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July 23, 2007



Whilst you're undoubtably right in your emotion that the bureaucrats will bow to lobbying and protect some companies that don't deserve it, the notion of "sensitive industries" (please note, he doesn't say "key industries" the way you do) has little to do with economics and more to do with military politics.

It's sort of ironic, because you Marxists are supposed to be more aware of the influence of Power on relations than the average economist.

I don't doubt that some of the government worries about Gazprom owning our power infrastructure, or the Chinese buying the Eurofighter factory are overdone, but you need to put a better case than you have so far that international markets and consumers understand or even care about national/co-national regional power issues before you get on your high horse.


You seem to have missed the point - which is that these are foreign bureacrats taking control of companies. Would it be so wrong to pass a law saying no bureacrats should control them?


This is the Wizard of Oz "Don't look behind the curtain" sleight of hand by which states pretend that the EU is responsible for anything they don't want to fess up to.

What is happening here is that Mandelson is bowing to pressure from individual states, it is they that will own the shares after all, to allow certain protectionist measures that would currently fall foul of EU law. His final coda is to say that he will only allow it if they aren't taken to prevent, say, a German or French power company from buying a Spanish one. The alternative here is for the EU to allow member states whatever golden share arrangements they want.

If you are going to blame Mandelson for something there it should be for not standing firmly enough but I don't see that he has any leverage to do better.


Here's one example of this kind of protectionism that you may be prepared to agree with Chris: The Cultural Exception:


The French do it in a way that annoys people. We Brits do it much more effectively, we're much more protectionist on cultural trade than almost any other country in the world - and we get a cultural output that we're very pleased with.

I suppose you do have a readership who are obsessed with two things - the EU Superstate and the BEEB's liberal bias. They're probably the only constituency who don't like UK cultural protectionism.

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