Tunnel vision for public services

16th July 2004 at 01:00
The Learning and Skills Council's big-stick approach to failing colleges brought to mind my daily commute from East Anglia.

Take the Norwich to Liverpool Street railway line, currently closed on the border of Essex and civilisation (Suffolk) for 10 weeks, because the freight people want to use a type of wagon which won't fit through the current tunnel.

The tunnel is being modified and there are no prizes for guessing whether the passengers - or customers as they laughingly refer to us these days - will be compensated for the inconvenience.

The fare for "customers" who are herded onto buses, their journey times increased by half an hour, is exactly the same as before.

So the principle that colleges should lose money if they don't do what they are supposed to seems rather out of touch with the way Britain works.

In fact, apply the LSC's value-for-money obsession to the way the rest of our country is run and the whole creaking, rot-infested edifice of our public services will come crumbling down.

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