From joy, to drama, to farce.
After all the hard work and money invested in the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line franchise, the whole thing is being torn up because of “technical flaws”. We are back to square one.
That is bad enough. Even worse is that the firms involved in the bidding are going to get a £50 million refund as a result of this monumental foul up.
So, while the Government is saving small amounts here and there by taking benefits away from people, whole shedloads of cash are going down the drain through governmental and ministerial blunders.
Serious questions need to be asked of the Department of Transport and whether it is fit for purpose in overseeing the running of the railway network.
Similar questions should come to the door of Justine Greening, the now-departed transport minister.
Top civil servants justify their handsome salaries on the basis that that is what their competence and expertise would command in the private sector. Yet in the private sector a debacle like this would be a disastrous, career-ending event. Heads would roll.
Who is going to be held to account in the public sector, which is supposedly answerable to the taxpayers who are footing all the bills? A lot of people in suits will be ducking under their desks today.
It may turn out that there is a silver lining, and that this expensive disaster helps lead to the right decision in the end. One person smiling into his beard is Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, who was always convinced that the process was flawed.
He now must stand by his pledge to give Shropshire a direct rail link to the capital.
Because if the interests of the people who really matter, the poor, long-suffering rail users, are not the first priority, you have to ask what the point of the whole process is anyway.