Sunday, 1 June 2008

Post Offices and Pilger

It has been a few months now since Maidstone's two post office closures. I see that the shop in South Park which house the PO is still open, but the Hardy St store closed completely after 130 years. Predictably Hardy St Store will be turned into flats.

Labour, who have backed the closures almost completely with only 20 Labour MPs voting against them, have been wiped off the face of Maidstone Borough Council. Hardly a surprise. What is more frustrating is that people are turning to the Tories. I know a week is a long time in politics so 11 years must be an eternity and they are certianly to the political left of Labour, but their rise bodes badly for the country.

Jumping on bandwagons is easy politics, but when pushed their credentials remain solidly pro big business, pro infinite expansion, anti-social justice and environmentally damaging. Eric Pickles' performance was a joke on Question Time this week, with no clear idea what to do about the oil shock, let alone any semblance of greenness that Cameron promissed. It appears that Cameron is throwing out just about every green policy that is put forward. Leopard / spots / unchanging...

Back to post offices: John Pilger's excellent piece in the New Statesman a few weeks ago tells it all for me:

This is an excert from the article, now on Pilger's web site:

The whole wilful destruction is a new Labour classic and shows why, in a nutshell, even the ever faithful have turned on them. Having already closed 6,000 post offices since it came to power in 1997, more than any other government, it issues press releases saying it wants to "help the Post Office modernise, restore profitability... invest in new products and look at innovative ways to deliver services". We know what this means. It was left to a member of the Scottish Parliament, Fergus Ewing, to say it: "Senior management are preparing the ground for a huge sell-off of the postal service."

The "S-word" is subsidy. While new Labour is happy to subsidise Crozier's fortune, a failed bank, colonial bloodbaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and a culpably useless Trident nuclear weapon system costing up to £20bn, it refuses to subsidise a true public service that costs, in relative terms, peanuts.

On 19 March, just 20 Labour MPs voted against the government on a motion calling for a delay in closure of post offices.

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