement, I don't know how to refute an economic argument or talk reasonably about it and the evidence, among people who have opposite ideas. For example, if someone seriously believes that the Olympics benefit the UK economy, I can't easily refute that. I have had a look at a report claiming that London Fashion Week benefits the UK economy, and think I can pick holes in that, but even if someone has an economic point to make, there is nowhere to make it.

          The Begg Economics textbook has a paragraph about that, aimed at 16 year-olds, headed "common fallicies", one of which is "economists don't agree about anything". I think that's missing the point. Economists are bad at disagreeing because don't learn their trade in tutorials, so they don't learn from people who they disagree-with, and they end-up arguing against things that they don't really understand. I find the same; I find it very hard to read more than half way through a book about economics without getting too annoyed to continue.

          Related blog posts

          Related: Bad Economics Teaching for the twenty-teens from data on Unistats, 2015 Better Economics Teaching: some off-the-cuff suggestions based on being a 1980s student The British Economic Crisis - a similar book to Robert Peston written in the 80s - Star Courses: the least satisfied, most bored and lowest paid UK graduates, written 2015 Boring Economics Teaching is interesting: how someone managed to teach economics from memories of an old textbook at the peak of the worst recession since the 1930s, and tried to cover-up for government causing the recession. Journal Articles by Professor Les Fishman - unbelievable beliefs - 1980s recession explanations I wrote - UK unemployment 1980s from the Begg 1984 textbook

          The author sells vegan shoes for a living, mainly made in the UK. is the web site.