8 Feb 2011

Spanner in works of search and rescue sell-off

You could not have made it up! It reads like an item in Private Eye. The Government, in the full spate of selling vast amounts of public silverware, which seems to include the kitchen sink, comes a cropper whilst trying to sell the search and rescue service. The military police are on the case.

It’s a £6bn pound “business”, and some of the biggest names in helicopters and the rest are in the bidding consortium. To some the idea of selling such a service that provides lifelines from John O’Groats to Lands End has appeared somewhat fanciful.

It’s tricky finding any detail to this scandal. But there’s enough stuff knocking round the official account to finger a “former civil servant” in the Ministry of Defence who, it is believed, passed sensitive information to the winning bidder. Yes it’s that juiciest of revolving doors that swing between Whitehall and some of the biggest arms dealers in the world. You meet them in Saudi, you meet them in Egypt, Nigeria, India and now it seems, John O’Groats.

Today’s news is going to throw a spanner beyond this selloff. Too much money can be made in these deals. Will we even ever know how many millions this foul-up has cost tax payers? Oh, and is anyone going to be detained at Her Maj’s pleasure? Answers on a virtual postcard please!

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