It's necessary to understand the details when discussing the steel industry

Of course, it's necessary to understand the details when discussing anything at all as well. Which is precisely what Gareth Stace does not do here. Stace being the head of UK Steel, the industry association.

In recent weeks we have seen further losses and we are now in a position where a substantial section of what’s left of the steel industry is up for sale. The big question now is how we ensure that everything that can be done is being done by all parties -  the Government, businesses and the unions – to support the future of steel-making in Britain, and the successful sale of Tata steel’s assets.

Politicians of all persuasions have spoken of the importance of the steel industry as a national asset, and a strategically important part of our manufacturing capability. Ministers are right to say the steel industry is strategically important and the foundation of many of the UK’s most important manufacturing supply chains, including aerospace, automotive, defence and construction. Steel is used in every part of modern day life, from the building you are sitting in to the car you drive.

It carries on like that for the rest of the piece: steel's great, wonderful, save our steel. And at no point at all is the important underlying issue mentioned here. The British steel industry is indeed going through some tough times. But there's both a cyclical element here and also a structural one. That structural one being the one that both has to be considered and which Stace is glossing over.

This is: should we "save" the Port Talbot blast furnaces when blast furnaces are, to a great extent, a 19th century technology now surpassed by the 20th century one of arc furnaces?  

This is the issue under discussion: for we've people lining up to purchase (at current rock bottom prices of course) rolling mills and the other downstream accoutrements of the industry. And absolutely everyone who has expressed an interest in doing so has said that the blast furnaces have got to go.

What does slightly irritate is that one of us has been on the radio with Stace a couple of times now and made exactly this point to him. We would therefore hope that it would be one that he might address: but of course as a lobbyist that's not quite what he's going to do, mention something not quite helpful to the case he is lobbying for.