We are all broken records now, repeating ourselves over and over: the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Scot Nats, Have I Got News For You – each with their topical and satirical remit. So why should I be any different?

Sitting this morning in a brasserie in Laval overlooking the Mayenne River, I picked up my copy of Le Figaro, finding a space for it amid the debris of my petit déjeuner. I was immediately struck by a story on the front page of the business section beneath the headline, “British Steel Devient Chinois”.

I had heard something about this on the car radio the previous afternoon and immediately read on. British Steel, whose Scunthorpe foundry represents all that is left of a once-mighty corporation dating back, in its various guises, nearly two centuries, looks set to be bought for the derisory sum of £70 million by the Chinese steelmaker Jingye.

Jingye, it turns out, is not even one of the larger Chinese steel corporations. It is dwarfed by a number of its domestic rivals, including Baowu, Hegang, Shagang and Jianlong. But its directors have more than enough money in their back pockets to promise £1.2 billion of investment in their latest toy acquisition over the next decade.

In recent years, successive British Governments, in combination with the European Commission, have condemned the practise of steel-dumping by the Chinese. Now, always assuming the deal goes through, British Steel is to become a subsidiary of a Chinese steelmaker, which means that more than 90 per cent of UK production will be controlled either by China or by the Tata Corporation of India, current owners of the furnaces at Port Talbot, in South Wales.

No British bidder emerged to buy the Scunthorpe operations. So no surprise there. When did a British investor last come to the rescue of any company employing a large numbers of workers, usually with large-scale pension liabilities? Face it, that is not the British way. It hasn’t been for 50 years. The only rival to Jangye was, amusingly, Oyak, the company that runs the pension fund of the Turkish army, which pulled out at the last moment after it realised the extent of what needed to be done .

The seller is, Greybull, an investment fund run by the French entrepreneur Marc Meyohas, which bought British Steel for a nominal £1 as recently as 2016 but, despite putting a squeeze on the workforce, was unable to turn it round.

To put all this in context, 310,000 people were employed in the steel industry in the UK in 1971. Today, the jobs total has fallen to just under 10,000, with further redundancies considered inevitable.