Well Jim, your view of economics is very different to mine, because the following just doesn't add up.
if the Polish can supply us with coal, the Koreans, ships, the Indians, cricket bats (I just threw that one in), and the Chinese practically everything else, at a more reasonable cost, we cannot obviously compete - unless the cost of production here is subsidised by the Government. This is virtually buying jobs (out of our taxes) to keep employment up.
We produced huge amounts of coal. ships and cricket bats forty odd years ago together with cars, steel and aircraft.
But most of these heavy industries were axed in the 70's and 80's as they were deemed 'unprofitable' since a certain level of 'subsidy' was required to keep them afloat and competitive.
It was within these industries that lads and lassies could, if they wished take a job/career for life, thus paying their taxes and filling a pension pot for themselves. The goods they produced were exported or sold domestically, this created the wealth that provided the nation with the 'services' it required, eg, NHS. defence, social housing/security etc.
We now need to import everything on a large scale, so the jobs in the UK tend to be part-time and low paid, therefore low tax receipts.
So how Jim do we pay for all the Polish coal, ships, dole money, Your pension, MPs' expenses, Bank bailouts/bonuses, NHS, Defence, Cricket bats, and so on without the industry to provide the taxes to pay for it?.
Simple, we slowly squander our wealth, not just the Oil, almost all our service companies have been sold off to fill the financial void left by our lost industries. ( we couldn't subsidise them now even if we wanted to)
So it's not our taxes that's paying for all the above, it's our Kids future.
That's why I "continue to harp on with the Westminster trashing" (it's record is deplorable), and why I want a free and Independent Scotland
So in one respect you are correct, we can't compete because we no longer have the skilled workforce to mine coal, build ships, operate steel mills or the cash to set them up again.
Thatcher claimed that we must not subsidise "failing industries", but her real beef was with the power of the Unions that she saw as a threat to Government Power.
She won that battle, the cost was all of our heavy industry, millions on the Dole and a population split between the have and have nots'.
Our Industries were not perfect, (neither were the Unions) but you don't scrap your car if it's got a baldy tyre, you just get it fixed!.