Lindsay Mackie is a consultant at nef. She is leading nef’s post office campaign and works on Clone Town and Ghost Town Britain.
Lord Mandelson‘s leaked letter in the Guardian today couldn’t be more welcome. The business secretary says he wants the Post Office network to be built up and expanded, rather than neglected, pulled apart and run according to swivel-eyed free market principles – government policy for the last decade and a half.
And what he seems to have grasped absolutely is that the UK has been lumbered with a financial system unfit for the purpose of building up our economy and safeguarding our communities – but that the Post Office, with its astounding national network, provides the healthy economic trusted alternative.
In his letter to the prime minister, Mandelson describes the Post Office – with 24 million customers a week – as a trusted brand with a widely accessible network. And so it is. And it would be churlish to point out that the hundreds of thousands of people who have fought to save this network have been saying the very same thing for the two years since the Post Office introduced its detested Network Change programme.
But Mandelson is more than a sinner come to repentance. He has the chance to hit the bullseye, making the government popular by doing the right thing for communities across the UK (and the cities would be as bereft as villages if 2,500 post offices were allowed to close) and strengthening the UK economy as we enter the choppiest of waters.