The Bureaucratic Mind at Work

In an increasingly rare example of investigative journalism, the UK Times finds a ‘ghost bus’ designed to spare ministers’ blushe. The bus, which is expected to run without passengers, represents an alternative to complying with rules relating to the closing of passenger rail routes.

Yet this is no invention of the Labour government. The Conservatives did it as well, as I remember having been in Railways Directorate of the Department of Transport at the time. What it does represent is a rational response to a regulation that imposes tremendous cost.

What is most interesting, however, is that this response depends on legislative language that the Department of Transport itself had a hand in drafting. In other words, government is quite happy to allow itself loopholes in its own laws. For the bureaucrat, loopholes in legislation that apply to them aren’t bugs, they’re features!