It’s a very small minded minister who blames a civil service for their political mistake

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Mark Serwotka got it spot on when speaking to the Guardian yesterday, who report:

Blaming civil servants for the west coast rail fiasco is "deplorable" and reflects government disdain for Whitehall staff, according to the leader of the UK's largest civil service union.

The Public and Commercial Services union, which represents one of the three Department for Transport employees facing disciplinary proceedings over the bungled procurement process, said public servants had been targeted as scapegoats. "The way ministers have sought to blame civil servants in the Department for Transport before any of the facts have been established has been deplorable, but sadly not out of character," said Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary. "It is entirely consistent with the way the civil service is being treated by many ministers as an irritation, rather than as a professional body that works to ensure the smooth running of government."

Serwotka added that the PCS would ensure that the DfT enquiry into the west coast process fully examined the case, "including ministerial involvement and oversight of the bidding process".

We now learn that Theresa Villiers designed the failed rail franchise system in opposition, but failed to see the errors in it.  Her then boss at Transport, Justine Greening, is a chartered accountant who couldn't spot the impact of inflation on  forecast or check whether it was based on over-capacity usage figures. But civil servants are blamed for process based on a premise - that contracts can be given for 15 years, that is false.

The blame for this fiasco rests with ministers. And they should pay the price.