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Engineer Royal

Have a position of long term responsibility for engineering
  [vote for,

Engineering is quite important. It involves taking the various graphs and charts created by scientists from raw, unrefined grant money and using them to modify the environment in some way. Myself, I am a fan of engineering projects: roads, sewers, bridges and the standardized distribution of electricity, that sort of thing. Sadly, engineering projects, particularly big ones, often suffer the interference of politicians. Politicians turn temporary public favor into lucrative corporate consultancy gigs in around 6 years and as such are often not around for the completion of 10+ year engineering projects.

This is problematic. For example, the UK is currently building some offshore wind farms for completion in 2020 <link>. Now, this is a little embarrassing as the cost for offshore wind was 20% more than solar according to the governments own estimates in 2015, <link> and solar has been falling at 15%/year for over a decade. This means it will be twice as expensive as solar by the time they switch it on. Assuming, of course that the gentle pussycat that is the North Sea doesn't playfully bat it under the sofa of oblivion within 18 months. Common sense suggests that this should be cancelled, and the person responsible tied to a steel tower in the North Sea.

The person responsible, or at least in charge at the time, was Ed Davey <link>. He can't be held responsible because A: he is no longer in the post B: the post no longer exists C: the department no longer exists D: he's not a member of the government E: he's not a member of parliament. Now, his role, obviously successful, was recently rewarded with a Knighthood, and he will probably spend his remaining days as he spent the last year or so: banging on about how much environmental stuff he got built by those very convincing Danish chancers over at Dong energy.

Now, there could be a solution. Governments are a bit temporary. We do not, for example, entrust the REALLY important things to the will of the people. So how about a Royal appointment? We have a few already, Astronomer Royal, Poet Laureate, that kind of thing. The general role is to be a steady hand on the tiller, saying nothing too controversial and being tediously well qualified in their area.

So, we appoint an Engineer Royal. This person should have regular access to the Queen, probably a seat in the Lords, a firm stare and a sound grasp of thermodynamics. Four seconds after receiving a proposal for a transatlantic cycle path, the Engineer Royal can have a quiet word with the relevant power brokers, calmly explaining that the project is silly because the Americans ride on the wrong side. The proposal is shredded and the minister responsible removed from numerous lists.

Should any stupid projects come to fruition, and the stupidity of that project be demonstrably predictable from the outset, the Engineer Royal shall be shot or have their calculator taken, whichever causes more humiliation and suffering.

bs0u0155, Jan 18 2017

Offshore Wind http://www.hornseap...development-consent
[bs0u0155, Jan 18 2017]

Energy Cost By Source https://en.wikipedi...urce#United_Kingdom
[bs0u0155, Jan 18 2017]

Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change https://en.wikipedi..._and_Climate_Change
[bs0u0155, Jan 18 2017]

Royal Engineers https://en.wikipedi...iki/Royal_Engineers
[MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 19 2017]

Hornsea Wind Farm Ticking Along Nicely https://www.telegra...00000-compensation/
[bs0u0155, Sep 09 2019]

Global Infrastructure Partners http://global-infra.com/index.php
[bs0u0155, Sep 10 2019]

No More Dong https://en.wikipedi...3%98rsted_(company)
[bs0u0155, Sep 10 2019]

An example https://www.bbc.co....and-london-47228698
Boris's Garden Bridge [Frankx, Sep 13 2019]

Engineers Explained http://bcn.boulder..../engineerhumor.html
From "The Dilbert Principle" [8th of 7, Sep 14 2019]

Scotland-Ireland bridge (and others) https://en.wikipedi...Britain_and_Ireland
Proposals to build bridges and/or tunnels from British mainland to other places [Frankx, Sep 15 2019]


       I'm sure Herself would be greatly amused. I know I am +
xenzag, Jan 18 2017

       What exactly is a temporary pubic flavor?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 18 2017

       It is a form of hair product found at specialist retailers for the discerning gentleman, so I've heard.
bs0u0155, Jan 18 2017

       //temporary pubic flavor// <bc> A misplaced peppermint. </bystander comment> Well, I laughed.   

       Might get a bit political for a task that eminently pragmatic and practical. Who advises the Queen that the Royal Engineer is worthy of her ear?
wjt, Jan 19 2017

       + This is really good and so well written! A Bravo Bun for you!
xandram, Jan 19 2017

       Royal Engineers already exist. Even better, they are armed and therefore able to enforce decisions. Link.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 19 2017

       What [xandram] said.
Voice, Jan 19 2017

       // Royal Engineers already exist. Even better, they are armed and therefore able to enforce decisions. //   

       This is correct. However, a huge accumulation of observational evidence* indicates that the typical decisions made by RE's - depending on rank - fall into a number of very limited categories:   

       For NCOs and Other Ranks, the decisions are:   

       "Is it time for another mug of tea yet ?"
"No-one else knows we're here, right ?"
"There's no risk of us having to do any work, is there ?"
"Got any more of that beer ?"
"When are you going to shift that stuff so I can lie down for a kip ?"

       For Officers:   

       "Is it time for another gin and tonic yet ?"
"No-one else knows we're here, right ?"
"There's no risk of us having to do any work, is there ?"
"Is this the best port you've got ?"
"Is there anything round here we can blow up without someone complaining ?"

       Such decisions do not, by and large, require any form of enforcement.   

       The problems are exacerbated by the extreme difficulty of actually finding RE's, who have finely honed skills in camouflage and concealment which they employ against friend and foe alike, a range of vehicles superbly adapted for rapid travel in all terrains, and a propensity to vanish over the horizon in the event of a threat, for example the prospect of rain, or their ultra-sensetive antennae detecting that someone might actually try to get them to do some work.   

       *We are aware that a mere accumulation of observational evidence does not constitutute proof, but it is a useful indication of general tendencies.
8th of 7, Jan 19 2017

       Oh, you've actually witnessed this, have you ?   

       Sorry, but "Royal Engineers working" is in the same category as Nessie, UFO sightings, and The Ark of the Covenant.   

       Lots of claims, never any solid evidence.
8th of 7, Sep 05 2019

       Making and drinking tea is work, I do it regularly.
bs0u0155, Sep 06 2019

       Do you make the tea (a) solely for your own consumption, or (b) to share with others (outside your own immediate group/clan/section)?   

       If (a), do you perform this "work" in an open and obvious way, or do you act in a carefully considered quiet and stealthy manner, in order to effectively conceal from those you consider do not "need to know" that in fact you know the whereabouts of tea-preparation materials and are familiar with their use, or indeed once made that tea exists - or do you slink off discreetly to consume said tea in isolation and silence, for fear that anyone else might become posessed by the absurd notion that you might actually share the fruits of your labours with others without the pre-payment of some lavish reward out of all proportion to the effort you've made ?   

       Do you ever experience mysterious unexplained stabbing pains, such as might for example result from bitter, resentful and above all thirsty colleagues making wax effigies of you and stabbing them with blunt needles in an attrmpt to employ sympathetic magic to gain revenge on some idle, inconsiderate selfish blighter who makes tea for himself and one ir two favoured cronies, but never, ever offers to share the tea with anyone else - yet is astonishingly rapid in exploiting the smallest opportunity to scavenge anything drinkable or edible from anyone else, even if it means kicking one-legged blind orphan match-girls into a rain-filled gutter and stealing and scoffing without remorse the first hot beverage they've had in days ?   

       What do you do for fun, drown baby pandas in a bucket of water ? The long winter evenings must simply fly by ...
8th of 7, Sep 06 2019

       Hello, [halfshilling]; welcome to the 'bakery.
pertinax, Sep 06 2019

       <<Governments are a bit temporary>>   

       ....And shite.   

       Could we replace all of them with engineers, do you think?
bhumphrys, Sep 06 2019

       ^ Ok perhaps the government could become some sort of advisory committee; a sort of 'citizen's review panel' maybe. But not empowered to take decisions. If their advice is pure shite, self-contradictory, infeasible, short-termist or purely political it can be safely ignored when planning projects.
bhumphrys, Sep 06 2019

       // replace all of them with engineers //   

       Yes; but the world would be very, very different, and for the majority of the population incomprehensible and very, very odd.   

       It would not be a bad place; in many ways it would be infinitely better than the current arrangements.
8th of 7, Sep 06 2019

       This is quite silly. Politicians have been saving the world by preventing great things from getting done for eons. Just imagine the state of the Amazon if every engineer that came along throughout history was allowed to act uninhibited creating their fondest desires as soon as they organized the resources. Why, there wouldn’t be one truffula tree left, the world would be one mass of pavement, rather like Coruscant with much worse air. No, it’s only by the slow incompetence of politicians that we’ve any natural resources left to exploit tomorrow.
RayfordSteele, Sep 10 2019

       Oops I didn't quite think that through did I.
bhumphrys, Sep 10 2019

       Ah, you're a politician, then.   

       // we’ve any natural resources left to exploit tomorrow.//   

       To quote from a favourite bumper sticker*, "EARTH FIRST ! We'll strip-mine the other planets afterwards."   

       *But better is "I brake for Hobbits and Unicorns".
8th of 7, Sep 10 2019

       Just as an update to my example, the windfarm in question is now being managed by Ørsted <link>, Dong was not a good name apparently. 1/2 the project has been sold to a slightly vaguely named company called Global Infrastructure Partners <link>. The Capacity already installed is ticking along nicely making powe cuts <link> and Ed Davey is back in Parliament, altough not in any form of power.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2019

       //managed by Ørsted// I've never understood why these Scandinavian types do that. Why not just omit the leading zero instead of crossing it out?
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 12 2019

       [Frankx] I just accidentally deleted your annoying. Many apologies!
bs0u0155, Sep 13 2019

       Ah, yes, I’m often told i’m Annoying! I’ve forgotten what I was rambling about, so I’ll have a think and come back later.   

       Like the Engineer Royal idea though
Frankx, Sep 13 2019

       // Why not just omit the leading zero instead of crossing it out? //   

       Most likely they're using a version of FORTRAN 66 with limited capability for formatted text output.
8th of 7, Sep 13 2019

       //deleted your annoying.//   

       Anno! I'm just digging deeper here!
bs0u0155, Sep 13 2019

       No worries! I was just agreeing that an Engineer Royal was a good idea. I have been pondering over whether a Systems Engineering approach might be useful for running the country. Defining requirements and measuring performance against relevant metrics. Poll the nation on specific top- level requirements. Also [link] as another example of a politically driven failure (the Garden Bridge). And what about the new idea - a bridge from Ireland to Scotland!
Frankx, Sep 14 2019

       Also [8th] ...   

       //very very odd//   

       How so?
Frankx, Sep 14 2019

       We will hand over the podium to our esteemed colleague Mr. Scott Adams to field that particular question.   


       // a bridge from Ireland to Scotland! //   

       The proposal for a fixed link between Galloway and the Province has been discussed since Victorian times. Tbe optimum solution is a tunnel, although Beaufort's Dyke presents a formidable geologic challenge.   

       It can be done if someone's prepared to throw enough m0ney at the problem.   

       There's an interesting Wikipedia page on the topic..
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       Added [link] for Scotland - Ireland bridge.   

       A 2018 estimate was £Bn15 - 20.   

       But there's still the ~million tonnes of munitions, including decaying chemical weapons and radioactive waste to deal with. Ooh joy!
Frankx, Sep 15 2019


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