Jim Armitage: BAE needs iron pledges to submit to this marriage

Clinton realises the BEARDS jets are foreign-made. ‘Scrap the deal,’ she tells the Pentagon
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Outlook It's 2016. The second Obama administration is drawing near an end. Republican leader Clint Eastwood is close to becoming the oldest film star ever to become president.

Hillary Clinton needs a campaign winner fast if she's to return to the White House. Suddenly, an idea. She gets the Pentagon on the line: "That $400bn contract for battery-powered ecoTyphoons.... Ain't they made by them foreigners: BEARDS? They are? Well, scrap it and hire Boeing." She turns to the Oval Office mirror and practises the phrase "American jobs for American workers," with various tough facial expressions.

The news goes down badly in the Elysée Palace, where the merged BAE and EADS is now headquartered. François Hollande, president of both France and BEARDS, bangs his fist on the desk. Thousands of workers will have to go. The ecoTyphoon is built at two sites – one in a marginal constituency outside Paris and another in Lancashire. Hmm. Which to close…?

BAE must have cast-iron guarantees that EADS is divorced from the French and German governments before agreeing to this marriage.