Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reinforcing failure

The inertia of a bureaucratic system often means that a failed project or department will carry on under its own inertia for years sometimes decades. The larger the system, the less the accountability and a system like the EU and its arcane working practices is a prime example of things being done to reinforce a failure at the cost to the taxpayer.

British taxpayers are spending up to £400,000 a year to help maintain French trains in the aftermath of a failed European transport project. 
The aborted rail scheme cost British taxpayers more than £180million but the Department for Transport continues to fund the failure.
It spent “between £300,000 and £400,000 last year” on mothballed facilities for the aborted Regional Eurostar project that would have provided a direct link between cities such as Manchester and Glasgow to Paris.
Seven trains were built for the Regional Eurostar but they were passed to the French train operator SNCF because its high-speed link between Paris and Lille was short of carriages.
A depot in Manchester to maintain the trains is still the responsibility of London & Continental Railways, a firm which is wholly owned by the DfT.
It has largely remained unused since the early ‘90s and London & Continental has to pay for its upkeep, though there has been no suggestion that it will ever be required for its original purpose.
 This is a classic example of bureaucratic inertia, or those in power not making a decision simply because it's too much trouble, or simply forgotten. No doubt it was a nice financial budget and staffing addendum to the DfT maintaining the size and prestige of a ministry, the only measure of success that the civil service have. I'm fairly sure that there are other programs out there with a budget hidden away from the eyes of the public that have simply not crossed the radar of the accountants or journalists yet, Cold War bunker maintenance etc.
But the EU's talent for spending money is pretty much unmatched along with its unaccountability, no-one really seems to have much of an idea about what is being spent on what or at the higher echelons no-one really cares so long as the expenses keep piling in and they can clock in with their travelling case to go home on Friday with a full days pay behind them.
Not that I'm suggesting that our own civil servants and public servants are much better, but if they were closer to home, there would be far greater scrutiny (I'd hope) but the problems keep arising that those who run the country are far too careless about our money. Until there's accountability, full accountability, the situation will remain the same.

1 annotations:

James Higham said...

The whole thing's f***ed, as far as I can see.