Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Look out - incoming!
1 September 2018, 20:49 | Updated: 1 September 2018, 20:52
A new report says Britain remains the number one destination in Europe for foreign investment. Put out the bunting – Global Britain wins again.
Despite warnings from what Uncle Nige would call the whingers, the whiners and the moaners that a leave vote would deter foreign investors, the report says London remains the number one city globally for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said this proves the economy will remain competitive whatever the outcome of the Brexit talks.
Great news...except that it doesn't prove anything of the kind, unless the report comes with a crystal ball as a paperweight.
How does Dr Fox know what will happen, regardless of the Brexit deal?
What's he a doctor in - divinity?
Did he hear it from God?
Regardless of what happens down the road, in the here and now, The Department for International Trade estimates foreign investors are holding a record £1.2trillion of assets in the UK in relation to FDI projects.
Isn't that fantastic? No, not necessarily.
How many times have you read in a paper that some totally British company that wraps itself in the flag and trumpets its British Britishness is actually owned by Indians, or Americans or Aby – bloomin-syrians?
We don't own anything anymore and this FDI is the reason - people comin' over here, buying up our stuff.
If The Will of the People is to get our country back, I have bad news: we’ve already sold it to the Saudis.
That's what foreign direct investment is – companies abroad buying up British companies, running them from Qatar or wherever, and booking the profits in an office on a moon circling Jupiter for tax reasons.
Think of it, if we are doing so well out of all this foreign investment, how come wages are going down – where's the benefit for us poor dopes who pay taxes?
If we're doing so well out of flogging everything we own to some medieval petro state dictatorship or evil American hedge fund, how come we can’t afford anything?
We can't afford to treat the sight of pensioners that are going blind, we can't afford to fix their hips and knees either, we can't afford to fix the potholes in the roads that are actually killing people, we can't afford to equip our soldiers with the kit they need to do their jobs and we can't afford to put police persons on the beat to keep us all safe from getting stabbed and shot and burgled.
When you actually look at our crumbling infrastructure, when you try to remember the last time you got a seat on a train to work, when you see how long it takes to get an appointment with your GP, assuming you still have one in your area, and you try and fail to think of a single company that displays its British heritage that is actually still British, you have to wonder if FDI is actually a synonym for selling the country down the river for a quick profit. A profit which is, of course, shared exclusively among the already super-rich.
Foreign direct investment is mergers and acquisitions – when that American company bought Cadbury's – that was foreign direct investment.
When the private equity firm bought Boots the chemist – that was foreign direct investment.
When the Germans and the French and the Australians bought our water and electricity and gas – that was foreign direct investment too.
When we sold off ICI and P&O and Jaguar and our steel and glass and airports – that was all foreign direct investment.
Last year, foreign companies spent £35billion acquiring 254 UK companies - gone, no longer British.
We shouldn't be celebrating this, we should be curtailing it.
Foreign direct investment is vital for third world countries to grow – they don't have the money to invest in their own businesses to compete on the world stage – but for first world countries, it is often just profiteering.
Small British businesses are being bought up by fewer and fewer companies which use their might to crush the outfits that they haven't acquired.
The result is that everything you buy is on one web site and the all food you eat is made by just five enormous companies and the power you use is provided by a small handful of mega-corporations.
People are losing good jobs working in actual shops, dealing with actual people, earning decent money and paying taxes and they find themselves working for peanuts in some hell-hole warehouse picking things off shelves for minimum wage while all the money that used to use to make the country go round ends up in the pocket of some offshore megalomaniac who spends it on space ships.
But please Dr Fox, do tell us some more about how fantastic this all is.