Saturday, March 01, 2008

Post Office closures: Tory & Labour hypocrisy

Conservative (and Swansea emigrant) Nigel Evans has proposed an Early Day Motion (no. 997) which “regrets the proposal to close up to 2,500 post offices”.

As you will see by clicking the link, the EDM has been signed by both Labour and Conservative MPs. This is a bit rich, seeing as how that, under the previous Conservative government, over 3000 branches were closed, and that the closure programme continued unabated under Labour.

At the Blackpool Conference in 1996, which set Labour's course for election victory in the following spring, Gordon Brown made an impassioned 30-minute speech. In the course of this, he promised:

a Labour chancellor will not waste money on consultancy fees for the privatisation of the Post Office. The Post Office will remain as it is, run in the public sector as a public service.

You can judge for yourself whether the salaries and bonuses paid to the Labour-appointed managers of Royal Mail are a greater or lesser waste of money than consultancy fees. What is certain is that Gordon Brown in power has been true to his socialist dogma, and it seems our local MPs are with him on this.

No private money has been allowed to reinvigorate the post office network, as Liberal Democrats propose, and it has truly remained to run - or rather run down - in the public sector.

As a public service, though, it is a shadow of what it was. I have always found sub-postmasters and their staff friendly and helpful. They are better promoters of the post office than expensive TV campaigns. The trouble is that one is decreasingly certain of finding a post office in even large villages on ones travels. Moreover, the government is deliberately removing the post offices' ability to access government facilities.

Frank H Little
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