Getting that sink feeling

When charismatic London mayor Boris Johnson recently poured his heart out in an interview with London’s Evening Standard, two things became apparent. One, Johnson is less than impressed with the efforts of the Tube Lines consortium to upgrade London’s rail underground network according to the terms of its PPP contract. And two, he’s a master of the convoluted analogy.

Johnson: London in grip of rogue builders

One can only speculate that the Johnson family have – at some point in the past – experienced serious problems with the refurbishment of their bathroom. What else could explain the following agonised lament:

“It is as though the city was in the grip of a bunch of rogue builders who have been given a vast fee to spend three months doing up the bathroom.

For a whole month your family has been prevented from using the bath at critical times of the day, even though it sounds as if not much work is actually being done on the bath. And at the end of the month you not only find you are now being banned from the shower and the sink — before the bath is remotely ready — but that you will have to pay for the cost of the delay.

But it gets worse. How would you feel if the various senior plumbers were not being paid the normal rate for your bathroom? They were being “seconded” in exchange for “secondment fees” that were double the normal rate.

That, incredibly, is what is happening under PPP contracts.”