Effectively, the Government wants to sell a bank in order to prove that it can actually sell all the other banks it has bought on our behalf.
Only, it can't sell Northern Wreck, because it is still losing money hand over fist. Another £500 million this year. On top of the £3 billion taxpayers have already contributed.
Oh, and Tesco only want the deposits and the performing loans. And the offer is £1 billion.
So let's do some very back of envelope maths (this is the type most used in the treasury according to my sources):
Taxpayers - £3 billion in, plus holding £60 billion of loans sat with a 5% default rate. So add another £3 billion to that. Plus the extra £500 million loss this year. Plus £8.75 billion loan still outstanding, but expected to be paid back, without interest.
Total: £6.5 billion expected loss, on current liabilities of circa £70 billion.
Sale price to Tesco to cover losses: £1 billion.
Brilliant, ain't it?