James Moore: Sorry Dick – despite what you say, the in-laws just don't like this marriage

Outlook The stock response by BAE Systems' chairman, Dick Olver, to just about any of the increasing number of awkward questions which have been raised about his ambitions to merge the company with EADS is that it's a great deal, trust us.

Don't worry about job losses, there's very little overlap between the two. Don't worry about who will be holding the whip hand over the, erm, Franco, German, Anglo, Spanish, Dutch hotchpotch, it'll be the customers (and the jobs will follow them).

Don't worry about where the corporate headquarters and the natural centre of gravity of the business is, we haven't yet decided. But the civil business will be headquartered in Toulouse (for now) and the defence business in London (for now). The corporate headquarters will effectively be in an Airbus we'll be dusting down to ferry the executive committee around, because the nature of a truly global business like this means they'll be spending most of their lives in the air (but expect the corporate hq to be nominally in Toulouse anyway, even if it doesn't matter, which it does).

The problem with any deal like this is you can only work out whether the baubles promised by the architects are made of fools' gold or the real thing after five years or so. Five years ago (give or take) BAE pulled out of EADS and Airbus, and its shares shot up. But the world has changed, says Mr Olver, and now combining a civil aerospace business with defence looks like a great deal.

Except it doesn't. EADS wants the deal (or at least its executives do) because it hopes to rid itself of its political entanglements. BAE needs it because the defence market has been shrinking, because its shareholders are starting to ask awkward questions about where it is going, and because it's just possible that its preferred partner (Rolls-Royce anyone?) jilted it.

Trouble is, relationships begun on the rebound rarely end well. And Mr Olver has serious problems with the in-laws. This may be a "great deal" for BAE; EADS's chief executive, Tom Enders, may even manage to convince his masters in Paris that it's a great deal for them and that they'll still be able to exercise informal influence over the combined entity without a seat on the board

But President Barack Obama is another matter entirely. Mr Olver can talk about special security arrangements that prevent executives with dual nationalities from looking at propellers in Barrow (or in Baltimore) until he's blue in the face. That won't stop the Republicans from accusing Mr Obama of selling out the US military to the French if they feel in need of scoring a cheap point or two.

And what about Angela Merkel? Her political rivals are bound to cry foul at the prospect of the German part of the Franco-German EADS being vapourised in the untidy melange of the new company. German unions are already fuming.

They won't be inclined to take much on trust and talk of the deal's greatness won't be enough to convince them. One might ask why the British Government should be any different.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?