I was on the telly last week. It was in episode 3 of the BBC2 series, Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Inside the Post Office, about the occupation of our Crown Post Office on the day the building closed down for redevelopment. A copy exists on YouTube if you want to watch it.
I’m a bit-part player, that’s all. You see me carrying a bucket and then explaining what it will be used for.
The programme also features Hugh Lanning, James Flanagan, and Brian Hitcham; plus the talented Justin Mitchell, playing a moving rendition of the Last Post on his bugle, the lovely Cherry Walker with her hand made sign, and the irrepressible Julie Wassmer doing what she does so well, namely being clever and colourful in front of a camera.
Julie gets a lot of stick from some quarters for being so energetically involved in the protest scene. People call her a self-promoter, but I know from having worked with her, that she is just very adept at manipulating the media and bringing much needed attention to the cause.
In this case the cause is the downgrading of our Crown Post Office service to a franchise in a shop.
Roger Gale, the general manager of the Crown Network, has this to say: “The Post Office holds a place in people’s hearts…. but we have to modernise, we have to change, and we can no longer be a burden on the tax-payer.”
That gave only part of the story.
The real reason that the Post Office has become a “burden to the taxpayer” is that it has been forcibly separated from its historic partner, the very profitable Royal Mail, by that company’s recent sale to the private sector.
As always, it’s a case of privatisation of profit, socialisation of costs. The profit goes to wealthy investors, while the public bears the burden of loss.
Meanwhile, the government continues to support big business through subsidies to the private sector to the tune of £93 billion a year.
In other words, the government is perfectly happy to allow the taxpayer to subsidise loss making companies, as long as those companies don’t belong to the taxpayer.