Did you know that all the investment funding for various parts of the energy industry that Peter Mandelson’s tenure at BIS introduced has been protected from the cuts agenda….except the bits in or near Nick Clegg’s constituency?

Now you do. <blockquote>Despite the coalition’s huffing and puffing about value for money and affordability, most of the public sums involved for wind turbine test facilities, renewables demonstration plant, science parks, electric cars and car battery plant and the rest – survived the Vince Cable review.

Except, that is, for two hits on Sheffield – the £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters and its Sheepcote Lane business park. Cable seems to have mistakenly believed that the Forgemasters investment was confined to making nuclear plant components. But the equipment could also provide specialist steels for the renewable industries as well.</em></blockquote>

Well, that’s pretty damning for the coalition’s lightfooted taxidancer if true. But there is another explanation - that it’s a deliberate effort to target Nick Clegg personally, as a negotiating tactic over both the continuation of the coalition and the details of the planned referendum on AV next May.

Presumably, the Lib Dems consider the AV vote a capital interest - after all, helping to reintroduce mass homelessness as a policy choice and getting bugger all in exchange would not be good business, and the Budget means that a heavy boost from greater proportionality is the party’s only hope of retaining significant numbers of seats when an election finally comes.