In prosperous times there is plenty of room for grandstanding, for a devotion to a set of simple principles, for an intolerance of backstairs deals. That isn’t so now. The next two years are going to be a scramble, a period of practical solutions, of subsidies and exceptions from rules. The Nissan agreement is only the start of it. It will be a long and difficult scrap in which long-held principles will have to give way to practicalities. How we do in that scrap will depend upon the skills of those who fight for us. They will need to be clever, persuasive, determined, manipulative, cunning and perhaps sometimes even unscrupulous. They will have to be street fighters. They will have to follow the trail that has been blazed by Mr Clark.
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