Could it be that the commission might actually challenge Tesco ?
Don't hold your breath. In its biennial toothless investigations into the activities of our large food retailers, the Commission specialises in identifying problems (abusive practices etc) then concluding that no action needs to be taken to tackle them. Now it looks like we're in for a double helping of the same.
The Commission's head, Peter Freeman, was rather too forthcoming in his interview with the Daily Telegraph. "We are not the commission for small business or the commission for food producers... I think the debate 'Are supermarkets a good thing ?' is inherently irrational... We are not qualified to talk about the environment," he says. I think we can see where Mr Freeman is coming from. Stuff our farmers. Stuff our shopkeepers. Stuff the environment. True to the Commission's in-house style, he looks at supermarkets through the narrow prism of a company accountant who believes in the God-given right of corporations to make money, whatever the social and economic ramifications for the rest of society. He betrays a patronising attitude towards any organisation that tries to tempt him out of this mindset. He will be happy for the inquiry to allow supermarket dissenters to sound off, but he has no intentions of debating whether or not supermarkets are a good thing.
Is it any surprise that now, having weakly mooted the obvious - that Tesco is getting far too big for its boots - Mr Freeman has already dismissed Sainsbury's claim that Tesco's market share could soon reach 45% unless its landbank is broken up? Or that he has rushed to reassure Tesco that the Commission's role is not to "punish success or individual retailers"?
I can't see that Tesco has much to fear from Mr Freeman. Perhaps a little interference in the odd Tescotown like Inverness or Swansea, just so the Commission can say it did actually did something. Otherwise, I suspect, it will very much be business as usual.