Being somewhat embroiled in my own industrial policy just now, this post will be short. The headlines on Tata and the British steel industry, alongside the steady drip of crazy news on EDF's Hinkley Point nonsense, make for desperate reading. Show me one government minister of any industrial experience, let alone 'proven track record of success', as the job application ought to read.
The rumbling UK issue of the first half of this year must soon become entangled with these fiascos. Cameron, surely, will be pressed to go ('cap in hand' as they always put it) to Brussels for some kind of bail-out triumph. The 'remain' camp, presumably, would ideally like Brussels to bung Tata a direct EU 'solidarity' sub: that ain't gonna happen. So the best they can hope for is an approval for some UK taxpayer-funded bailout - which isn't so easy to spin as a reason for staying in, is it? ("See how quickly Mr Juncker approved a breach of his own rules on state aid, isn't it wonderful?!")
But how can the EU be called in aid of Hinkley? They've already twisted themselves in knots to approve the tens, nay hundreds of billions of state aid on offer to the beast. I realise there are no limits to the deviousness of the frogs and Juncker and Mandy and all these disreputable types, so nothing should be ruled out.
Still, their creativity will be stretched to come up with anything plausible on these two fronts in the next couple of months. If they succeed, there will be a long queue for referenda across the entire continent, hahah.