A plan to privatise the government-owned Port of Dover has provoked "outrage", not least because the French are front-runners to take control of the facility.
According to the Daily Mail, the port needs money to fund an expansion plan, and selling it off could net £350m for our cash-strapped government. The harbour board expects to receive the go-ahead for the "voluntary privatisation", which will likely see Nord-pas-de-Calais regional council, which also owns Calais, adding Dover to its roster of ports.
Chief exec Bob Goldfield explained: "The time is right for the voluntary privatisation of Dover. We want to invest around £400m on a second terminal and need to invest in the existing terminal, but are unable to because of public sector borrowing constraints. We want to throw off the shackles."
The Mail describes the move as "a dramatic reversal in the fortunes" of Calais and Dover, given that the English controlled the former for over 200 years after Edward III's forces launched a successful takeover bid in 1347.
A suitably-outraged prospective Tory MP for Dover, Charles Elphicke, thundered: "It’s clear Gordon Brown has no sense of the history of our nation or the pride of our town. How dare he consider selling it all off to the French? Dover is the English border.
"The people of Dover have a clear message for him - hands off our port, hands off the English border."
The Mail has more on the whole sorry affair, plus a stirring snap of a Spitfire over the White Cliffs of Dover, right here. ®