How’s this for a turn-up for the books? A Conservative Chancellor, promoter of free markets and defender of national sovereignty, is boasting of “allowing” (a euphemism, it seems, for “begging”) a totalitarian Communist country to build nuclear power stations in Britain.
It will all start – under a deal expected to be finalised next week – with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power joining the equally nationalised Electricité de France (EDF) in constructing a £14 billion brace of reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Chinese will have a minority share in the project, but have made it clear – and George Osborne accepts this – that they should have a controlling interest in future schemes.
So, much of Britain’s highly sensitive nuclear industry – which sprang from the atomic bomb programme – is effectively to be owned by two foreign powers, one the country’s oldest traditional enemy, the other a bitter Cold War opponent. Few other nations, and certainly not China, would dream of permitting anything of the kind. Doesn’t Mr Osborne see that this could be a bit radioactive, shall we say?
As Mr. Lean goes on to point out the Chinese are the only people currently building nuclear plants on time and to budget. What with this division and specialisation of labour stuff sounds like a good idea to trade with them really.
But no, better by far to deride them as greasy foreigners who shouldn’t be allowed to sully our green and pleasant land with their money and expertise. Pretty transparent really…