The Sunday Times this morning reports on the £72,614 spent on green grass walls to provide soothing light for a tranquillity suite in Government offices shared by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Government Equalities Office. The paper says the cost was part of a £2.4 million of work on the building signed off by the then Equalities Minister Harriet Harman and Communities Secretary John Denham.
But a spokesman for Harman says:
"Decisions about office accommodation and facilities were a matter for the civil service. Harriet was not involved in this decision and nor was she called upon to get involved."
How very grand. Is the suggestion that she didn't sign off the £2.4 million spending as it was too trivial a matter to concern her? In which case procedures seem to have been decidedly lax. Or is it that her spokesman accepts that she did sign it off but regards this as some sort of formality, like The Queen granting Royal Assent.
So I think it is all clear. Harman was "not involved in the decision" – apart taking it. The involvement for the rest of us was having to pay for it.