Stephen Franks sums it up brilliantly.
Instinctively hating these kind of sales is not stupid. It is no more stupid than railing against the waiting list and the x-ray machinery idle in a hospital because the radiologists have gone to Australia to double their incomes. What is stupid is not thinking it through to the solution. The solution is not banning “strategic assets” (whether people or wires or airports) from leaving. The solution is to stop voting for politicians who lie and pander to us, who pass laws that destroy our drive, and our risk-taking incentives, and our education quality, and our family strength.
Fear of foreign control is natural and healthy. There is a nasty suspicion that it will come to no good in the end. Ownership matters. As head offices leave a city so does self confidence and the kinds of people who exercise leadership, and arts patronage and interesting careers for our children.
But we are the feckless tenants who complain about their rent, while their landlord lives in a smaller house in a crumby part of town with lots of family, rarely drinks, never eats out, while his kids do paper rounds and shifts in the family dairy fitted around their home work. We’d rather specialize in singing and dancing, and booze and loaf than save to buy our own house, or even better, some houses overseas we could rent to foreigners.