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Signoff: David Taylor

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to say at this stage who we should be blaming for the collapse of the railway tunnel under the new Tesco store at Gerrards Cross. Is it the contractor, Jackson Civil Engineering? Or is it the engineer who designed the tunnel?

Is it Tesco itself, which can't look at an empty space without wanting to build another bloody superstore on it?

Perhaps it's an incompetent subcontractor.Or better still, a disgruntled subcontractor.Or maybe AlQaeda or animal rights activists.

I suspect the only people so far to have been held responsible are the poor train operator staff whose passengers were stranded behind a big pile of rubble instead of gliding smoothly into Marylebone Station.

It's a fact of life that when this sort of thing happens, it's always the poor lackey with the ticketpunch who gets it in the neck.

However, there are already rumours of a curse.

Passengers rescued from the stranded train were decanted onto a bus to continue their journey, only to crash just a couple of miles further on, according to a colleague who was among them.

POVERTY in Africa and climate change are the two main topics of the G8 Summit, promises Tony Blair.

But if that's the case, why are the manufacturers of solar panels complaining that the Prime Minister has pulled the rug from under their feet?

Mr Blair is said to have promised Solarcentury, a leading photovoltaics manufacturer, that Government funding for this technology would continue. But now they say he's changed his mind.

On the face of it, it has all the hallmarks of a classic political U-turn.When he visited the company last year, Mr Blair is reported to have told staff that climate change is 'a huge issue for us'And he promised to continue funding renewable energy projects.

But now the Government has revealed that the Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Programme, of which Solarcentury is a significant beneficiary, will end next March.

The Government can argue that there is no U-turn because, far from scrapping the programme, it is simply replacing it with something better: the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.The problem is that Solarcentury and the other photovoltaics specialists don't know if they're going to get any money under the new scheme.

The cynical theory is that by reinventing the same scheme over and over again, you can make it look as if you're rolling out a constant stream of new initiatives and that this is what's happening here.

I have a slightly different theory.The real reason Mr Blair is giving up on photovoltaics is because he has discovered a cheaper and more bountiful source of renewable energy - all the hot air emanating from French president Jacques Chirac.

IT COMES as no surprise to learn that the construction industry pays its managers less that any other sector.

We already know that our industry has the leanest Fat Cats at board level.

And we also know that stories about crane operators and steel fixers earning mega-bucks on major contracts are nonsense.

What is surprising is that there's anybody left working in the industry at all.

It's got a bad safety record; working conditions are often poor and involve long periods away from home; it isn't glamorous.

The strangest thing is that nearly half of all construction firms find it difficult to hang on to their bosses.

Blimey - if the captain's jumping ship, then what hope is there for everybody else?