This is a delightful example of the idiocy of much modern politics:
Downing Street has claimed it failed to take part in an EU scheme to source life-saving ventilators to treat coronavirus because it accidentally missed the deadline.
No 10 initially said it did not take part because the UK was “no longer a member” and was “making our own efforts”.
But after critics accused Boris Johnson of putting “Brexit over breathing”, a No 10 spokesman clarified that it had missed out because of an error and would consider participating in future. It is understood the UK claims not to have received an email from the EU asking it to participate.
The mix-up means the UK has missed out on benefiting from the collective buying power of the EU. The bloc is seeking to use its clout to source large numbers of ventilators and protective equipment.
Sure collective buying power exists, is a real thing. Ordering 270,000 widgets will likely get you a better price than 27 orders of 10,000 each.
Well, maybe. The real world doesn’t always work that way but still.
Now, hands up everyone who thinks that placing that buying decision – and specification – up there at the Brussels level will work faster and better than having it lower down the totem pole of governance levels?
For example, has the EU placed that buying order already? Given, you know, that the UK government has already placed one with Dyson?
Further, while economies of scale is something that most have heard of the equally true existence of diseconomies of scale is rather less well known.
Now, my best guess is that all of these government orders of ventilators are going to be barely functioning equipment delivered late. But that’s just me. The thing here though is that assumption that the EU is going to get stuff less bad and less late. Which isn’t something I’d be willing to bet upon, not at all.