As businesses around the world knuckle down and focus on rationalising their investment strategies, the UK has been making some surprising decisions in juggling its national coffers. Perhaps inspired by manufacturing sell-offs and shutdowns around the world, PM Brown recently moved to rid himself of the burden of owning a nuclear deterrent by selling the UK’s last remaining stake in its own nuclear weapons development capability. The Aldermaston site, scene of many a happy protest in years gone by, is now wholly owned by the private sector with majority foreign ownership.
Never fear however, because the dwindling deterrent that is Trident has been replaced by what could be a far more effective turn-off for any overly-aggressive foreign power – dispatching an army of indominatible British tourists into the world armed with trusty guide books. Through BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial outfit, the British taxpayer now effectively owns Lonely Planet guides, undisputed weapon of the Brit abroad. So forget old-fashioned Cold War style nuclear deterrents – 21st century Britain defends itself by frightening the life out of overseas neighbours through the yobbishness of its tourists.
Not content with that purchase, Brits can now of course revel in national ownership of a large chunk of the creaking finance sector. Most recently Royal Bank of Scotland joined the crowd and is now 70% owned by its compatriot son Mr Brown. Its balance sheet alone is bigger than the UK national account. Makes you feel a tad vulnerable, doesn’t it?
NOTE: Contrary to most of the ramblings on this site, this article is not only not about climate change but, more alarmingly, is mostly based on fact:
Nuclear sale: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7793171.stm
Lonely planet: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7021791.stm
RBS large balance sheet: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a0zgIzFIXSl8&refer=home