25 July 2010

How do you solve a problem like Network Rail?

Next Saturday, in order to liven up BBC One's evening programming, Graham Norton will host a new show: How do you solve a problem like Network Rail?, in which the public gets to vote on how best to solve the nationalised infraco's debt mountain through new and innovative ways the company can be operated. The casting vote will go to Lord Prescott of Hull, who will be sat on a make-shift thrown.

Each week, two ideas will be pitched to the audience - each being spearheaded by a well-known celebrity - and the one receiving most votes goes through to the final in a month's time.

Said BBC One's commissioning editor: "We expect this new prime time slot to be extremely popular, as the Great British Public get to say exactly how Network Rail's £22 billion debt can be recouped. With all proceeds of the 09011 phone calls going to direct to the Department for Transport's hospitality fund, we're sure all those aged 18 and over will want a piece of the action!"

The following are the ways in which Network Rail's twenty-two billions can be slowly reduced. Which one will you vote for?
  1. Split NR into four parts - Scotland, Wales, North England and London & South East England, the latter handily grouping all third-rail operation into one operation. To be presented by Jeremy Clarkson (surreptitiously including thousands of sycophantic references to Isambard Kingtom Brunel)
  2. NR to lose its mandate for 'strategic thinking', with this passing to train operating companies (TOCs). Quite how they'd find the finance and indeed experience is another question, though Fern Britton puts forward the pros convincingly in this film. Producers thought Britton would be ideal for the role after seeing how she deftly interviewed Tony Blair)
  3. Re-introduce the Strategic Rail Authority, which would have the final say on major projects, pricing and the manner in which NR interfaces with all of its partners. Although this would take an eternity in setting-up, Lord Adonis tries his hardest to sell it to the viewers
  4. Full nationalisation of the rail network would cost a fortune and, its critics claim, will deliver far less in the short to medium term. Arthur Scargill provides the voice-over and will say that compared to the £22bn NR owes, re-nationalisation is chicken feed to the Treasury
  5. In a surprise appearance, coinciding with the last programme of the heats, Dr Richard Beeching speaks from beyond the grave to offer his thoughts on how effective simply downgrading NR's role to that of a third-party private contractor to the DfT and TOCs would be.
Meanwhile, the BBC continues to look for a celebrity who is linguistically skillful enough to explain to viewers how NR's £22 billion debt fails to show up on the government's books, despite the DfT parading how many millions they'll be able save by reducing efficiencies within, er, Network Rail!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"London & South East England, the latter handily grouping all third-rail operation into one operation."

I don't recall Merseyrail being located in London or the South East!