Government consultation are a bit like the old Saturday afternoon wrestling, with the government playing the role of Big Daddy and the rest of us the enormous, yet hopeless, Giant Haystacks. Everyone knows who is going to win, but we have to go through all that nonsense before hand before Big Daddy is, once again, declared the winner. And so with the nuclear consultation - the government clearly wants pro-nuclear to come out favourite, everyone knows it will be the favoured option, but we have to go through all the nonsense before hand to make it look like there was some sort of contest.
Of course this is the second time the government has "consulted" on nuclear new build in the past 12 months. This is because, last time the audience were watching the big fight between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks they smelt a rat. They started to realise that it was a bit odd, given that Giant Haystacks was twice the size of Big Daddy, he kept losing. Now far be it from me to suggest that the old Sunday afternoon wrestling was a fix, but something was up there wasn't it? And something was up with the last nuclear consultation too - so the courts ruled that we needed a rematch!
The only problem with rematches in wrestling and government consultations is that it’s not so much the bout that is fixed, it's the whole sport. A fact proved by Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at the National Centre for Involvement at the University of Warwick, who has said that the nuclear consultation exercise that was held 12 days ago in nine cities around Britain was designed to come up with a popular mandate to proceed with nuclear power. Jackie Turpin was one of the people who attended one of the meetings. She said "We were provided with a limited amount of background, only very occasionally including alternative viewpoints of Greenpeace and other groups, and then the government's viewpoint was given".
You have to feel sorry for these people in a similar way you had to feel sorry for the people ring side during the 1980s. It is not so much that they have been sold a ticket for something that is clearly fixed, more that they bothered going in the first believing that it was somehow real.