back to article French poised to seize Port of Dover

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The biggest shock is that we still own it in the first place, I thought we had sold all our ports to Dubai a few years back. Who cares if they are French, if they invest then its jobs. The British Govt is skint and will not be investing!

  2. paulf

    I'm glad this is bootnotes

    Until I realised this was bootnotes I was getting really worried as to why El Reg felt it had to turn to the Daily Heil for stories.

    Flames - because copies of the Daily Heil tend to combust by themselves - due to that smouldering rage at house prices/immigrants/asylum seekers/gays/the labour party/paedophiles*

    *delete as applicable, although I'm sure they can use the whole list in every issue (probably every story).

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Calm down

      The daily hail has published as a proof of the unseparable Britishness of Dover a snap of a Spitfire in POLISH COLOURS!!!

      This is an Armia Krajova spitfire from the polish squadrons which fought in the battle of Britain. It is not even a British one.

      Nuff said. Not Daily hail, Daily FAIL.

      1. paulf
        Paris Hilton

        Check my spelling

        I put "Daily hEil" - as in a nod to the paper's consistently goose stepping, shreiking, far right position

        Rather than hAil - some notion of greeting, respect or deference (or indeed frozen rain which is what we're getting here today!)

        Paris - She gets frustrated when commentards don't understand her too

        1. Alan Ferris


          Surely you mean the Daily Wail ?

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        "Heritage of defiance"

        I noticed the Spitfire picture was wrong. I wasn't aware it was Polish, but I knew it wasn't British. Oh, and double-whammy irony. They're freaking out over the Frenchies owning the port of Dover, so they'll paste up a picture of a Spitfire to allude to the war and how bad the French are at wars, blah blah blah. Yeah, and, um, which flag is that flying on the tail of said patriotic plane? Sure as hell isn't the Union flag of the United Kingdom!

        FAIL because they couldn't find a picture of a British Spitfire. FAIL because they didn't think to attempt to PhotoShop the one they had. And... I ought to FAIL again for it being the Daily Mail, but that's just scoring cheap shots.

        I posted a comment in the article to ask if it actually matters WHO owns the port, so long as people have jobs and the ferries run on time. No doubt the usual Mail readers will miss the point and scream and shout - but, come on - it isn't as if Britain is much good at running itself. You can blame crap management or you can blame privatisation. The point is foreign investment in the country is HUGE. So some other country will run Dover. Whoo-hoo. Colour me excited. Or not.

        Oh, and TV news - please stop playing that ANNOYING song. Had the author of said song actually ever been anywhere near the white cliffs of Dover, they might have noticed there isn't a single bluebird to be seen. But I suppose "Spa-rrows o-ver the whi-te cliffs of Do-ver" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

        1. Dave Harris


          And "Seagulls over...", whilst accurate, just conjures images of huge white turds descending with a thud

          Title - what do you call a man with a flock of seagulls on his head?

  3. Paul_Murphy

    very favourable at the time..

    >over 200 years after Edward III's forces launched a successful takeover bid in 1347.

    Well, with us anyway, I suspect the French may have felt differently.

    Take-over bids tended to be rather more messy affairs than now.

    How the times change and I can't wait for Sangatte 2 to be opened on English soil.


  4. Bear Features


    And where does this money keep going to? Apart from MPs' expenses that is. ;o)

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Selling England by the Pound

    Well, since we don't make much these days - yet still have bills to pay, it makes sense.You've got to wonder though, what will we all do when the whole place has gone?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand

    why don't the government just get on with it and sell the whole country, we can then lease it back ;)

  7. g e

    Hang on a sec...

    Why would our moronic gov want to sell of Dover and then spend 400M of taxpayers' hard-earned building a second terminal onto someone else's port?

    Cos they ain't gonna own it once they sold it now, are they? Perfect example of government under Gordon Clown.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The price of the sale goes into government funds.

      The investment needed for the second terminal comes from private investment (ie - whoever ends up buying it)

      You obviously knew something was wrong with your moronic reasoning, yet clicked the submit button anyway. Clown away.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Solid, impartial reporting right there. Carry on daily mail.

    Me, I'm waiting for the Chinese to take over the USoA, since they already own most of it anyway, and then India can't stay behind or lose face, so maybe they'll benignly snap up Blighty. Cheaper than buying all of the EU/EC/ECC/ECSC/EWhatever.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the DM loves Dover so much...

    Oh boy. I bet the editor of the Daily Heil literally came in his pants when he first heard about this story!

  10. Richard 120
    Thumb Up

    Might move there

    If it comes under french rule, all the good things about France, the culture, government, hopefully the food too.

    But then none of the downsides, like the being in France & the French.

  11. Steve Swann

    Daily Fail

    "According to the Daily Mail..."

    you'd lost me by that point. I could get more accurate reporting from The Beano.

  12. Scott Thomson

    Aren't the airports Spanish already?

    Aren't all the BAA Airports owned by a Spanish company?

    Doesn't mean that we have a Spanish border as you pass through security. Ownership by a company of forign nationality doesn't mean that it becomes part of that country.

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Efficiencies of scale

    On the plus side, the French will be able to blockade both sides at once.

    Paris, because somebody there must be looking...

  14. Rogue Genome


    Ohh the irony, spitfire has been painted to represent those polish pilots stationed in the u.k during the war.

  15. Dave Murray

    Sense of History

    It's clear Charles Elphicke has no sense of the history of our nation or he'd realise us Scots have no issues with the French and were allied with them against the English. Gordon is just selling them Dover as part of the Auld Alliance!

  16. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Something left to sell?

    Thought that the government had sold everything already.

    Meanwhile over here in Madrid, you couldn't ask for a better Metro or railway (Funnily enough supported by the government, rather than sold-off to bribe voters with lower taxes and to pay for all those house extensions / refurbishments / John Lewis TVs for MPs)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile over here in Madrid

      Must be a different Madrid to the one I'm in. My drive to work takes twenty minutes, by metro it takes at least an hour even with a metro station literally at the door at both ends. Oh, and the private security guards are what I imagine PCSO's to be but with an inferiority complex about a thousand times greater.

  17. Elmer Phud

    Mp's still not in touch with the real world.

    Mp's are part of a system of nobility that the French brought with them a few years back.

    Yeah, I know it's supposed to be democracy but they all want to be Lords or have bloody moats and duck houses as part of thier feudal landholdings.

    Anyway - the French already own our water, leccy, mobiules, nuclear power so what's the big fuss?

    Oh, it's 'Dover'.

    White Cliffs, Vera Lynne and all the rest of the British Empire fascism.

    But now we are to get truck-loads of 'illegals' waved through British (or is it French) customs who have to stand there as the new French invasion begins -- they'll be coming up the Thames Estuary next, we have been warned. Bringing the Tour de France over was the thin end of the wedge, the gradual infiltration by 'French Markets' has continued the move and only a few brave (though no doubt with French nobility blood there somewhere) right(wing)-minded Members have stood up to say 'Non!'

  18. Dan Howarth
    Thumb Down

    I stopped....

    I stopped reading after "According to the Daily Mail..."

  19. James 51


    It's not like they can close it and move all the work to Eastern Europe or China. If they have the money and want to invest it, why not? Sounds like it's future would be a lot more secure under the new ownership.

  20. Nimrod

    Another Daily Wail Non Story

    As a resident of Dover here is my take on this non-story.

    Given that Dover Harbour Board have only very recently submitted a formal application to put themselves up for sale, coupled with the proximity of the General Election and the desparate need for the current govenrment to hold on to as many seats as possible do not expect anything to happen any time soon; much as the government dislike Gwynn Prosser (MP for Dover) I doubt they will shaft him over this.

    Further, the proposed sale structure has yet to be worked out, but alll the noises from the Dover Harbour board are that they want to ensure that workers, the workers pension funds and locals in East Kent all have an opportunity to take shares in the new entity and also want to cast the net for shareholdings as wide as possible so are not seeking a single owner. In fact the deal may well be structured to preclude this. Yes Calais are interested, they would be fools if they were not, given the port makes over £15m profit each year, but where are they going to find £3-400m to acquire the harbour and then a further £400m for investment to upgrade it? Once in "private" hands HMG will nto be pouring money in for future investment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't see it happening either

      I'm also a native of Dubris, raised in Deal (same constituency) and I can't see this happening any time soon. It would spell certain defeat for Prosser, as David Shaw's love of privatisation did for him in 1997.

  21. The Indomitable Gall

    Best thing for it.

    If it's up for sale, it's best off being bought by the French -- Nord-Pas-de-Calais make a phenomenal amount of money off sales taxes at "booze-cruise" hypermarkets and wine warehouses, and the biggest customers of the ferries are tourists heading to France and French haulier Norbert Dentressangle delivering goods to the UK.

    A French-owned Calais would be an investment that would be expected to pay off in multiple ways -- sell it to a corporation and it's profit above all else.

    I'm not in favour of privatisation, not by any stretch, but this xenophobic "not the froggies" nonsense is risible. If we sell, they're the best buyer.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I'm outraged!!!!!!!!

    It's the fault of those immigrants and scroungers again. The very same ones who killed Lady Di, and kidnapped Maddie Mccann!!!!!!! Oh why oh why cant we bring back Norman Tebbitt?????

    For a slightly more sane article:

  23. Ian Ferguson

    I wonder if the journalist has ever been to Dover

    Typical Daily Mail xenophobia. Dover is the shithole to end all shitholes, and is frankly embarrassing as the first thing visitors to our nation see. Hopefully a bit of investment will give it a lick of paint at least.

    It's not like a French company would put up a massive sign saying 'Bonjour! Welcome to French-occupied Britain'

    1. fred #257

      Can't trust the French....

      "It's not like a French company would put up a massive sign saying 'Bonjour! Welcome to French-occupied Britain' "

      Why ever not? They did in 1066, remember. :)

  24. Is it me?

    £15m Annual Profit for £400m

    Doesn't sound like good business to me. Now if it's "Give us the dosh", we'll build the terminal and give you an annual return of £45m, that's good business.

  25. Ned Fowden

    of course thwey can't afford it

    they just gave £50m in aid to Haiti ... we can afford to let our tax money go out in aid but heaven forbid we should do anything to benefit our oqwn country

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just a though...

      ..but why don't you fuck off to the Daily Mail webshite where your comments may be better appreciated.

  26. DominicT

    Heh, Tory fail

    You have to love it - the Tories love of privatisation is coming back to bite them. If they hadn't started selling everything off and trumpting the 'free market' in the first place then 'New Labour' would never have been invented and this wouldn't have happened. So state ownership of ports is now bad while another country owning our water companies is somehow good? They can't have it both ways...

  27. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Vee don't afraid of ze locals

    Vee vill just send a few monkeys in military uniforms, and vhen the locals are finished 'anging 'em vee vill quietly take control unnoticed.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Why do so many contributors hate their own country and the people in it? Are you all Guardian reading self loathing lefties? You have no pride in what this country has achieved? and are happy to see it dismantled bit by bit by foreign companies? Why?

    Do you think the French would allow any of their industries to be sold off so easily? Think again. You may think that the new world is entirely globalistic, but unfortunately its not. France and Germany to name two do their utmost to protect their industry and assets. Whilst you lot applaud your own demise.

    Re:Spitfire, a British invention, don't forget and please remember that this "British fascist Empire" as some tosser described it , declared war on Germany to protect Poland. So more symbolic in Polish marking than you realise.

    Only a fool or a crook sells off profitable enterprises. In Gordon Brown, you have both.

  29. Graham Bartlett

    Yeah, let's privatise it

    Because it gave *such* great benefits for the public when they privatised the buses, the trains, British Telecom, British Gas, airports, mining, steel production, schools, prisons, ...

    If the banking crisis has proved anything, it's that not only are "market forces" are totally crap at giving their customers a decent service, but they actually end up costing more. The only people who benefit are company shareholders, who cream off the slush fund from the increased cost. Which is great for shareholders, but no damn good for the people who are using the services. When the people using the services are supposed to be the people benefitting (i.e. the public), this seriously sucks.

  30. Bilgepipe

    For Sale

    FOR SALE: One Country. Used, needs work. Apply at Palace of Westminster after 8pm. No time wasters.

  31. Graham 25
    Thumb Up

    Its Dover we're talking about here

    Its not worth saving - its just a coastal version of Watford Gap Services.

  32. LPF

    The only reason they are considering this..

    Is that the labour goverment refuses to allow them to borrow money at the lower

    government rates , as we used to do before PFI. This is why councils are no loger allowed to

    buidl council houses, if they did it would show that PFI is the biggest swindle ever created.

    This means that for dover to invest in the port they have to sell off to gain the investment, as the

    government refuses to allow them to borrow the money.

    1. Dave Harris

      Refresh my memory

      Now who was it that introduced PFI initially. And who was it that introduced right-to-buy legislation but refused to let LAs invest that money in replenishing local housing stocks... can't quite put my finger on it

  33. ian 22

    The Frogs again?!?

    So now the wogs will begin at Dover?

    What's next? Will we surrender the pound in exchange for the gram? A bad exchange, I'll tell you! Oh, wait....

  34. Mart 2


    for everyone who says that its good because they'll bring French standard but no French people and will generate more jobs for local people have obviously never visited a French retailer e.g. Decathlon, centre of London yet fully staffed by the French....

    I have nothing against the French, but as someone said Dover is a British border point! Although they might be good at shipping the illegal immigrants back judging from their handling of the refugee camps

    1. Ivor Kintol D'uso

      re Mart2

      <I have nothing against the French>

      For goodness sake wash your mouth out!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I for one, welcome our Froggy overlords

    Vive la difference!

  36. Rod MacLean

    Cash flow?

    If it didn't make money, no-one would want to buy it.

    So why don't the government just hold on to it and make the money themselves?

    1. Francis Offord

      Anti English Bias

      That is too simple, remember that ownership is theft, according to those who envy and do nothing.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another 1066

    shotgun, bagsy the tapestry, it will be worth a pretty penny.

    But, knowing our luck they will get the wrong eye this time.

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