|Get your hands out of your pockets!|
It's hard to tell, isn't it ? At least, for those of us with no rail industry insight.
On the one hand, while Branson tells a plausible story and is mightily pissed off, he-would-be-wouldn't-he; and how else is the government to decide these things except by going with the most economic bid after investigating with due diligence ? FirstGroup's winning bid seems to have a number of attractive aspects; and they are not without experience in the sector. Branson can't expect life-long incumbency as of right.
On the other, as I know in graphic detail from my own area of special interest (alongside well-known abominations such as the last 50 years of defence procurement), the ability of civil servants to screw up procurement-type things up knows few limits. Picking winners ? They wouldn't know a winner if it came home by five lengths.
The field is of course replete with vested interests and lobbying: always hard to pick out the salient facts. So - any views ? Comments with inside-track knowledge (sorry) particularly welcome.