Thursday, 26 February 2009

Baron Mandleson Splits Labour And Sells Out

A few months ago Baron Mandelson urged the prime minister to save the Post Office network by allowing it to provide government services and financial products. In the letter to Gordon Brown in October he said "We should examine the prospects for Post Office Ltd becoming a much more significant player in financial services - offering a wider range of attractive products within easy reach of the whole population, available from an institution they can trust."

This week the Baron has supported the conclusions of a report by an independent review panel led by businessman Richard Hooper which advised selling 25% to 33% of Royal Mail to a foreign buyer, closing ever more of these vital community facilities. He has flip flopped on a vital issue, one that has already done huge damage to the party and the country. Labour have already closed most of the 2,500 Post Offices across the country announced in 2007, on top of the 4,000 already shut since 1999. Thats already one third of the entire network, the effect on the community; particularly the elderly and disabled, is huge. Now they want to sell off the rest!

As many as 130 Labour MPs are opposed to the plans, leaving the government relying on the Tories to get the legislation through the Commons. The scale of the backlash against Baron Mandelson's proposals to partly privatise Royal Mail is laid bare today in a warning from Labour's eight largest unions that the proposals are electorally unpopular, politically unwise and damaging to the postal service. In a letter in today's Guardian, the Unions, which speak for 2.5 million members, also say the plan is forming a division in the party, undermining Labour's policy-making process by breaching manifesto commitments. These Unions are backing the wrong party, their support is what is keeping Labour afloat.

This is part of a trend of growing supermarket giants, vast chains of pubs and stores sucking the life out of Britain's villages and towns. Its not just Labour, the Conservative and Lib Dems have the same agenda. Like Labour rebels they often vote for these things while claiming to oppose them. Privatisation benefits big business interests, not consumers. We have seen this in the NHS, BT and the railways, to name a few instances. A report by Postwatch, the consumer watchdog, has failed to find any significant benefits to individual users from the 'liberalisation' of the postal service.

Union donations to Labour 2008:
Unite - AMICUS section £2,591,741
UNISON £1,780,122
GMB £1,368,873
Unite - TGWU section £1,364,175
Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers £1,111,049

BBC News

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