In this weather, you don’t want to be doing any work. You want to be courtside at SW19, slobbering over strawberries and Swiss musculature. So, when ol’ Fishlips Gove’s name flashed up on the iPhone just as Clarke was loading the Fortnums hamper on the backseat, my heart skipped a beat. Had that silly boy Gove finally been given his marching orders by the headmistress after ripping up all his schoolbooks in a fit of pique? For a second I imagined ordering Clarke to take me to Smith Square instead and slipping into the hand-tooled boss’s seat, but no.
Instead, it turns out that Dave’s ambitions were even more Drastic than any of us could imagine -he’s gone and done a deal with Carrefour.
As one of the UK’s leading competition regulators, I performed a rapid preliminary examination of the deal and its potential impact on the consumer. Now, let’s see. The UK’s largest grocery chain, which recently acquired the UK’s largest wholesaler, is now getting into bed with the world’s second-largest retailer to strengthen its position in the face of a merger between the UK’s number one and number three retailers, the latter of which is already owned by, er, Walmart.
Hmm. Now what could possibly be wrong with that? The French have an expression, I believe: ‘arnaquer les fournisseurs’, which, according to my 1972 Collins Gem dictionary, means ‘form strategic alliances to deliver optimum value to customers’, or something similar. So on that assumption I put in a call to Carrefour’s boss, the very obliging M. Bompard, who promised to explain the strategic imperatives of the deal over a very nice dinner at Septime. His shout.
I feel the old ‘feu vert’ coming on. That’s ‘green light’ - do try to keep up, dears.