Lindsay Mackie is a consultant at nef. She is leading nef’s post office campaign and works on Clone Town and Ghost Town Britain.
Here’s how the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (aka Peter Mandelson) yesterday described his vision for Royal Mail. He wanted it to be “efficient, modernised and viable“.
To untangle the code contained here, is to understand how far the Government is from having a vision of a new economic order that we at nef can sign up to.
We say that Royal Mail is a national institution which is both a service to the people and an economic driver for small and medium sized businesses in terms of its astonishing network and Universal Service Obligation to deliver mail at a uniform price across the country.
The Government, through Lord Mandelson, is saying that Royal Mail is a business which he judges solely by a set of bare criteria which can in any case be manipulated by anyone who believes that public institutions with a remit beyond the commercial, are out of date.
At the BERR Select Committee today we waited in vain for Lord Mandelson to say anything positive about Royal Mail. Nothing about its values, both business and social, nothing about the trust we have in it. Nothing about how the Government might have a duty to strengthen Royal Mail in order to underpin both local and national economic well being and community cohesiveness.
Just the same arguments that the neoliberals at PostComm use- “the picture is stark”, the business picture is “challenging”. Subliminal messages – it’s a basket case.
There is evidence that MPs are getting angrier and angrier about the government treatment of Royal Mail. But nef‘s campaign to keep Royal Mail as a national institution for the people, has just acquired a formidable opponent.