Whatever Britain may lack in industrial momentum, it has no shortage of talking shops. Assorted committees, alliances, working parties and seminar groups are prolife-rating to discuss what the Government's strategy towards industry should be. MPs John Butcher and Barry Sheerman head a new All-Party Manufacturing Group, while Tory backbencher Nicholas Winterton is launching his Manufacturing and Construction Industries Alliance on 2 March. And debate is also bubbling at the CBI's National Manufacturing Council (NMC), the Policy Studies Institute, the Royal Society of Arts, the London School of Economics, the Centre for Business Studies and the Engineering Employers' Federation - to name but a few. Inter-group communication among these diverse forums may itself need some strategic direction. No members of the NMC, for example, are part of Winterton's Alliance. David Stout, of the London Business School, has his own theory of current competition in manufacturing industry. "These groups are jostling to get ahead of each other and gain first mover advantage. It's a case of who gets the poisoned chalice and who the torch. Actually most of them have nothing new to say at all." A good case for intervention, perhaps?
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