At The Wall Street Journal, Anne Jolis speaks to a tenacious British businessman battling against arbitrary government regulation: Iron Maiden singer and "serial entrepreneur" Bruce Dickinson, who recently opened the airline maintenance firm Cardiff Aviation Ltd. Here’s a snippet from her superb profile of the man who went “from heavy metal to heavy industry”:
"Clearly aviation is a highly regulated industry, and it does take time for the wheels to grind," Mr. Dickinson says carefully. At first glance, he almost blends in with the dark-suited bankers milling through the courtyard of the Royal Exchange. Look closer and you'll spot the rocker, his navy suit in pinwale corduroy, the hair a good two fingers longer than City standard.
While governments like to tout their courtship of skilled manufacturing jobs, in practice "civil servants, on some level, are almost institutionally prejudiced against entrepreneurial activity and risk," Mr. Dickinson goes on. "Of course nobody wants to return to the dark ages, no one wants to return to fundamentally unsafe work practices." But he warns that overregulation and the burgeoning "health and safety thing" add up to "an industry that is eating itself, that has been created and is creating an entire industry which will eventually consume manufacturing and retailing."
The result is that Cardiff Aviation, for instance, currently has "five million dollars worth of heavy engineering machinery—we have enough stuff in our hangar to build an airliner, let alone maintain it," says Mr. Dickinson. But the company is still waiting on its certifications for heavy-duty work, and in the meantime, "we can't afford to have people sitting around doing nothing."
Read the whole thing here.