Monday, 9 November 2015

Building submarines

is undoubtedly a very complicated business. I know someone who is involved. He lives just around the corner. 
I have no idea what he does. He never talks about it. His wife has no idea. His two boys have no idea. He is the sort of person who makes a Trappist monk seem talkative. 
He's not supposed to talk about his work.
My maternal uncle worked for another defence related industry. He spent most of his working life travelling to Woomera and back. Once there he, presumably, spent his days helping in rocket launches. I don't know. He never talked about it either. We didn't even know when he was going to be there or back in the city. 
That's the way it ought to be.
Currently Downunder is negotiating new submarine contracts. The question is, apparently, whether Japan, France or Germany will get the main task and how much of the work will be done here. This morning there is the not unexpected news that Chinese and Russian interests have been endeavouring to "hack" into information about the new submarines.
There is also immense pressure from within and without the government for the Japanese to have a role. It is a mistake the government will almost certainly make - for business and political reasons. It is one of those "part of the Asian region" strategies successive governments are intent on pursuing.
The problem is that Downunder is not "part of the Asian region". It is a neighbour, not "part of the family". We can be good neighbours, indeed we should make sure we are good neighbours.
We need to build our own fences without letting our neighbours have the knowledge to undermine the foundations or provide weak fence posts to knock over in the future. Submarines are fences at sea. Good fences help to make good neighbours.

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