Strikes and the threat of strikes, breakdowns, signal failures, crumbling infrastructure and rising crime - for every Londoner, and many commuters, too, the disastrous condition of London's underground system is a daily reminder of the political and managerial failures that have brought a critical public service to the verge of collapse. Now that the Labour government has committed the future of the Tube to the Treasury's Public/Private Partnership Scheme, the question is: in 2013 will we see as promised, a refurbished and revitalised system? Or will we be lamenting yet another instalment in a long litany of failure? Christian Wolmar is not optimistic - indeed, he sees every prospect of a reprise of the consequences that flowed from the privatisation of the railways, which he analysed in his previous book "Broken Rail". So how, he asks, did we get into this situation? Why was the Tube starved of investment by successive governments over so many years? How did the present government allow it to become a political football, a vehicle for "punishing" Ken Livingstone for the humiliation he had imposed upon them in London's first mayoral election? Why do ministers still believe, after the collapse of Railtrack, that the separation of operations from maintenance and renewal is anything other than a recipe for inefficiency and a threat to safety? This is a tale of conspiracy and intrigue with a rich cast of characters - Tony Blair, John Prescott and his puppetmaster, Gordon Brown, on the one side and Ken Livingstone and Bob Kiley, the manager Livingstone brought in to save the Tube, and his mysterious coterie of fellow Americans, on the other. For Londoners, though, the critical question is whether all these players can now put the antagonisms behind them and recreate a transport system worthy of a great capital city? Christian Wolmar explains the legacy they have inherited and analyses the problems they will face in the future.