Alistair Darling 14/12/2006 col.1028
"European Union procurement rules leave us with no option but to tender competitively for this product, and we must ensure that best value for money for the taxpayer is achieved"
James Purnell 13/11/2008 col.965
"I can announce today that the Government have now decided to cancel the current unfinished procurement exercise and to award a new contract for the continuation of the Post Office card account directly to Post Office Ltd, within the terms of the relevant EC regulations"
So does this mean that Labour were lying in 2006 about the need to tender or couldn't find a loophole, or that they are desperately trying to wriggle out of a hole right now - and are likely to face court action from the competing bidders?
Don't get me wrong for a second, I think it's excellent news (and well deserved) that the Post Office have the rights to the POCA until 2015, but how much has this ultimately pointless tendering exercise cost the public purse, private companies' faith in government promises and business and stress to sub-postmasters and the whole Post Office?
Why couldn't they have got it 'right' first time around?
And let's hope that Darling fellow doesn't end up doing something important like running the country during an economic crisis...