15/02/2001 Once more, the sky around Whitehall is thick with homecoming pigeons looking forward to a good roost. This time, the Great IT System Wooden Spoon goes to Siemens, whose system for handling asylum seeker is being 'rescoped'. 'Organically', apparently. Canned, one might say. Given the heave-ho. Words continue to fail me as to this government's complete failure to grasp the digital nettle. They don't fail my friend, who has made a good living out of this and other official IT projects. He's sure that no matter how many of these public humiliations there are, the same old companies will continue to get huge contracts to do important projects very badly indeed. There is, as he points out, no expertise whatsoever within Whitehall for modern technology, let alone in the Home Office or the DTI. Furthermore, there is absolutely no impetus to get any, as it would lead to far too many red faces. Go into IT, he recommends the youth of the country, and spend a year or so doing something dull in a council. You'll be in instant demand and never, ever have to see your work tested, let alone reviewed. A life of well-paid ease awaits. Cynical old so-and-so. It can't be true. Can it?