And so, as promised, we turn to that oh-so-cunning Agreement that has even Polly Toynbee (sic) and Billy Bragg (sic) swooning. Seriously, it is a clever piece of work, given the circumstances, though we may be sure that some parts will stand the test of time better than others.
We'll look at Energy later (incidentally, Energy is the biggest single section in the whole doc ! - one of several reasons why I identify the Hand of Letwin on the pen). For now, Trident's the thing.
It may be recalled that when, a full 3 weeks before it was published, we predicted in detail the feasibility of such an Agreement, Trident was one of the things I reckoned Cameron could give to Clegg by way of a symbolic concession: apparently of great magnitude but in practice of no consequence. How so ? Because Trident is not an independent deterrent. It is also formidably expensive.
So what does the Agreement say ?
"The Government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money."
OK, all things to all men etc; but I think we can read between these lines. As with nuclear power, (of which more anon) by what measure could Trident be viewed as value for money ??
An easy target. Scrap. Soon. And turn BAe loose - under a very tight contract, natch - to develop us a truly independent cruise-missile platform.
What do you think ?