I'm far from being a major fan of many state owned businesses, but is anyone else slightly worried about how there has recently been huge investment in key aspects of British industry (and life) by foreign companies?
George Osbourne is currently in China (with Boris Johnson) and has recently announced that a key infrastructure and energy project for the UK: a new nuclear power plant in Somerset, is to be allowed to be partially owned by Chinese companies with further allowances towards Chinese companies to own majority stakes. The company that will initially have the majority stake will be the French state-owned giant EDF.
I have many many huge concerns over this. There are security concerns: in China the government and large companies very much merge and we need to remember that this will mean China has access to the National Grid and more importantly how our energy system has been constructed and how it is controlled. We need to remember that China is currently sending cyber attacks towards this country and many others. All Chinese firms are answerable to the Communist Party.
Secondly there are environmental concerns: Osbourne of course promises that it will be regulated by Britain to British standards but whose to say with some cash these standards don't slip? Thirdly there is the national issue over why the hell we can't invest in our own bloody power anymore? As a country we were pioneers of this form of energy, now we are unable to provide any of the investment towards this new project.
I know in our country, what with immigration and our naive belief that "globalisation" is the answer to all our problems, nationality is seen as less of an issue. But as someone who has visited China twice now it's not exactly the case there. In China, Japan and Korea (and even the US and Russia) there is a much stronger sense of national unity and putting your own country first. China wants British money and energy, not British hospitality.
All major parties seem to be for this new direction of embracing foreign investment: Labour no doubt have an eye on looming power shortages in 2015, Nick Clegg took a very laissez-faire approach to the issue, and the Conservatives - supposedly the champions and supporters of a patriotic Britain - seem hellbent on selling off absolutely everything to the highest bidder, regardless of who they are or where they're from.
Other countries have strict laws. In the US, Australia and Canada foreign companies are prevented from owning key infrastructure. France try to keep key infrastructure nationalised. We seem to take the opposite view.
George Osbourne earlier in his trip said "I see China as a great opportunity, not a threat" and the Chinese are now investing in Manchester Airport. Earlier in the year they started to invest in Thames Water.
Looking at this from a 50 year perspective I don't think it's good for the country, nor for consumers.
^ George and Boris in China.
Edited by ShotgunGold, 18 October 2013 - 12:26 PM.