My Trip
Great Minster Grumbles
How can we predict with any confidence?

How can we predict with any confidence?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   A quick read of the recent letter from the chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Meg Hillier MP, to our permanent secretary will confirm to you, just in case you are...
Do we really want to take over TfL?

Do we really want to take over TfL?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   Surely we aren’t really going to take over control of Transport for London? Sure, TfL is technically insolvent and had we not given that second tranche of money a couple for weeks...
Can better transport links save the union?

Can better transport links save the union?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT     So here we go with another transport review. This time we have a ‘Union Connectivity Review’ to be chaired by Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail. The review, we...
Recovery? I don’t see much sign of that

Recovery? I don’t see much sign of that

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   So we’ve put in place new Emergency Recovery Management Agreements (ERMAs) for the train operators to replace the initial Emergency Management Agreements (EMAs). Do we have a secret committee tasked with dreaming...
The (transport) times they are a-changin'

The (transport) times they are a-changin’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   When I commented, in not very favourable terms, on Grant Shapps’ decision to set up and chair a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council I suggested that it would need a team of...
It's time for decisive action on railway costs

It’s time for decisive action on railway costs

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   One of the things I’m increasingly hearing is that the cost of the railways with the new Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) in place is simply not sustainable. Mind you, that’s hardly rocket...
'One of the silliest things we have ever done'

‘One of the silliest things we have ever done’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   Would you believe it!? Despite the history of major rail infrastructure projects demonstrating that the vast majority of complex projects are always – I mean, always – delivered late and over budget...
'There is little evidence that we have a strategy'

‘There is little evidence that we have a strategy’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   So lockdown is gradually coming to an end. But the transport industry is struggling to get patronage back to anywhere near pre-lockdown levels, not least because we have the rather curious spectacle...
Private firms seemed to get 'favourable treatment'

Private firms seemed to get ‘favourable treatment’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   As we slowly ease out of lockdown, I wonder what the most significant issue has been for the transport sector, and what the long-term impact on the sector will be. At one...
SMMT seeks incentives for new car purchases

SMMT seeks incentives for new car purchases

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   I must confess to being a touch surprised by an article in The Guardian on June 3. It reported that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders had written to the government...
Will we retain some of our new greener habits?

Will we retain some of our new greener habits?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   Parliament’s back from recess and watching proceedings during Prime Minister’s Questions last week – not something that I normally bother with – was a surreal experience. Just 50 MPs allowed in the...
Bus industry bailout raises questions

Bus industry bailout raises questions

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   So the Chancellor, Rushi Sunak, finally agreed to provide the bus industry in England with a further bailout amounting to some £400m above and beyond the general business support schemes put in...