Saving AstraZeneca From The Filthy Foreigners Only Keep The Toffs Rich And Happy
YOU may have noticed in all this talk about whether Pfizer should be allowed to buy AstraZeneca a certain amount of economic nationalism going on. You know, It’s ours, British, don’t let the bastard foreigners have it? That this isn’t in fact true, it’s not British, is obvious, as the Institute of Directors has pointed out:
“It is misleading to present AstraZeneca as some kind of UK national champion. The company is a truly multinational enterprise that was created through the earlier mergers of UK, Swedish and American companies. The majority of its employees are based outside Europe and its shareholders are overwhelmingly foreign institutional investors. It is run by a Frenchman and chaired by a Swede. It is a multinational company active in a global economy.”
I’m more English than that and I haven’t lived in the place for 20 years now.
So what is actually going on when we get guff like this thrown at us?
But the sight of the Government grovelling to an overseas corporation, seeking to merge with one of our most highly successful science-based companies, is little short of sickening.
Conservative justification for supporting what would be the biggest foreign takeover of a British company is, to my mind, based on short-sighted political point-scoring.
Well, basically what is going on here is that we’ve got a lot more petty nationalist xenophobes than we thought we did. But that’s not all that is happening. AstraZeneca is wise in the ways of political press relations. They undoubtedly have (indeed, it could only be one of three companies) a company pottering around stirring up the shit over this. Nothing at all to do with actually what is right for Britain or the company, but the management throwing the shareholders’ money at “emergency measures” (and believe me, these things are charged at emergency rates too) in order that said management might be able to keep their cushy jobs.
And thus all these articles about how beastly it would be to sell to Johnny Foreigner. And the only reason we’re not seeing the backlash of articles is because he is Johnny Foreigner and doesn’t understand how the game is played here.
Another way of putting this is that it’s the British Establishment making sure that there’s always a few board places on a big British company’s board for parts of the British Establishment. If we let the damn Yanks in we’ll never get a look in, will we?