8 Mar 2009

Labour Lord throws custard over Mandelson's plans to sell the Postal Service

What is the purpose of mail? The true purpose is to use it for the project of contemporary capitalist society i.e. making the feckless rich even richer.

Perhaps we could have that Stanford guy run it?

Lord Clarke begs to differ.




Lord Mandelson's claim that he has made a concession in his latest
proposals for Royal Mail is a charade.

We had already been assured we would retain a universal postal service.

Having worked in postal services since 1946, I will resist until the last
moment the idea of bringing in private money to run the Post Office,
because it represents the thin end of the wedge of eroding a public service.
Look what happened with BT. There are aspects of the government's case I
don't dispute. I have been calling for reform of the regulatory system for
years, because of Postcomm's bias towards Royal Mail's competitors.

TNT and other private postal operators are generously subsidised by Royal
Mail's "final mile" delivery obligation under current pricing tariffs.

I recognise the need for change on the operational side. But Royal Mail
will not discuss with the unions what "modernisation" means.

We already have automation in sorting centres. The Hooper Report and
Mandelson's interpretation of it confuse efficiency with profitability,
because Royal Mail cannot charge as much for stamps as other national
EU postal services.

TNT in Holland charges three times as much on 100g letters and, unlike
Royal Mail, still enjoys a government backed monopoly on delivering
letters of 50g or less.

Royal Mail has for the past financial year been running at a profit. It
seems
immoral to use the pension deficit as an argument for privatisation when,
given a proper tariff structure, Royal Mail could clear the deficit - not
overnight but still more quickly than the time the bailed-out banks will
take to balance their books.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead

Camden New Journal
5 March 2009

(Lord Tony Clarke was formerly a telegraph boy, and postman in Hampstead and

was Deputy General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers for 12
years. )

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