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Ownership of Man Utd and the public interest

Reflect for a moment on this, from today's Telegraph:

Manchester United supporters opposed to Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the club are hopeful that the Office of Fair Trading will rule against the American tycoon, just as they stopped Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB's attempted takeover at Old Trafford six years ago.

Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, said: "We are looking for an equivalent referral."

Murdoch's bid was stopped by the OFT, the United Kingdom's competition watchdog, as it breached competition laws. Lloyd, however, is not arguing that the Glazer takeover breaches these laws, but that it is not in the public interest.

He said: "Last night I heard an interesting legal opinion that this matter could be looked at as a public interest issue. I have been advised that there is nothing to stop the competition authorities looking at the question of public interest and reporting their views as to whether this bid matches the public interest test. I have asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, to refer it to the authorities."

Now, this Arsenal supporter would be quite happy if Glazer's strategy took Man Utd down to the third division, known these days as "League One." But that's mere fantasy.

Surely, the MP's efforts are just as fanciful. A judgement that this takeover should be blocked for being "against the public interest" is inconceivable - what a precedent that would set!

This scene from the great Man Utd takeover saga illustrates how politicians garner support by proposing hopeless "remedies" for public ailments that do not exist.

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