With its financial muscle the Arab nation has become a major player on the global stage. And nowhere has the impact of that power been felt more keenly than in Britain.
Qatar might be only the size of Belgium with a population a quarter of London’s but its colossal economic strength has enabled it to take over vast swathes of our commercial life. Property, airports, retail firms and utilities in the UK have all fallen to the might of this monarchy, whose enthusiasm for buying up trophy assets abroad is matched by its determination to maintain authoritarian Islamic rule at home.
That deepening economic subservience to our former territory was graphically illustrated again this week by two events. The first was the announcement that the Qatari royal family is planning a large investment in the controversial £50billion HS2 rail link, focused on a major new station and housing scheme in central Birmingham.
The second was the news that the Qatar Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, is soon to table a new bid to take over Songbird Estates which owns the iconic Canary Wharf tower in east London, one of the best-known modern symbols of British capitalism.