Lindsay Mackie is a consultant at nef. She is leading nef’s post office campaign and works on Clone Town and Ghost Town Britain.
Okay, so we may have averted a crisis – or postponed a crisis. But, like those films where teenagers tread fearfully through the woods, we know (even if they don’t) that something horrible and other worldly is lurking there. And we will see it sometime soon.
This horrible something will include rising unemployment, bankruptcies, home re-possessions and businesses shutting down on the High Street and elsewhere. So much we know.
But the intangible impact will be as awful. Communities without focus, desolate High Streets, young people without activity, a sense of drift and dislocation. All the values that nef knows form the real economy, the real life of our country, put at risk by an insane banking system…it’s a frightful outcome of all those years when we were told that public was pointless and privatised everything was the way forward.
But today an interesting movement is taking place. People are moving into the state owned bank they know- not the grossly bailed out commercial banks- with millions of pounds worth of savings. They are walking into their local post offices and transferring savings and they are right..
Yet Royal Mail and its subsidiary the Post Office are under immediate threat from a Government that has believed that neoliberal economics and the obsession with competiton matter more than financial trust and local need. Reviews promise more not less breaking up of the Royal Mail’s functions to cherry picking private firms; the Post Office Card Account – financial inclusion for millions of people- is out to tender to those out of control banks and Post Office closures -2,500 of them- proceed apace.
We have to stop this. We have to strengthen Royal Mail and the Post Office. We have to secure these community hubs and we have to make sure the Government knows that they daren’t not do what we want.
nef is planning a campaign to save this national network, hub and economically trusted and viable institution. We’re campaigning for it to house the People’s Bank- what ideas do you have for us?