|Issue 14 - July 1973|
THE BEGINNING OF THE END? - COUNTER INFORMATION SERVICES ANTI-REPORT
ON BRITISH LEYLAND
CIS follows its controversial Anti-Report on Property Developers with its fifth production, this time on British Leyland. The full title is 'British Leyland, the beginning of the end?' which indicates the author's views of the future of Britain's largest exporter. In it, for the first time, CIS has woven together the economic and environmental factors which threaten the future of the motor car and placed them in their social context.
As regards the recent, much-publicised investment decisions of British Leyland, the report points out that these are far too small to allow the group to stay in the big league of mass producers. In most areas where it is interested BLMC's share of the market has declined in the face of the thrust of the major Japanese and European companies. Only an exceptionally buoyant home market over the past two years has enabled it to keep its head above water and it is perhaps typical that even during this period the cream of the growth has been taken by foreign imports. Owing to its earlier lack of investment BLMC has attempted to maintain its share by (inter alia) increasing its control over its workforce and shifting areas of production to areas of low militancy both in the UK and abroad, particularly in Fascist Spain.
The report looks at the effect of measures to increase BLMC's control over its workforce, in particular Measured Day Work (called by one of its original proponents 'A modern form of slavery'). It also points out that the low productivity of workers is caused by the group's failure to invest properly over a long period not, as is the common myth, by strikes.
Finally it looks at the impact of the energy crisis and other environmental pressures on the continued growth of the market. Despite the acknowledged presence of an imminent shortage of oil virtually no serious work on its impact on the future of the car and the motor industry has been done. Indeed motor manufacturers and the public generally seem totally unaware that it will have an impact and well before physical resources approach exhaustion. The fundamental fact is that oil has passed from being a buyer's market to a seller's and the rate of oil flow and price are totally in the hands of the sellers. To quote an official of the US State Department, 'This time the wolf is at the door'.
CIS' conclusion is that the effect of the oil shortage will be very considerable on the motor industry, and in view of its relative situation, British Leyland, certainly at least in its mass car division, is extremely vulnerable.
Packed up by the usual in-depth research expected of CIS Anti-Reports, 'British Leyland, the beginning of the end?' is essential reading for all who work in the car and components industry, drive a car or have any interest in the future.
BRITISH LEYLAND, THE BEGINNING OF THE END?: CIS ANTI-REPORT ON BRITISH
LEYLAND - 56 pages available from Counter Information Services, 52
Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1, price 60p, 40p for bulk orders.
A bit of a mind boggler, this one (especially if you're trying to review it). Basically it's a very close examination of the roles and attitudes of students and colleges in this society and in any alternative society. It's a pretty caustic - and well deserved - attack on student stereotypes such as the superfreak, the student 'politicals' and the 'rugger buggers' (apt description), and there's a very good analysis of the college as the reflection of a class society. It's especially nice to see some people who realise that non-academic staff are part of the college too, and who have actually noticed how badly they're treated by students and academic staff. There's a few nice ideas on drugs and status consumerism and student attitudes towards socialism, "57 varieties, all unsuitable for human consumption".
Not a bad pamphlet as a whole, but it's mainly suitable for preaching to the converted as it tends to fall down a bit by making too many generalisations which weren't backed up by anything solid. Also the cartoons are mostly very good and there's lots of them.
Available from 'Rising Free' (see opposite for address) price 15p.
PRIVATE EYE EXTRA
Congratulations to the 'Eye' for producing this very informative guide, guaranteed to enlighten all those who can't keep up with the Poulson affair.
Of local interest, it has some excellent pieces on County Durham and those two local folk heroes (?) Cunningham and Dan Smith.
There isn't a lot one can say about it except that everyone should read it and it only costs 10p from any bookshop that sells the 'Eye'.