Britain used to pride itself on its openness to foreign investment. For decades it has allowed foreigners to build its infrastructure, provide its services and buy its leading companies. While the French declared yoghurt a strategic sector, Britain boasted of the Wimbledonisation of the City of London in which all the top players were from overseas.
Yet Britain’s taste for open markets may have finally found its limits in, of all places, the newspaper industry. A bid by an Abu Dhabi-backed entity for The Telegraph newspapers and The Spectator magazine has turned some of Britain’s most fervent free marketeers into frothing protectionists. A ferocious campaign is underway in parliament and the media to convince the government to block the deal.
It’s only a free market if they say so, else the government should block the deal. Neoliberals contradictions.