Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, unexpectedly announced that a Â£270 million loan guarantee would be given to General Motors Europe, the parent company.
Unexpectedly? Very unexpectedly! Because not all that long ago:
Unions had criticised Lord Mandelson, saying he had been on the periphery of discussions concerning the future of Vauxhall, and the UK government, unlike its German counterpart, has made no specific financial commitments to safeguard the carmaker’s future.
The business secretary defended himself by saying that he had received commitments from Magna about continuing production at UK plants.
It’s a remarkable volte-face, is it not? Especially from a man who is as pragmatic and business-savvy as Lord Mandelson. It would only be a person of the most breathtaking levels of cynicism could be motivated to even begin to think about conceiving the very idea that our Business Minister would dare to even contemplate the concept of spending Â£270 million of taxpayer money in this ruined economy to fund business to keep key marginals on-side.
Surely something so ludicrous could never have crossed his mind?