Not so long ago I watched an experiment on the Discovery Channel's 'Mythbusters' programme.
If you are trapped in a falling lift, would jumping at the exact moment before it hit the bottom of the shaft save your life?
It did rather remind me of the UK's economy and the desparate measures being taken by the Government to solve the rapidly accelerating problems of the national finances(the falling lift) as we plunged into 2009.
A wise man once said that a recession is what happens when people you know become unemployed and a depression is when you lose your job as well! Each week that passes delivers what appears to be a new record number of workers being handed their P45s and I know at least three of these in the last month.
If we watch the profitable steel industry collapse then we have a huge problem for the future when the demand for raw materials in the Far East recovers, which it will. Unfortunately, thanks to the EU we can't protect our domestic industries anymore; it's illegal, although you can bet that other EU countries will be creative about such things.
Last week, I heard a story about a pilot who recently applied for a job flying for Air France, who have been recruiting. He had an Airbus rating and the airline reportedly told him that they would employ him but he had to visit the French equivalent of the CAA first and have his license endorsed for employment by a French airline.
In Europe, pilots are covered by something called the JAR-FCL, which means that all States are bound by the same common flight crew licenses and exams, much the same as driving licenses. Anyway our pilot tripped into Paris and was politely informed that his CAA issued JAR license wasn't in order until he re-sat the JAR ATPL exams, in French. - English is of course the language of aviation.
Back to the lift experiment then and 'Mythbusters' demonstrated quite conclusively that the small upward acceleration involved in jumping vertically was quite insufficient to offset the larger acceleration of the lift hittting the bottom of the shaft and wrecking the crash dummy.
I wonder how high the Chancellor, Mr Darling, can jump?
My thanks to one of our readers, Rob, for sending in this photo of the high-speed Javelin train, sighted in Thanet recently. I can't wait to see how fast it will whisk me into London.