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Tony Grist

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Selling The Royal Mail [Oct. 8th, 2013|09:14 am]
Tony Grist
How did that come about? I don't remember any great howdy-doo about privatizing the Royal Mail. Was it even in the Manifesto? And now, here, suddenly- without serious debate that I'm aware of- they're issuing shares. I'm not happy about it. I don't think people in general are. But sod the populace, there's money to be made. Buy shares today, sell them tomorrow and you'll have quadrupled your stake. Yuk.

Up until recently- up until this lot got in- the Royal Mail had an aura of inviolability about it- every previous government left it alone. It was Royal for pity's sake, it was to do with stage-coaches and Empire and steam trains and the monarch's head on every stamp.  We trusted the Mail. It was a much loved British institution- something to be proud of.  Interfering with it in any way was a serious offence- not only mean and horrid but unpatriotic. Were there snow drifts? Rivers in flood? Packs of feral dogs? Never mind- our gallant posties would always get through.

Not any more. From now on the service is going to be run for the benefit of people who look and smell like Jeremy Hunt. Prices will rise, standards will slip, the bits that don't make a profit will be cut. They say they won't be but they will.

Have you noticed how many TV programmes these days have "Great British" in the title? Great British Bake Off, Great British Year, Great British Science. Nations that are truly great don't need to be banging on about it all the time; they don't need those continual, self-administered pats on the back.  That plethora of "greats" is a sign of how we're slipping. And here's another. The Royal Mail has been taken away from us- the people- and given to the greedy weasels. Sic transit and all that.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2013-10-08 09:28 am (UTC)
The problem has been that the Royal Mail had a monopoly on sending letters - but nobody sends letters any more. They don't have a monopoly on sending parcels, which is where all the growth is, because of internet shopping. and people like DHL, UPS etc, are doing it better and cheaper. So their profits were dwindling, they are riddled with unions who won't change, and they have a massive pension liability. Some competition might be a good thing.

I'm just glad that Post Office Counters, because of it's social cohesion aspects. is a separate business.

I suppose if we want some profit out of it we should buy some shares and sell them the following day. In fact, if we have a pension, somebody is doing that for us, and we are little weasels too.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 11:25 am (UTC)
My opposition is largely sentimental. Who was it who talked about selling off the "family silver"? I reckon the RM like the Health Service- should be run pro bono publica without any obligation to turn a profit.
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[User Picture]From: rosamicula
2013-10-08 09:58 am (UTC)
I know everyone loves to bash the current administration because they are evil moustache-twirling (incompetent) villains, but the previous lot wanted to sell off the RM (remember the fiasco when it was renamed and swiftly un-renamed) realised it was completely unprofitable and a political minefield because of the necessity of of Post Office Counters for social cohesion (see above)and hacked that bit off in readiness for flogging the parcel delivery element.

As with NHS 'reform', education spending cuts, etc the current governement is building on foundations laid by the previous one; just higher and with a different spin.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 11:31 am (UTC)
Oh yes, I recognize that Cameron and co are a continuation of Blair by other means. They hardly bother to conceal it. I read somewhere that Blair is referred to within Cameron's inner circle as "The Master".

I believe my detestation of Blair and all his works is a matter of record.
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[User Picture]From: trixibelle_net
2013-10-08 11:32 am (UTC)
All this Great British telly stuff has been making me feel like I'm being propaganda'd at. It makes me nauseous. That and bloody 'I Love My Country' and I think there's another Saturday night patriotism-fest. They're shoving something down our throats but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe trying to manufacture some sort of spirit of the war - All In It Together. It's so forced.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 12:52 pm (UTC)
I also noticed that Jeremy Paxman's new history of the First World War is going to look at things from a wholly British perspective. When the BBC made its groundbreaking documentary series The Great War back in the 1960s they covered events from every angle- devoting whole programmes to th Eastern front etc. I think what we're seeing is a slide into Little Englandism.
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From: cmcmck
2013-10-08 11:50 am (UTC)
You know my politics lie well to the left and what disturbs me here is the slippery slope towards the destruction of remote communities such as the one I love and know well on Orkney.

None of the privatised parcel companies are willing to deliver without a hefty surcharge and some won't do it at all. If the GPO heads down that road also, it's another nail in the coffin of those remote communities which are already suffering hard times from the greedy and overprivileged

Don't get me going on Tony Blair- the man who betrayed Socialism.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 12:59 pm (UTC)
The Royal Mail will almost certainly head off down that path.

What I'd like to see is theLlabour party commit to a programme of renationalisation. I think it would be hugely popular.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2013-10-08 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'd vote for publicly owned railways -as did my grandfather, who drove the Flying Scotsman.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow!
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From: cmcmck
2013-10-08 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yes!
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2013-10-08 01:06 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with most of what has been said here - the Royal mail should not be privatized as it will no longer do unprofitable runs an that includes most isolated rural communities. The death knell of our once great postal service is here - and we are all going to be losers.

Edited at 2013-10-08 01:06 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 02:40 pm (UTC)
The country is being run by a bunch of spivs.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2013-10-08 05:48 pm (UTC)
The Post Office is a major employer in rural areas... and the first thing that'll go when it's privatised is the full-time permanent jobs. Hello, agency workers and zero-hour contracts.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 06:01 pm (UTC)
I can well believe it.

Isn't the Conservative party supposed to conserve things?
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2013-10-08 07:17 pm (UTC)
It does conserve things. Wealth. Power. That sort of thing.

Though not jobs, obviously.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2013-10-08 07:24 pm (UTC)
Admittedly from outside, I'm very fond of The Great British Bake Off. It's the only reality show I've ever seen where people seem to care genuinely more about the designated subject than about the competition drama; if it didn't contain people who think it's normal to bake peacock-shaped bread or after-dinner coffee and cheese-and-fruit petit fours, I'd call it the sanest reality TV I've ever seen.

(I hadn't heard about the Royal Mail and I'm sorry.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-08 08:39 pm (UTC)
I was half watching the latest episode this evening. It's a sweet-natured show- and I've always liked Sue Perkins.

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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-10-09 12:53 pm (UTC)
Here in the United States, our Postal Service is self-funded, doesn't take any tax money, but is a government service and is required to serve all Americans.

And it just about breaks even, while offering good jobs with good pensions.

Because of this, Republicans have been trying to destroy it for years. First, they want to see all this business go to private, for-profit companies, second, and even more important, having a healthy organization with a strong union AND good benefits goes against their principles.

So they've been putting all sorts of conditions on it -- like the Post Office has to pre-fund all its pensions, which is a weird thing that is hideously expensive, does no good, and nobody else has to.

But they're still, basically, holding on.

Judging from our experience, I'd suggest that the reason for privatizing the Royal Mail is because a NON-privatized package and mail delivery system which competes with privatized ones is just offensive to corporatist sensibilities.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-09 08:44 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. This is being done for ideological reasons and because the people the government works for will be able to make money out of it.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2013-10-09 08:29 pm (UTC)
Royal Mail has been quite lousy for several years; it's no longer the cherished institution it once was, probably due to a combination of poor investment, mismanagement and technology. Remember the second post? But we all still want and need a universal delivery service. To paraphrase someone, it's the worst system, except for all the others.

None of which has anything to do with who owns it (well, except that we haven't been good at investing in public services for ... decades, and look where energy and rail privatisation got us).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-09 08:45 pm (UTC)
It used to be a wonderful service and now it's less than wonderful- but I can't say I've ever had any serious complaints about it.
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