Alphen, Netherlands. 8 October. I have just been listening to Phillip Hammond, the British Secretary-of-State for Defence (Defence Minister), prepare the ground for the forthcoming sell-out of BAE Systems to the French and German-dominated aerospace giant EADS. With a straight face (he does that well) he said that the Government would be willing to countenance the French and German governments retaining almost 20% of the new company even if the British Government had no such equivalent stake, so long as other "safeguards" were in place. This is simply another example of a strategically-illiterate British Government once again acting in haste only to repent later at great strategic cost to a woefully-led country. The thing is Mr Hammond this is not simply another business deal and French and German national interests will not be balanced by institutional shareholders as you imply. If the British Government does not have the same direct influence over the company as France and Germany then whatever your 'safeguards' over time the new company will serve their interests and not those of Britain. Period! By selling out BAE Systems you will risk selling out Britain's future defence. When are you and your government going to start defending the British national interest rather than trying to flog it to the highest bidder?