Strange date to publish report

I am not usually a conspiracy theorist, but the decision of the National Audit Office to publish its long-awaited report on the Underground PPP and the collapse of Metronet tomorrow does suggest that it has been lent on from on high.

The report is expected to be critical of all sides Рgovernment, TfL and the private companies involved Рbut much of the blame for the whole debacle, as outlined in my book, Down the Tube, clearly rests with Gordon Brown and his then goffer Shriti Vadera, now raised to the House of Lords and a minister in his government.  Yet, given that there will be some other rather pressing news tomorrow and the NAO press officers must have known this for some time as the date for the European and the local elections are not exactly sprung on them the whole thing stinks.  it is inconceivable  that they could be so incompetent as to not realise that any chance of coverage would disappear given the post election coverage. Or is it?

The NAO has been somewhat discredited since the John Bourn expenses scandal and this little episode will do nothing to restore its reputation.

  • One of the Eye’s regulars has also posted on this.

    Hopefully other transport correspondents will pick up on this and give Vadera and Brown the right royal roasting they deserve!

  • Dan

    Au contraire Wolmar – presumably the NAO think that the revelations here will put the final nail in the coffin of the PM and he will stand down a few days later – this may indeed happen!

    Of course this is the way it is – but then I doubt the bean counters at places like the NAO care too much about the press coverage – they are technocrats. Also, of course, if it did have an impact that would raise the profile of the report it would surely incur ire of the PM, who may take it out on them by closing them down. No civil servant would want that to happen to the dept they worked for

  • Well, the NAO press office reads this blog and rang me to say that there were technical reasons why this report, and two others, came out today. The NAO was not, it promises, leant the government.
    Apparently it is because the NAO is changing director general and the previous one signed off these reports, by law they had to be published by this Friday. The press office is apparently deeply unhappy about it. Mmmm, with a bit of nous, they could have got round this problem, but I suspect that the NAO is in a bit of a delicate state following the Bourn revelations about expenses and therefore did not want to make a fuss about this.

  • Dan

    Now Geoff Hoon has left the govt what chance is there for replacment by a really good transport person I wonder?

  • Dan

    So – it’s Adonis at transport. Is this the first time we have ever had a transport Sec of State whose demonstrated they know about transport. I saluted his rover travels but lets hope he does not spend any time driving round the M-Way system checking out M-Way services – that would be too grim for anyone to have to do.