. Together, We Can Save Our Post Office | London Progressive Journal
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Together, We Can Save Our Post Office

Sat 13th Apr 2013

For 20 years, central government has been privatising the postal service by stealth. In reaction, the idea of mutualisation does the rounds.

But some things do not belong in the hands only of those who might happen to be in a position to acquire a stake in a co-operative, a credit union, a mutual guarantee society, a mutual building society, the John Lewis Partnership, or whatever, vitally important though those all are. For example, the rail network or the water supply belongs in public ownership.

So do both the Royal Mail, where the clue is in the name, and Post Office Counters. The ludicrous division between the two, which has left staff sitting at adjacent desks that their respective employers are renting from each other, must be reversed. By the State.

Do you believe in national sovereignty? In rural communities? In age-old features of our national life? In the monarchy’s direct link to every address in the Kingdom? The essentially or entirely foreign forces of global capitalism and the EU are marching in with a view to destroying the Royal Mail.

An EU directive requires full competition in postal services by this year, so that the Royal Mail must deliver its competitors’ letters as if they were its own First Class ones, yet for less than the price of First Class post. This necessitates cuts, both in postmen’s pay and in Post Offices.

Meanwhile, the “free” marketeers propose privatising something that has never been in the private sector, having been in what would now be called public ownership ever since it was created by Charles II in 1660, and representing the most significant direct link between the monarchy and every household, business, organisation and institution in the land. Nothing could better indicate how utterly unconservative the “free” market ideology really is. Neoliberal economics, a total disregard for our heritage and institutions, and European federalism: all of a piece, of course.

Yet even Margaret Thatcher, a fanatical if incoherent heritage-destroyer and European federalist in accordance with her barely understood economic ideology, specifically ruled out privatising the Royal Mail, “because it’s Royal”. Just for once, she was right. Not merely foreign companies, but companies actually owned by foreign states as such, are now circling our postal service.

If this is not a conservative and Tory cause, then what is? It echoes the cry of “King and People” against the Whig magnates. It even expresses loyalty to the legacy of the Royal House of Stuart.

Those who believe in publicly owned public services, in strong unions, and in rural communities must unite with those, very largely the same people, who believe in national sovereignty(both as against the EU and as against the foreign acquisition of a key national asset), in the monarchy’s direct link to every address, and in rural communities.

Public ownership and strong unions are in fact safeguards of national sovereignty and of the countryside, and thus of that other such safeguard, the Crown. Together, we can save our Post Office.

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