|Guardian cartoon: detail. (c) Steve Bell|
Yes, his Hinkley Point white elephant, lumbering and puffing as it is under George Osborne as jockey, nevertheless represents a "dead cert to win Grand National" as it powers ahead of the more worthy nags in the well-bent race. Yes indeed, the fix is in.
But not to everyone's satisfaction evidently, as EDF's finance director Thomas Piquemal resigns in disgust at the stupidity of it all. The EDF unions are pretty unhappy about it, too - they know EDF will need to sell down and slim down if it is to raise the dosh for its share of the Somerset monster, at the same time as completing the EPRs it's already started, rescuing Areva, and extending + decommissioning its vast French fleet. Bon courage with all that, mes braves.
The French and UK governments would like it to be known that this doesn't change anything. Indeed, they allow their whisperers to intimate that M.Piquemal was a hindrance they are glad to be shot of. The City will be the judge of that.
The statement from Dave's mouthpiece - "President Hollande said himself on Thursday afternoon that it has the full support of the French Government" - was a bit loaded, I thought. But Hollande is an ideal candidate for the opprobrium that may be about to follow, as and when reality bites home.
But, actually, it may never do so. You really can suspend the law of gravity - for so long as you are willing to throw money at it. Given the start-up date has already slipped 8 (that's eight) years - now 2025 and counting - Hinkley's electricity output doesn't feature directly in anyone's thinking. So the primary ongoing costs of this endless farting-around are lawyers' fees and reputational damage. Eventually, I suppose, the Chinese will get pretty pissed off at being associated with this shower, at which point any attraction of Hinkley for 'Genius' Osborne evaporates.