UK Government to Sell North Sea?

For Sale: No reasonable offer refused

Documents have emerged to suggest that in the 1980s the UK Government was considering selling off its stake in the North Sea. The United Kingdom has owned a 12 mile strip of the sea bordering its coast since George III won it in a poker game in 1798. Initially very pleased with his new acquisition, the mad monarch spent many a happy hour paddling in the shallows, before finally becoming bored and gifting it to the nation.

Not that the nation particularly wanted it - most people felt that they already had quite enough water as it was and they had no use for any more of the stuff. It was too salty to drink, too wet to burn and anybody venturing into it for recreational purposes usually found that they were rapidly chased out again by stroppy prawns. It was only with the discovery of oil and gas deposits that the North Sea began to have any value, but by 1982 there were concerns that dwindling reserves would soon put an end to this bounty.

Various schemes were put forward at that time, including turning it into a giant ice rink, filling it with Alka Seltzer to create a National Jacuzzi, and painting it green and calling it 'Arthur'. In the end a wealthy buyer was found in the Middle East who was interested in shipping it out to Saudi Arabia and using it to wash his fleet of Rolls Royces. The deal ultimately fell through following objections from Norway who feared that once the UK chunk of sea was removed, their bit would fall into the gap left behind.

Nevertheless, it has emerged that a sale is once more being considered - rumour has it that a private consortium in Central America has expressed an interest in using it to build an extension to the Gulf of Mexico.

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