Rail unions understand what caused the West Coast Main Line £100 million franchise cock-up. People working on the system can see clearly what's wrong. Rail users know just what the problem is.
The only people still in the dark appear to be parliamentary politicians, Whitehall mandarins and the private companies reliant on our railways for their multibillion-pound rewards.
The National Audit Office (NAO), which is tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of government expenditure, believes that cancelling a major rail franchise contest indicates "a clear sign of serious problems."
NAO head Amyas Morse observes sagely: "The result is likely to be a significant cost to the taxpayer."
Commons public accounts committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge is on solid ground in calling Department for Transport handling of the West Coast franchise "a first-class fiasco."
She is correct to view government policy on rail franchising as being "in disarray, as a further three competitions have had to be put on hold," with the cost to taxpayers "unknown but … likely to be significant," but something is missing.
Neither Morse nor Hodge took the logical step of recognising that DfT problems do not reside with a single minister, a handful of civil servants or a particular franchising model.
The albatross round the neck of the rail industry is the madcap privatisation scheme brought in by Tory prime minister John Major in 1993 after even Margaret Thatcher had regarded the railways as a privatisation too far.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin accepts that things went wrong in the past but everything will be better in the sweet by and by.
"I believe the plans we are putting in place to ensure future franchise competitions are conducted on the basis of sound planning, the rigorous identification and oversight of risk and the right quality assurance will prevent a repeat of these lamentable failures," he waffled.
McLoughlin, like all rail privatisation devotees, sounds like a first world war general oblivious to the scale of the slaughter in the trenches, suggesting that it should all be over by Christmas.
Optimism born of wilful self-deception is clearly the watchword of the rail privatisation zealots.
Nor did Labour's shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle convince with her comments.
She warned against a "Whitehall whitewash" and identified systemic problems, including savage departmental staff cuts and penny-pinching decisions not to submit operations to external audit, but she failed to question privatisation itself.
Unless she and the two Eds resolve to catch up with public opinion and decisions taken at both TUC and Labour Party conferences, they will fail miserably.
The Labour leadership may calculate that it can ignore with impunity non-affiliated union RMT leader Bob Crow's comment that the "blame for this expensive fiasco lies with the political class and their cheerleaders in the private sector who have made a multibillion-pound killing out of the great rail rip-off."
But his assessment is at one with TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, his Aslef counterpart Mick Whelan and Unite's Len McCluskey, all Labour Party members and equally committed to fighting for their unions' democratically agreed policy on returning our railways to public ownership.
There is no future in seeking a more efficient way of handling rail franchises.
The only rational approach is to abandon the entire failed experiment and bring the network back into the public sector.
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