Friday, 19 June 2009

Sorted - Labours Royal Mail privatisation plan

Since Lord Mandelson's Bill to privatize the Royal Mail has been 'returned to sender' and is now to all extent and purposes dead and buried [it failed even to appear for its scheduled First Reading in the Commons last week] I want to take this opportunity to thank the tens of thousands of people across Scotland who signed the Scottish Socialist Party's petition to keep our postal service in public hands.
Our collective opposition, with 90% of the British population against it has defeated Labours sell off plans.
There are those who fear Lord Mandelson will return with this Bill but I am not one of them because this issue would bring down his teetering Labour Government. Mandelson and Brown need the support of the Tories to get the Bill through Parliament and Cameron has so many incentives not to back it that the Bill would fall and so would the Government!
Labours plan to sell off this vital public service to the Dutch postal company TNT failed because the public much preferred to keep Royal Mail in public hands; owned by the public, run for the benefit of the public, with the price of a stamp the same for every member of the public regardless of whether they lived in say Shetland or South London and where the profits [£344m last year] went into the public purse to build hospitals and schools rather than into the hands of private shareholders in private postal companies.
Peter Mandelson's Bill has again exposed Labour as the party of privatisation. Yet it is not privatisation Royal Mail needs, it is investment. The public has witnessed a stark deterioration in the service in recent years as private companies 'cherry picked' the lucrative business to business post. This has meant residential customers have suffered fewer deliveries and collections.
With the Tories likely to win the forthcoming Westminster General Election however it is important our collective opposition to privatisation is not demobilized. It is a battle we will need to fight again. Let the Tories take note however, the campaign to keep the Royal Mail in public hands is emboldened and our case is stronger than ever.

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