Outlook: Wonderland logic
Friday 28 May 1999
Er, we were following the adviceof the Office of Fair Trading, said a spokesman. More than that, we cannot say because it is commercially confidential. The OFT was a little more forthcoming. We would only advise on claiming it back from Brussels if we thought there was a competition case to answer here in the UK, a spokeswoman explains. So does that mean the OFT thinks there is no competition issue? We're not saying that. Our advice to the Secretary of State has to be confidential.
Two serious points emerge from this nonsense. The first is the need for mergers policy and decision making to be transparent and open. With the apparent exception of the Government and the OFT's John Bridgeman, almost everyone believes allowing Airtours to establish a duopoly of the package holiday market with Thomson would be highly anti-competitive. If the authorities think otherwise, they should explain themselves, regardless of the risk of judicial review.
Second, if the Government refuses jurisdiction when it is offered, what hope of gaining it when Brussels is less inclined to let go? A recent instance of this was the disgraceful episode of Electricite de France's unconditional bid for London Electricity, which both technically and logically, should never have been positively vetted by Brussels. This is a government which is meant to be pro-competition. There's not much evidence of it in this decision.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Harrison Ford plane crash: Actor will make full recovery thanks to 'beautifully executed' landing
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Oxford whistleblower's attempt to protect young victim of a sadistic gang went unheeded
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...
£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...