Monday, July 27, 2009

As one farce ends...

Yes, we're back! But before NMB addicts get rather too excited, it's only because there's something worth reporting. We're now as thoroughly accustomed to not blogging as we were previously to constantly blogging. So we're sure readers will appreciate how hard it has been to write the latest post with the usual wit and humour that they may have become accustomed to (not to mention the artwork).

And it has to be said that the news won't surprise those with their fingers on the pulse.

So the first non-surprise is that the Highways Agency have finally got around to ending the farce that is the Public Inquiry. Advertisements appeared in the press last Thursday 23rd July and on the Public Inquiry website later in the day.

Of immediate interest is the power relationship inherent in the notice: note here that the respective Secretaries of State have cancelled the Inquiry. No doubt at some point the Inspector John Watson will process the formalities, but it's not his decision to make, as has been very little in this whole charade.

But the main issue here is one of costs, as we've noted all along. Exactly 4 months elapsed between the Highways Agency announcing on 23rd March of this year that they intended to withdraw and their fulfilment of that intention last week. We've already commented upon the supposed reasons for this delay (legal wranglings), but in a time of financial hardship and cut-backs we have the spectacle of a government department dragging their feet and doubtless accruing huge costs.

How much? We'll take the last cost estimate as our guide - you'll remember we blogged about it at the time. Since the costs accrued between November 13th 2008 and April 30th 2009 equated to a daily rate of £7,041.92, at that rate of reckoning, the 122 days that have elapsed since the Highways Agency's announcement of their intention to withdraw and their taking action to do so have seen the accrual in costs of a further £859,114.24 of our money.

Perhaps at some point in the near future, we'll become aware of exactly how much how this PI has cost, of how much John Watson was paid for his 15 days of sitting (out of 757 days the PI was open). But that's for another time.

Finally, there is a delicious irony in the costs of this PI. It's frankly fucking hilarious, but you'll have to take our word for it until we report back next time with our second piece of news. Ta ta for now...