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Massive cock up - The Ex-Communicator

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October 3rd, 2012

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07:38 am - Massive cock up
In the UK, since John Major's privatisation of the railways, the railway system was split up into overlapping sections, and private companies have to bid to run them. They 'bid' by offering to pay the government money during the life of the franchise. This year the contract to run the West Coast rail was taken away from Virgin and given to FirstGroup. That is because FirstGroup promised to pay the government a mad amount of money - I forget how many billions - but all at the end of the franchise period. Basically the business plan of the owners was to make money up front, and then let the company go bankrupt in five years (or be bailed out by public money as usual). That meant they were technically the 'highest return' bid and they could undercut Virgin. I mean, I don't love Virgin but this was just cynical gaming of the system.

Anyway, Richard Branson announced he was taking them to court over it, and a lot of people thought that a lot would come out in court about the processes used, possibly about corrupt practices, I don't know.

Today The Government have announced the suspension of the franchise process. They have suddenly 'discovered' that there were flaws in the process. They are going to start again. They are compensating Virgin and the other companies involved to the tune of £60m.

This almost literally could not come at a worse time for the Government, because it is only a few hours since the leader of the opposition gave the best speech he has ever managed, focusing on the Government's incompetence, U-Turns and favouritism. So, my conclusion is that they must have been absolutely desperate to shut Branson down. He'll get the franchise now, and keep his mouth shut. He's a business man.

(16 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2012 07:37 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm naive, but I assume cock-up rather than conspiracy. Though that makes me more cross, not less. These people have between them wasted huge amounts of our money, through simple laziness and incompetence. Nothing less than wholesale sackings across government (that includes you, Cameron), civil service and parliamentary oversight committees will do now. Don't suppose I'll get them, though !
[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
If we fired every person in government/civil service that was lazy or incompetent, we'd probably have to hire some competent people ... and we've spent the last 20 years getting rid of as many of those as possible ...

... plus I'm not convinced that getting in competent but inexperienced people to replace the experienced but incompetent is going to save much over the next couple of years, and then there's an election ... where things get reshuffled again (whoever gets in, it's unlikely to be the current coalition)
[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2012 11:01 am (UTC)
One reason I think there is something beyond mere carelessness is the panic in avoiding a legal challenge. It has given a lovely gift to the Labour party. Why did they have to do it today - the worst possible day.
[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Tucker's Law in action.

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