This month has graphically illustrated the vagaries of the tendering process.
Now, if you were a global security firm with a seriously chequered track record of abusing asylum-seekers and failing to adequately run prisons and detention centres AND if you had recently cocked up spectacularly by failing to do the one thing you were paid millions of pounds to do - provide security for the Olympics - you might except a wee bit of a slap on the wrist, to say the least.
But that is obviously not how the system works. Mere weeks after MPs of all parties lined up to decry the failings of G4S and demand it be blacklisted from any further government contracts, the same firm somehow managed to get the gig for providing security at all three party conferences.
Presumably the Chuckle Brothers were already booked.
In all the brouhaha it seemed to have slipped the minds of those upstanding public representatives that it was Labour and the Tories that doled out these lucrative privatisation contracts to G4S and their ilk in the first place.
It's such convenient collective and selective amnesia that allows politicians of all stripes to backtrack on everything they've ever said on an issue and convince themselves that the revisionist version is what they were saying all along.
Similarly it is this kind of Ernest Saunders-esque reversible memory loss that allowed Foreign Secretary William Hague to meet and greet the blood-soaked tyrant Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in London this week.
Now, Britain has a rather ambivalent attitude to human rights abuses in the Middle East and it was hardly going to be likely that Hague would perform a citizen's arrest.
But a few months ago even Team GB was forced to condemn, albeit in insipid fashion, the monstrous human rights abuses being committed in Bahrain and elsewhere during the Arab spring uprisings and belatedly revoked a number of arms export licences to the kingdom.
That lasted about as long as Andrew Mitchell's career as chief whip and the arms firms began flogging their wares again with a vengeance scant months later.
Speaking afterwards the Foreign Secretary claimed they had had "an open and honest exchange about political reform in Bahrain, which confirmed to me the Crown Prince's personal commitment to an inclusive political dialogue."
If he believes that one this column's got some magic beans it would like to interest him in.
He also welcomed the Bahraini regime's agreement to "consider" ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.
Well, we wouldn't want them to rush into anything would we?
Hague said he fully endorsed "the Crown Prince's call for an end to the violence and for Bahrainis to unite together to ensure long-term peace and security" and the king's moves to engage in "political dialogue."
The regime is in a unique position to be able to end the violence as it's them perpetrating it in the first place. It might also be worth pointing out to them that interrogation in torture chambers does not constitute "dialogue."
All of which brings us neatly to the other surreal story of the week - the announcement that the European Union has been awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel committee said the award had been made for the EU's "six decades of work in advancing peace in Europe" and that it "had helped to transform Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."
This would be the same EU which sent thousands of troops to support the illegal invasion of Iraq and the ongoing murderous occupation of Afghanistan.
The body whose member states, and Britain in particular, enthusiastically signed up to the CIA torture and rendition programme and which routinely adopts a "I see no ships" approach to the war crimes committed by Israel on an almost daily basis.
And of course the same EU which routinely arms despotic regimes around the world.
No war in Europe? They've just outsourced it.
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