We live in troubled times. As one global financial powerhouse after another crumbles under the weight of crippling debts, the Government’s decision to waive normal competition law aside – allowing Lloyds TSB to rescue HBOS – raises some interesting questions for the grocery sector, where competition law plays such a major role. Could the creation of a super-bank just as easily occur in the case of a supermarket chain should, say, one or two of the big four get into serious trouble in the next few years?

Would it be as keen to allow, say, Tesco to ‘save’ one of its rivals? It seems very unlikely but why shouldn’t it? While not as directly linked to people’s finances, supermarkets play an increasingly important role in the economy, so should surely be worth protecting. Obviously independent retailers, wholesalers and suppliers would rally against this with all their might – but given their current influence over the Competition Commission they may be unlikely to prevent it.

So here’s looking forward to a merger of Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – or, as it will clearly be abbreviated, MOST.