Saturday, December 16, 2006

LibDems: Admit it, You Want to Privatise the Post Office!

Wouldn't you have thought that Liberal Democrats would want to aim their fire on post office closures at the Government? After all, it is Labour who want to shut them. But the campaigning document sent out to LibDem constituency parties, which has mysteriously fallen into my hands, seems to spend equal time attacking the Conservatives. Indeed, they include templated press releases aimed at constituencies with Conservative MPs which almost give the impression that the Tory MP him/herself is personally responsible for the closures. They begin...

Conservatives - no answer to Post Office crisis

Liberal Democrats in [YOUR AREA] are challenging [NAME OF CONSERVATIVE MP],
Conservative MP for [NAME OF CONSTITUENCY] to back Liberal Democrat plans
to save Post Offices and invest in them.

You can read the full briefing document HERE. It seeks to explain how they want to split Post Offices Limited away from Royal Mail, but does so without actually ever using the dreaded 'P' word (and I don't mean 'peerage'). The LibDems want to privatise Royal Mail so why don't they just come out and say it? Some of us think it is rather a good idea.


Little Black Sambo said...

Is it true that the Government must close the post offices because of an EU directive? Devil's Kitchen says so, but it is never mentioned generally.

Anonymous said...

The UKIP fraternity are referring to a directive which essentially states that state aid requires EU approval (wouldnt we want that to stop say France bailing out thair airline industry when faced with with competition from a privatised and fairly efficient BA?) Surely the more important issue is for Post Offices to not NEED state aid in the first place and that is something that national government policy can influence.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I am having problems with your blog!

My mouse is going all wibbly.

This is not happening anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Iain - I am shocked that you want to privatise the Royal Mail - this is a dreadful idea ? Hezza failed after the 'Don't KO the PO' campaign.

This Christmas I can post cards to all my family across the wild, untamed lands of Wales, and they are delivered TO THE DOORSTEP, all for the exact same price as sending a letter across the other side of town. Of course, New Labour thinks this is a shite concept as they don't know of, or care about, anyone who lives out in the sticks.

If the PO is privatised, this single price thing will disappear. Country deliveries will be every second Tuesday, and the post will only be delivered as far as the local Post Office which, ooh, by the way has closed, so you will now have to go to Carmarthen / Cardigan / Pembroke to collect.

This was a crap idea when they tried it a few years ago, and it is a crap idea now.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the Post Offices should stay nationalised and stay OPEN. It's one of the few things that the state must subsidise for the good of local communities.

Johnny Norfolk said...

The Royal mail is still heavily unionised and their actions are holding the Royal Mail back. I have a mole on the inside and what he tells me is like a blast to the past. If it was not for the unions Royal Mail would make much more money. There would be less presure to close branches.

Anonymous said...

l-b-s, I would love to understand your motivation for using that name. What was going through your mind when you thought that one ? Share your thought process and enlighten us all...

Anonymous said...

L-B-S - No. There is an ongoing process to deregulate door-to-door mail deliveries which derives from European directives. It is arguable whether or not that's a good thing - I think it opens up markets in continental Europe and is probably good for UK businesses, but it's a moot point. But that is an issue for Royal Mail and has negligible impact on post offices which have been hit by direct payment of pensions and benefits and competition from PayPoint for bill payments.

Jonathan Sheppard raises state aid, but that has been on the statute book for many years. There is no great problem subsidising the post office in fact - there is no effect on trade between EU member states for a start, and there are other ways to justify it too.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it referred to as 'part-privatisation'? That's what I recall from the conferences...

Also: Royal Mail != Post Office. Not these days anyway. So, privatise (or part-privatise) the Post Office network and you still have Royal Mail with its single price obligation in state hands.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll admit it, somebody's have to keep up supporting the free market economy while the Conservatives are giving it up, introducing bans for chocolate oranges, etc.

Little Black Sambo said...

Anonymous 8.50, you say, "I would love to understand your motivation for using that name."
LBS has always been a role model for me: he is brave, unselfish and resourceful, and devoted to his family. I am also fond of the picture. By adopting his name I hope to grow more like him.
(What was your motivation for calling yourself Anonymous?)

David Lindsay said...

Jonathan Shepherd wrote:

"Wouldnt we want that to stop say France bailing out thair airline industry when faced with with competition from a privatised and fairly efficient BA?"

No. The French Government would only be doing what a French government is for: looking after the French.

"Surely the more important issue is for Post Offices to not NEED state aid in the first place"

Why? No one says that about schools or hospitals. Socially necessary Post Offices, like socially necessary railways, are never going to "not need state aid". That is why the place for them both is in the public sector.

David Lindsay said...

libdems anonymous, I knwo that this si a long shot, but perhaps the Cosneravtives are finally coming back round to such ideas as national self-government (the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts), local variation, historical consciousness, family life, agriculture, manufacturing, small business, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, all forms of art, and mass political participation within a constitutional framework?

If so, then they cannot possibly be in favour of "free" market capitalism, which corrodes to nought all these good things and more, both directly, and by driving despairing millions into the arms of equally corrosive Jacobinism, Marxism, anarchism or Fascism.

There cannot be a "free" market in goods, services or capital but not in (migrant) labour. Nor can there be a "free" market in goods and services generally but not in alcohol, drugs, gambling, prostitution or pornography.

In short, there is nothing more anti-conservative than the "free" market. No wonder the Lib Dems love it.

Anonymous said...

The last point is very good. Royal Mail is a Crown organisation. Lets protect its ethos and stop the encroachment of fly-by-night operators. Labou has rmoved its monopoly for letters of under £1 which means the cherry pickers enter the market, take the lucrative parts and royal Mail struggles to fulfil universal obligation and has to raise stamp prices and cut infrastructure. Rural areas inparticular are adversely effected. The Lib Dems in voting for privatization have chosen to continue what Labour has done. batter rural areas further. But who is suprprized. 50% of Lib Dem MPs voted to ban fox hunting.

It is for us true Conservatives to defend our institions and the essetial social fabric supported by the vast majority of british people.

pat said...

Get your voice heard - the rural post office network -

Everyone has a view on the future of the rural post office network - but will everyone's views be heard? Perhaps you have a good idea on the future of the network; perhaps your own experience shows a vital aspect has been over-looked. Now there is a simple way to get your point across quickly and easily. The recent popularity in 'blogging' - contributing to a weblog or online message board - has inspired ruralnet|uk to set up a blog for this issue: a simple technique allowing thousands to add their personal comments to the debate. Over half of all UK homes have access to an online computer - as well as libraries, youth clubs, schools, day centres, UK online centres, and even some Post Offices! Anyone with an interest can visit the blog and leave their comment on the consultation questions, and read what others are saying.

ruralnet|uk Chief Executive, Simon Berry said "Government consultations are all very well, but they are time consuming and complicated. Fine for the professionals but not for the people affected. It will take just a few moments for anyone to have their say in our collective consultation and their views will go straight to the government."

Visit, click any of the ‘Comment’ links and have your say. You can comment on as little or as much as you like. It is as simple and quick as that. There is no printing or sending to do.

At the end of the consultation period, ruralnet|uk undertakes to summarise objectively all the comments received, and feed them into the Government’s consultation procedure. Says Simon: "We were the first to use the internet to run a collective consultation on the ‘first’ rural white paper way back in the spring of 1999 when we received 1154 contributions. It was said to be "one of the most useful submissions received”. So we know that a collective view from rural people, presented by us will carry a lot of weight.

So, don't be left out: go to state your views and have an impact on the future of post office services in rural areas.