As we all know bureaucracy is the application of rules to things. Not the application of good sense, logic or even being sensible, but the application of rules. At which point we really do have to say congratulations to the Competition and Markets Authority. For they have decided that it would be better that one small part of the emergency services infrastructure should close down rather than be acquired by a competitor. One the grounds that acquisition would create a monopoly.
No, really, we do not jest:
Vodafone is to shut down its pager business after failing to receive backing from the competition watchdog to sell the dwindling division that relies on old technology popular in the 1980s.
The telecoms group said it was ditching plans to sells the business to Capita’s PageOne, and would instead close it after the Competition and Markets Authority announced plans to launch an in-depth investigation into the deal.
There's no more than a 1,000 or so users of this old system but those include the likes of lifeboat men etc. Pagers have better coverage and are more reliable it appears. And the argument from the CMA is that as PageOne is the only other supplier of such services then of course, on anti-monopoly grounds, it cannot buy its only competitor.
You know, rules is rules and the hell with good sense.
One of the reasons we dislike monopoly in the first place is that we're entirely sure that competition means that people must take account of reality. That they cannot be insulated from the effects of their own stupidity as others will take advantage of it.
So, why is there only the one Competition and Markets Authority?