Of course the BBC could have used a headline like "French Government Takes Control of Britain's Nuclear Industry", but that, while true, would have overtones of xenophobia, wouldn't it ? Isn't the French state just as valid as the British one ? And besides, as current BE boss Adrian Montague said in a Today interview (Ed Stourton well out of his depth - Montague often ignored his questions and answered ones he hadn't asked), "historically the UK has been extremely open to foreign investment".
"Historically" as in "crime is historically low" - i.e the last twenty-odd years. Prior to that, UK energy generation was UK-controlled and for 50-odd years it was a state utility. No matter.
Besides, as the Beeb's expert (whose name escapes me) pointed out when asked "does it matter that the French government (EDF's largest shareholder) is in effective control of UK nuclear generation ?", all the other, non-nuclear generators are already foreign-owned. Again, not quite answering the question, and again, not being picked up on it.
"Are you concerned that your son has done x ?"
"Well, my daughters have already done y and z"
The idea that, say, any French administration would sell their nuclear industry to the British government is unimaginable.
I wonder how long it'll be before cheap energy is being sent to France via the channel electricity link while UK customers pay through the nose. Currently (a/c/t Wikipedia) no less than 5% of UK electricity comes from France via the link. And I wonder what the implications of this deal - and the other generator sales - would be if Britain wanted to withdraw from the EU ? Energy blackmail seems to be working pretty well for Russia.
UPDATE - Robert Peston, whose BBC blog has some of the best and most insightful credit-crunch coverage, toes the party line.
"EDF's acquisition of our nuclear power industry can be seen as a powerful message of hope."
"Hey, guess what ? I'm not a friendless nerd ! That big kid who ignored me before wants to sit down and share my sweets ! "aka
"It's a spectacular vote of confidence from La Republique no less that the United Kingdom is anything but bust."
One could despair. Has it come to this, that Britain handing over a vital strategic asset to a foreign government - a French one, at that - is presented to us as a favour - a boon gratefully received ? Someone in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises must be chuckling.
Ideas have consequences. A combination of Tory privatisation and the decision, back in the early days of the Blair administration (and driven by Guardianista sentiment), to stop further development of nuclear power, resulted in the necessary engineering skills being in short supply. Now they've changed their minds about it - and golly gosh, who's got the skills now ? Not us. Our rulers should be ashamed, but they're shameless.