Sunday 14 August 2016

Brexitwatch: 'take control' means lose control

‘Take control’ was always a bit of an odd slogan for the Brexiters – dominated as they are by laissez faire right wingers who have happily watched the commanding heights of our economy – the car industry, the railways, etc – sold off to foreign companies. Indeed, apparently two-thirds of our major manufacturing companies are now in overseas hands.

Since Brexit, we have lost even more control. The fall in the pound and slump in shares it caused meant our businesses could be snapped up at knock-down prices. So, for example, Pinewood Studios has gone to the Americans, hi-tech trailblazer ARM was bought by the Japanese, and Qatar has increased its share in the company that owns British Airways.

Another foreign-owned enterprise is Hinkley Point nuclear power station. It looks as though Theresa May would dearly love to cancel it because of the eye-watering price for electricity it commits us to paying, but, the Chinese are major investors, and they have made it clear that if it does not go ahead, they will be severely displeased.

As the Brexiters’ ‘plan’ involves us cosying up to people like the Chinese to replace the trading partners in Europe we are turning our back on, it will be interesting to see how much ‘control’ they dare exercise over Hinkley Point. 

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