Chip giant Arm is the jewel in the crown of the UK technology sector.
The company, formed in Cambridge in the early years of the personal computer age, dominates the global business of chip design.
So the decision of its owner SoftBank to list its shares only in the US, despite energetic lobbying from the prime minister and chancellor that it should at least seek a joint listing in London, is a body blow for Downing Street.
Since they came to office they have been promising to turn the UK into a “new Silicon Valley” – Arm was the strongest card in their deck.
Now on the one hand, Arm’s decision says as much about the depth of US capital markets as it does about British policy.
And the company says it will double down on its presence in the UK. So this is far from an end to its relationship with this country.
All the same, figures in government have been devastated by the move.
Government approach may not have helped
And it’s hard not to conclude that government’s recent approach to semiconductors may not have helped its cause.
Its semiconductor strategy document has been so long awaited that many wonder whether it will ever arrive.
Its decision to allow a Chinese-backed takeover of the UK’s biggest semiconductor manufacturer, Newport Wafer Fab – only to reverse it the following year – gave an impression of rudderlessness, if not cluelessness.
And these issues with semiconductor policy are not the only question marks about the UK’s economic strategy.
UK stock market relocations to New York do not amount to a crisis | Ian King
Questions about UK economic strategy
It has yet to map out a response to the US inflation reduction act, one of the biggest industrial strategy (and to some extent protectionist) policies to be unveiled around the world for decades.
Its policy on the steel sector seems similarly impenetrable.
On the one hand, it is signalling to steelmakers that any support it gives out in future will depend on them shifting from blast furnaces towards greener alternatives.
Yet on the other hand it has just approved a new coal mine in Cumbria, which will produce the very coal used in those old blast furnaces.
The government has lately taken a more constructive stance on Brexit culminating in this week’s Windsor Framework. Yet the prime minister is now reported to be reluctant to rejoin the Horizon programme on scientific research – something it had been temporarily barred from until this week.
One area where it does seem to have more strategy is financial services but some have warned that it seems primarily focused on questionable new technology like cryptocurrency, and on stripping back some of the post-financial crisis rules for banks.
None of this is to say there aren’t considered decisions being taken in Whitehall about Britain’s economic approach.
But taken together, the impression is not of a coherent plan, but a jumble. That might not have been the decisive factor in Arm’s decision, but it is unlikely to have helped.