Don’t mention the war!
It’s ironic that most Brits who “remember” World War II with such fervor at every Germany vs England soccer match weren’t even born when hostilities ceased in 1945.
Yet national pride is as strong as ever.
So when the Messerschmitt-makers look set to take over the Spitfire factory, it’s nothing short of a national calamity. It’s rewriting history. After all, who won the war?
This fundamental of the British national psyche is more likely to prevent the proposed EADS-BAE Systems merger than any anti-monopoly commission. Members of Parliament will be fanning the flames, pandering to their constituents with emotionally-charged rhetoric of how “we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender” to the captains of EADS.
The politicians’ indignation, no matter the commercial realities, will fuel the sensationalistic tabloid press, which never misses a chance to whip up another campaign of pseudo-patriotism.
But in truth, BAE Systems long ago forsook its Britishness when, in 1999, it rejected overtures from then-Daimler Aerospace (DASA), turned its back on Europe and looked to the U.S. with the acquisition of GEC Marconi. It even dropped “British” from its name, British Aerospace, breaking from its national identity.
The spurned DASA merged instead with Aerospatiale in France and CASA in Spain to form the basis of today’s EADS.
Now the players can create the world’s largest defense and aerospace company, if only the British public can swallow their pride and forget the war.