THIS WEEK

Just lots going on this week. Plenty of it relating to the future, some of it to the past. No greater hark back to the past than the announcement that Jaguar have moved on to a three-day working week. That takes us back to about 1974 from memory. Falling sales, concern over Brexit, WLTP, you name it it seems a perfect storm for JLR, a manufacturer that could do no wrong until about three years ago. Are they having real problems, or, as the more cynical might think, is this a way of softening up the British workforce? If they have to make cuts in future, or set up manufacturing elsewhere they can say it was already not working in UK.
The EU is obviously in the news a lot this week, especially with regards to our future trading agreements with them. On the flipside, we forget just how much power both the EU and large companies have in Europe. And an investigation was launched earlier in the week into a cartel that was allegedly created by Germany’s manufacturers BMW, Daimler and VW. The story has already been covered elsewhere, but we are now beyond rumours of a cartel and into an investigation.
And just as Europe sets to over here, the US has announced an investigation into a leader of new technology in the US. Elon Musk’s recent pronouncements about taking Tesla private again fell foul, apparently, of stock market rules. They could be viewed as manipulating the market, and as such he will have to answer some serious questions in front of the US Justice Department. All this just as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has thrown a substantial investment into Lucid Motors, Tesla’s big rival in the US. The company was rumoured to be desperately seeking investment, this would seem to solve their needs for now.
Have a great weekend, welcome to autumn.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)
It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 – 1859)
A specification that will not fit on one page of 8.5×11 inch paper cannot be understood.
Mark Ardis
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
Chuck Reid
THIS WEEK

It has to be said that everybody is confused about Brexit nowadays. In fact I was watching the BBC news yesterday morning and the presenter announced that they would be speaking to the “Breakfast Secretary on BBC Brexit”. So we have no chance of knowing whether we going to get a deal, if we can’t tell the difference between Brexit and Breakfast.
But it is certainly exercising some minds out there, and there has been a warning today that the introduction of electric cars in the UK could well be stalled if we leave Brexit. Why, because manufacturers have EU emissions targets to meet, and apparently because of some arcane, obscure regulation if we leave the EU, then cars sold here will no longer count towards their targets.
And indeed Dyson this week announced that because of the confusion over our status they would be holding back on investment on their electric vehicles, or rather not deciding exactly where to site their production plant. And very unusually, one of the senior directors in our industry tweeted this week about his concern. Daksh Gupta made it absolutely clear that he was not making a political point, he was merely concerned that the position we have got ourselves into means that planning for next year and the years beyond for the 800,000 or so workers in the motor industry was proving night on impossible. As we struggle through a September that is proving to be a challenge, we don’t want the next five years to be as tough as this.
Have a great weekend, the weather will be better here than it is in the States.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Nothing fails like success.
Gerald Nachman
When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we’d been saying they were.
John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
Some people will never learn anything because they understand everything too soon.
Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744)
The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people.
Lucille S. Harper
THIS WEEK

I had my car serviced this week, and as it was picked up I was told there was a recall, just announced that morning. It was to do with reprogramming the computer so that vehicle emissions were improved. With some trepidation I allowed it to go off, worried that it would not “pull the skin off a rice pudding” when it came back. In fact I was wrong, and now appears to be working slightly better than it did before.
So my ears pricked up when I saw that Toyota were recalling 1 million vehicles this week, and Ford 2 million. The latter is doing this almost exclusively in the States. It is over a seat belt defect in one of their big selling trucks. Rather interestingly the seatbelt itself, or its pre-tensioner, can theoretically cause a fire. Toyota’s recall also relates to a fire risk.
All of this comes at a time when Korea is talking about imposing greater penalties on manufacturers who fail to deal with recalls properly. We have already seen a number of manufacturers fined in the US and lambasted across Europe for mishandling recalls. And the South Korean government got particularly exercised over BMW recently regarding a fire risk which the government judged they did not deal with adequately or quickly enough. I always say that it is not necessarily the customer of the manufacturer who gets delighted about such programs, but aftersales managers normally love them. A full workshop, a proper reason to write to your customers and get their vehicles back into the workshop. And something only franchised dealers can deal with. What could be better?
I also see from the FT this week that car sales boomed in August. Before we all get carried away and think the world has been put to rights, let us not forget that with the WLTP deadline of 1 September, there was a lot of old stock to clear. I suspect September and October will yield slimmer pickings.
Have a great weekend. And may your month be going well.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.
Claud Cockburn (1904 – 1981)
I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)
THIS WEEK

It is fascinating to read two articles, posted almost alongside each other, in AM-online this week. One, covering a survey by Auto Trader, suggests that it will be another nine years before most motorists seriously consider an electric vehicle. Uncertainties about charging points, infrastructure and range mean that for your average driver, electric is still a step into the unknown. And I can understand those feelings.
On the other hand, a different article based on a report by Leasing Options suggests that in just two years time, in 2020, the sale of electric vehicles will have outpaced the sale of diesels. Given that diesel sales have plummeted nearly 40% in the last year, one perhaps could be forgiven for thinking this was possible.
But is it? As it implies that diesel sales are going to continue to plummet and the slack will be taken up by petrol. This obviously presents the government with a problem, as petrol cars are notoriously worse at emitting CO2 than their diesel counterparts. It only shows that statistics can be made to prove almost anything, it depends what you want to say.
It also depends on how you phrase the question (which is why you never hold a referendum on anything important!) There is no doubt considerable anxiety about the electric vehicles’ ability to cover long distances, though the majority of drivers never drive more than 50 – 60 miles at a time in any case. Equally, if you extrapolate current falls in diesel sales, you will arrive at the conclusion that they’ll arrive at almost zero in 2 – 3 years time. I can confidently predict that will not happen. Some manufacturers are struggling to switch production to petrol cars, others have invested too much in diesel technology just to say goodbye to it overnight. The pricing of such vehicles will become increasingly attractive, even if the taxing of them would seem to go the other way. And like any market, a reaction to adversity is nearly always an overreaction. Diesel’s current plunge may well turn into a rally in 2020. New technology perhaps, new investment, new science and indeed a changing attitude.
As we approach 1 September, it is after all only a few hours away, then I can tell that many dealers are worried. WLTP concerns mean that many will struggle to hit their targets in the next couple of months, some are not expecting much supply before the end of October. And let us face it, with Europe doing rather better and the UK underperforming, we are probably not their biggest concern as a market at this moment, so we are being left to run our own devices. With car production falling 11% in July (against an 18% rise this time last year) things are not looking overpromising in any case. But until you get your vehicles tested and approved, there’s not much point in producing them in any case.
Have a good first of September, or as good as you can at any rate, so you can relax for the rest of the year.
And have a great weekend, autumn starts tomorrow. Let’s hope it is not followed by a winter of discontent.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
Men live in a fantasy world. I know this because I am one, and I actually receive my mail there.
Scott Adams (1957 – )
Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary
Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person.
Ethel Mumford
THIS WEEK

In the wake of pretty impressive results from Marshalls and Lookers this week, their H1’s have clearly been strong and they are confident of the future. Even if they are a little uncertain for Q3 because of WLTP considerations. However I see electric is in the news for all sorts of reasons this week.
Something that I heard about at the IMI conference I was speaking at in June, was how electric vehicles represents an enormous battery capacity, and how used sensibly it can be mined by the electricity companies to smooth out their supplies. Now I see that OVO have announced that this is indeed what will be happening and could save something like £40bn worth of generating costs by 2050. How? By charging the cars during the quietest periods and taking a bit of charge back during the busiest. Your car could be boiling the water for your tea, or for Mrs Smith’s at no 49. It sounds a long way in the future, but it’s 30 years away. Most of us still remember 1988, which seems quite recent…….
Electric seems to be the thing of the moment, but I didn’t expect Pendragon, who haven’t announced the greatest of results themselves, to be getting so deeply involved. To be fair it is not quite on the same theme –  they have announced the installation of defibrillators at all of its UK dealerships in anticipation of EV-related incidents. And this is not just theoretical, up to 600v flows around a modern electric vehicle, and shorting one out can cause serious discharges and crippling injuries. So no doubt there will be news of customers lives saved by defibrillators in their dealerships, but in reality it is the specialist technicians working on vehicles may be more in need.
It was the for this reason that the IMI recently backed the government’s initiative  to launch a proper electric vehicle technician qualification. We cannot underestimate the energy needed to drive any car, and what can go wrong if you get it wrong. These are powerful machines.
Have a great weekend enjoy the summer while you can.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.
Michael Pritchard

Books have the same enemies as people: fire, humidity, animals, weather, and their own content.
Paul Valery (1871 – 1945)

In physics, you don’t have to go around making trouble for yourself – nature does it for you.
Frank Wilczek (1951 – )
Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.
Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)
THIS WEEK

A couple of senior automotive figures have been in the news this week, one well-known on British shores and one well-known globally. And how they must both wish at times that they were not running publicly quoted companies, but privately owned firms. Because, as Presidents Trump and Erdogan must also be feeling at the moment, you might be head of something, but corporate responsibilities restrict the actions you can take. And as the US forces Trump to impose sanctions on Putin, and the Turkish lira stumbles, it doesn’t matter how powerful you are on your own patch, you have to listen to both what the market is saying and to your own regulators.
So Trevor Finn had to face the markets this week, as Pendragon announced disappointing profits for the first half of the year. To many insiders these will probably not surprising, as the fall in diesel sales, the difficulty in some of their premium franchises and a sliding registrations have combined to create tough headwinds for the sector. Nevertheless when the Times opens with “Profits have crashed at Pendragon as Britain’s biggest motor retailer begins a strategic sharp turn to concentrate on the used-car market and sell off luxury showrooms operated for the likes of Jaguar Land Rover” you realise that the press is not going easy on them. Having said that, they predicted a stock crash, but a month ago their share price was less than 23.5p, today it is nearly 26.5p. So it’s up nearly 5% over the past month.
The other senior executive is Elon Musk. Now it is rumoured that they are beginning to produce cars in something like acceptable numbers, he tweeted this week (surely he has seen Twitter go horribly wrong for Pres Trump) that he would like to take the firm back into private hands. Except, it would appear, that he angered the regulators and investment merely by uttering those words. Not surprisingly, really, as anything that a senior executive says that could affect the share price has to be very carefully considered. As many of my clients know. So there followed a war of words later in the week about precisely how much he should or should not have said. And lots of speculation whether he could even afford to take it back into private hands if he wished to. And we are talking about one of the richest men in the world. It must be kind of fun running these large monolithic structures, but it does come with responsibilities too. Which can get in the way.
Have a great weekend. You might even have to cut the grass as it starts to grow again.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The least of learning is done in the classrooms.
Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)
When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.
Thomas Szasz, “The Second Sin”
I don’t mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don’t understand.
Sir Edward Appleton (1892 – 1965)
People can have the Model T in any colour–so long as it’s black.
Henry Ford (1863 – 1947)
THIS WEEK

ASE, the dealer profitability specialists who compile detailed figures every months, reckons that June was a pretty good month for franchised dealers. In fact retailers averaged around £41000 profit for the month. This was slightly down on last year, but as a whole Q2 was substantially up on 2017. They have put this improvement down to used-car sales. And as if to back that up, we saw figures this week that show that used-car sales were up substantially in July, with PCPs playing an increasingly important role in the used-car mix. Over the past year they have risen by 27%.
Last week we reported on JLRs problems for the first half – well Volkswagen is suffering no such problems. In fact they posted record second-quarter results, though they have warned that the second half of the year could be particularly difficult with the spectre of Trumps Trade Wars looming on the horizon. It is interesting to see the effect that the President of the United States is having on the car market, because he has also proposed this week to weaken emission rules for carmakers. Intriguingly the Financial Times suggests that this could provoke an interesting debate between the federal government, who should now become a more liberal, and the California government who have some of the strictest regulations in the world.
And talking of strict regulations, I see Jato Dynamics have also suggested that WLTP roles could add to emission woes, as the real-life tests are showing that vehicles are emitting significantly more CO2 than they had expected. Up to 10 g per kilometre for larger vehicles. This will have a knock-on effect not only for car manufacturers, but also for consumers, for whom VED and a number of other taxes will be based on CO2 emissions.
Talking to dealers and manufacturers, one of the biggest issues over WLTP is the lack of homologation for current models under the new rules, and many dealers are sceptical that they will have any sort of plentiful supply before the end of this year. All of which should be good news for the used-car market, but continues to present a problem for new car registrations. Targets will remain high though, I bet.
Have a great weekend, it’s going to be warm again, but not as warm as Europe.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)
If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough
Mario Andretti (1940 – )
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.
Henry Stimson (1867 – 1950)
Thinking of updating your CV? We have been doing some considerable work updating our CV Guide. It is now in a much more readable, modern format and can be accessed here.
THIS WEEK

The car industry this week lost one of its true giants. Sergio Marcchione, the iconic, inspirational leader of Fiat Chrysler, suddenly died this week. His passing certainly came as a shock to many, though reports suggest that he had been suffering under a mystery serious illness for some time, possibly up to a year. At an absolutely crucial time for the manufacturer, not least because of Trump Trade Wars it is a difficult time for his successor, Michael Manley, to take over.

And he will need to be on his mettle, as a number of manufacturers are blaming the prospect of trade wars for falling performances, not least Ford and GM, as well as Daimler. The latter announced a massive restructuring at senior management level to recognise the rapidly changing pace of the motor industry, and of the economic landscape.

How the EU must be fed up with carmakers. Reports on Reuters today would suggest they are really quite agitated. Because having put down legislation to stop the understatement of vehicle emissions, they did not think to put in rules that stopped them overstating them.

Because they have already suggested that manufacturers will do just that to cheat the new WLTP regulations, there is a “clear risk” that carmakers will artificially increase emissions. From everything we’ve known so far, surely that does not make sense?

Well it does if you realise that the European Commission in November proposed a 30% reduction in CO2 levels by 2030, compared to 2021 levels. So guess what? They reckon manufacturers will actually increase their test results for 2020 and 2021 so that they don’t have to try so hard. Deeply suspicious, aren’t they?  Not if you listen to William Todts, who is the clean energy group Transport & Environment Executive Director “It’s a reminder the car industry cannot be trusted and that collusion and cheating remain widespread.” Don’t you think it would be nice if the industry could get on the front foot with all of this now?

Have a great weekend – if you think the EU are getting bored of carmakers, what do you think the French think of Team Sky and the Brits in the Tour de France?

THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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Man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to him.
Paul Eldridge

Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.
Fran Lebowitz (1950 – )

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
Harry S Truman (1884 – 1972)

It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.
Tom Stoppard (1937 – ), Jumpers (1972) act 1

THIS WEEK

Many of you were probably brought up on the BBC TV programme Tomorrow’s World. I know I was and I loved it. And from time to time the BBC replay editions of the program to see what scientists were predicting about today. Some turned into reality, like the growth of the PC. Some looked like they had, emissions technology, and some were wildly off the mark. Whatever happened to paper knickers and bikes that floated on water – just two predictions that sunk without trace. TW is returning to our screens, Hooray! And scientists are continuing to make predictions.

One of those relates directly to our industry, Wood MacKenzie, the oil consultancy has been widely quoted in a report published this week. They say that peak oil demand is expected to arrive around 2036, considerably earlier than most of the big oil majors have been predicting. A combination of improved fuel efficiency and the adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles are expected by then to play an increasingly important role in transport. In addition, a number of countries such as Chile have committed to 100% renewable energy by 2040 (that is only 20 years away) so maybe predictions are right. Though others are less sure and reckon that a technology that is so good will always be around if it is cheap enough.

Land Rover’s technology is not what you would call cheap, and if it does not work then customers get mad. There have been rumours of reliability problems for a while, so reports today in the Daily Mail did not come as a complete shock. A driver in Birmingham got so upset about the problems with his new car that he had it sign written and parked outside the dealer. The signs warned customers of the problems he had experienced. An interesting article in Car Dealer Magazine covers the problem, and discusses the legal situation of both dealer and  customer.

Both sides are probably feeling extremely frustrated by the situation, even more so if it is caused by a basic manufacturing fault rather than something the dealer or the customer has done. We can’t tell because naturally none of us have seen the vehicle and know what has gone on. It has not just happened in our industry – Persimmon Homes, the housebuilder, suffered a similar problem on one of his estates in the West Country recently. Recent purchasers, disgruntled by the after sales service (in new houses it is getting snaggings sorted) put posters up in their window imploring others not to buy on the estate. I suspect that in both cases direct customer action has resulted in swift action from the sellers as well. Not least because both stories went national. If it works, expect to see more of this type of customer direct action in the future.

Have a great weekend, now all the other sport has stopped we can enjoy the Open. Come on Rory.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930), (Sherlock Holmes)
It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.
Enrico Fermi (1901 – 1954)
I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
Rita Rudner
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)
  • Quote of the week
THIS WEEK

It is quite interesting, I love reading long-term plans by government. Because you are almost certain that whatever they plan today is going to get overtaken by events long before it has a chance to be completed. Take their latest Road to Zero plan. It plots the pathway to Zero emission vehicles, which it now wishes to complete by 2050. Bearing in mind we are meant to be in the vanguard of this technological change, that is quite a long way away. And it is clear that they have softened their stance and lengthened the implementation period because of strong lobbying from various interested industries. I strongly suspect that despite some laudable targets for zero emission vehicles by 2030 (about half of sales volumes will be zero emissions by that date) that the market will overtake whatever the government wishes long before then. And it honestly may not be in the direction that they suspect.
The arrival of Pres Trump, who landed in the UK this morning, reminds us that the world of international trade is in turmoil because of his intention to introduce tariffs to take away China’s advantage. Of course almost immediately Tesla have announced the opening of a brand-new factory in China, which could become its biggest market. And naturally none of those will now be produced in the US. Nowhere is the power of lobbying more obvious than in the President’s approach to global world trade, and there are some very powerful lobbies in the US. But most economists will tell you that the introduction of tariffs rarely improves a countries lot, nor does it have all of the intended consequences. It has to be said, the world’s novelty balloon manufacturers have clearly benefited in the short term.
For many years we have produced a number of guides, and recently we announced the launch of our new CV Guide, you can catch it here, and today we have updated and upgraded our Interview Guide. Fairly soon we will be publishing a brand-new, in-depth Assessment Centre Guide which will assist our candidates when faced with this particular challenge. The idea of each of these guides is not to give you an unfair advantage, but to make sure that you do not miss out on a role that you were probably perfectly suited for and should have got if you hadn’t committed one of the cardinal sins. I regularly cover these in our MTS Blog (subscribe to that here) but the biggest sins for interviewees are failing to prepare, turning up late and badmouthing previous employers. The ones that fall flat on their face sometimes managed to achieve all of these and several others besides.
Have a great weekend, the play-off for third and fourth place doesn’t quite have the same tension, does it? And no Roger in the final?
THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Mae West (1892 – 1980), Klondike Annie (1936 film)
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
Bruce Cockburn
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)
The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.
Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876
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