The Lib Dem mutant formerly known as Ed Davey stood up to make his announcement. The extra organ he had grown in order to accept and promote the use of nuclear power – he kept that under his shirt. But it’s there and it will surely turn on him and eat him up in time to come (or at least by May 2015).
From the look on Michael Fallon’s face on the bench behind, his was the radioactive toxicity that had reorganised the Lib Dem DNA.
The price the department’s paying sounds mad, the conditions onerous and the job forecasts relate almost solely to foreigners.
The radiation had fired up Davey’s political circuits and made him insist that taxpayers weren’t subsidising the project and that – uniquely among large projects – there would be “gainshare” for the public but no “painshare”. By this, he wants us to believe that the public purse isn’t liable for budget overruns and will be credited if the project comes in under budget.
“IF THE PROJECT WHAT?” I hear you scream from here.
Tom Greatrex answered for Labour. His boss Caroline Flint had been detained by a power failure (arf arf). He mocked the ministerial mutation with the thought that the Government line on Labour’s energy policy had been undermined. While Labour wasn’t allowed to freeze energy prices for 20 months, the Government was freezing them for 35 years. Davey said this was economically illiterate.
Davey also said consumers wouldn’t pay over the odds for new nuclear power. That remark will rank along with “Devaluation will not affect the pound in your pocket” and “out of Afghanistan without a shot being fired.”
In Barry Sheerman’s succinct summary: The technology is French, the finance is Chinese and the humiliation is British.