by RAY FLEMING

GOVERNMENTS (of all colours) get blamed for the mistakes they make and are rightly held to account in due course by the electorate. However, as we have seen recently in the United States, banks and big business can make mistakes that seriously affect the world economy without being blamed except in the most general sense. “Wall Street got drunk”, President Bush was heard to say when he thought the microphones were switched off. Drunk with power and arrogance is presumably what he meant, but will any of those involved be named and shamed?
Last week a deal between the French nuclear power company EDF to bid 12 billion pounds for British Energy was mysteriously called off just as EDF was about to make the official announcement. The idea was that EDF would become the favoured bidder for construction of the urgently needed next generation of British nuclear power stations. British Energy no longer has the ability to undertake such a project but owns several of the sites that would be used.
At the last minute, however, the take-over was stopped. Why? Because someone had failed to check with two major UK investors in British Energy whether the price being offered for their shares by EDF was right. When they were asked at the very last moment, they said it was not.
So the future of Britain's nuclear power programme is in jeopardy someone failed to consult sufficiently. Who was that? Will we ever know? If not, why not? Even if, this time, it was the government!

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