The Plastic Hippo

December 17, 2014

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Filed under: Politics,Rights,Society,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 3:15 am
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Via Ian Bitton

Via Ian Britton

The final day for posting second class Christmas mail in mainland UK is Thursday 18th December unless you live in a certain exclusive, up-market suburb of Greater Walsall in which case the last post went three weeks ago.

Hole in the wall gang

Hole in the wall gang

Rummaging through the leafy boulevards of Chuckery, I happened upon a little old lady staring blankly at a hole in a wall. Clutching a bundle of un-posted Christmas cards and wearing carpet slippers, she asked me if I knew what had become of the post box that formally occupied the space. I had no answer but pointed instead to a notice festively affixed with hazard tape to the post that once boasted a post box. Explaining that she had left her reading glasses at home and in the spirit of the big society, I read the notice for her. It stated:

“Dear Customer,
We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience resulting from the temporary closure of this Postbox.

We are currently sourcing a replacement box which will be fitted as soon as possible. We do hope you`ll understand the reasons for this and hope that it will not cause any inconvenience.”

It would seem that the skill of composing a finely crafted letter or an official notice has gone the way of careers in slide rule manufacture and the compiling of logarithm tables. How can you acknowledge inconvenience and yet hope that no inconvenience will be caused? How can reasons be understood when no reasons are given. The little old lady wandered off in the general direction of the town centre post office. That was three weeks ago and she has not been spotted since.

Giving notice

Giving notice

The “temporary” closure of a local post box is no big deal in the great scheme of things but it does offer an immediate and parochial insight into the great big deal of Royal Mail privatisation. You may recall how Vince Cable presided over the sell-off of the postal service to hedge funds with a criminally devalued share price set by the very hedge funds that bought the shares and then sold them on at a hugely inflated price within days. To justify this rip-off, the government bleat that postal workers were offered a tiny amount of shares which cannot be sold for three years when the shares will be worthless. Vince Cable is either corrupt or is a complete idiot.

This is how the privatisation of a national asset works. Starve the service of funding, wait for it to fail, condemn it as not fit for purpose and then sell it to opportunists wanting dosh from the profitable bits and determined to dump the basic premise of the service. If you think that this business model is heretical, Marxist conspiracy theory, take a look at social care, education, the NHS, the energy companies, telecoms and transport. It seems strange that a government intent on shrinking the state and forcing individual responsibility should wish to monitor our phone calls and decide what we can and cannot access on our computers.

In a digital age, letters are no longer profitable and the newly privatised Royal Mail has announced that the Universal Delivery, a guarantee that a first class letter will arrive at its destination within 24 hours, is no longer economically viable. Parcel delivery as a result of on-line shopping is the new Penny Black and the Royal Mail has rediscovered the childhood game of ringing the doorbell and running away. Unfortunately, Postman Pat has been instructed to ignore the doorbell ringing and simply run away in the name of profitability. Vince Cable has dismissed this entrepreneurial pragmatism as “scare-mongering”. Vince Cable is a complete idiot.

I think I shall write to my MP and possibly the Times newspaper. This could take some time as I will need to train up a couple of carrier pigeons.


1 Comment »

  1. Posted a big piece on OFSTED but was rejected. Have you given up?

    Comment by The Realist — December 18, 2014 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

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