Or at least the tosh talking one.
This is a lesson with far wider significance. Our present economic woes are in no small part down to the fact that economies grew not on the basis of such real exchanges, but on the movement of numbers on a screen. And that’s also why foreign ownership isn’t really the central issue. Whether French or British, the privatisation would put the docks not so much into the wrong hands, as out of human hands altogether. Instead of having custodians, the docks would simply become data in a spreadsheet, squeezed for every last drop of profit, with no thought to their social or historic importance.
Err, yes. The docks are a business. Should be treated like one too.
It’s a bitter irony that, just as the National Trust is successfully raising funds to buy a section of the White Cliffs of Dover for the benefit of the nation, the Government could be about to sanction the sale of another stretch right next to it. Dover Harbour Board, a non-profit independent statutory body which has run the docks since 1606, wants to privatise the docks, along with a section of the cliffs that form part of their backdrop.
And that\’s the sort of emotionalism, mixing the iconic white cliffs with the port, that philosophy is rather supposed to abjure, isn\’t it?