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Nobody mentions the fact that a large part of the Royal Mail`s problem is a direct result of EU directives, to encourage competition. As a result profitable parts of the business have been creamed of by continental firms.

The Royal Mail is a national institution and should be preserved. Sad to see the Conservatives siding with the government on this.

What next, privatise our armed forces?

This seems to be another cause and effect of the decisions taken by the Government. They allow private operators to cherry pick the profitable services, then wonder why the Royal Mail is in trouble. Now I wouldn't want to minimise the effect abysmal working practices and god awful management have played in this, but I think people are deluding themselves if they think selling off chunks is going to be the solution, for the only outcome of that will be the loss of the universal service and a much more expensive postal service.

But may be that's been the agenda of vested interests of business, EU, and desire to trash all and every national symbols we have.

Why are we (or for that matter why is anyone) in favour of this? All part-privatisation will do is lead to the more profitable parts of the organisation being cherry-picked, leaving the loss-making parts (delivery to the more remote locals, which will be rural and therefore represented by a Conservative!) to either be financed by the tax-payer or, more likely, abandoned, requiring those in the remote areas to have to drive to the nearest major town to collect their post

I don't understand what is conservative about this proposal, if the private company was taking on 30% of the pension liability too I'd say go for it, however, if they want the taxpayer to retain the pension problem and the private buyer to take a large cut of the profits without the risk where's the sense in that?

Edward Huxley is, as usual, correct regarding the malign influence of the eu in the decline of the Royal Mail.

I am surprised that the parliamentary party may support this proposal since it is a mess. Not only is it a mess but it lacks any commercial or strategic logic and long term vision.

Surely it would be better if we were to put forward constructive proposals that might serve to enhance the Royal Mail in the long term despite the shackles imposed by the eu?

"will be rural and therefore represented by a Conservative"

Yes the Conservative position seems to be somewhat confused, they campaign to save post offices, yet are for the privatisation of the Royal Mail which will mena no postal service for rural areas.

If the Conservatives vote for this sell-off to a foreign company under EU pressure they lose all credibility in any claim to back this country.

Isn't the public going to be a little confused if Cameron et al vote in favour of part-privatising the Royal Mail when they've been banging on for months about saving the post offices?

A clear case of the LIB-LAB-CON working together again.The Troika are really all the same now...Socialists to a man/woman.
To the Conservatives who loudly call themselves Eurosceptics just prior to an election I say,do this deed,and it will be the end of you all for sure.Shams only work for so long and this old Eurosceptic one is well past its sell by date,along with the party I'm afraid.

It is right that subsidies should be transparent, we must know where our money is going and why.

If universal delivery is worth the cost of the subsidy it requires, then fine, the tax-payer foots the bill for the subsidy it requires.

But to trying to hide the cost by bundling it up with other services is deceitful.

Rail privatisation has its supporters and detractors, but the fact it makes subsidies transparent has opened the whole area to discussion (unfortunately no effective action - but its a start).

Lord Allesley has blogged on this. This must be opposed; it is the worst of all options. Break up and total privatisation of Royal Mail is the only way.
Cameron also needs to remind everyone it was Brown who raped the pension pot and took the profits in his early years as Chancellor.


Post Office Jobs?

What prospects have our loyal Royal Mail staff? For 23 years up to the year 2000, the Post Office organisation (Royal Mail) had successfully made substantial profits. In that year, Chancellor Brown deliberately took those profits from Royal Mail and left them severely disadvantaged. He also held secret talks with a Dutch rival, TPG, with a view to selling Royal Mail, then known as Consignia.

However, the cross-party watchdog Postcomm, set up by an Act of Parliament, had no intention of presiding over a postal service that was to be ‘flogged off’ to the Netherlands. This conflict with Brown has come back to haunt his Government. Mr McGovern MP Dundee East, resigned as PPC to Postal Minister McFadden (17/12/08) because hectoring Mandleson is again trying to sell to another Dutch rival, TNT, breaking another Labour Party Manifesto promise.

We now have a dysfunctional Government determined to sell off a vital industry with the loss of 16,000 thousand jobs. This will unleash further industrial unrest on a collapsed economy. The base line is Royal Mail is finished under this Government. History shows Labour voted for the Post Offices Services Bill (which led to the closing of thousands of local post offices) and also agreed covertly to support EU Directives 97/67/EU and 2002/39/EC. This effectively put Royal Mail under unfair competition from German controlled DHL and other Dutch firms and has steadily eroded the profitable parts of the business ever since.

Lets face facts; this Government has turned Royal Mail, since 2000, into a financial basket case, unable to operate an efficient business plan and a mounting pension fund deficit of £7 billion plus. They now desperately seek to hide Brown’s years of interference behind a sell off. Hopefully the long-suffering postal workers and public will realise this ‘fire sale’ is a continuation of Labour’s vandalising policies towards the postal service in this country. They have again broken a Manifesto commitment to preserve Royal Mail and tens of thousands of postal service workers’ jobs are at immediate risk. Another example of this Government’s gross incompetence.

I hope the Conservatives do not support this misguided motion to part privatise Royal Mail. We must maintain the universal post in the UK. To privatise will immediately affect 16,000 jobs and I don't think that is right or expedient at this time. With thousands losing their jobs daily, this cannot be right or fair. I urge D.C to stand up to Brown, oppose this measure. It can be handled in a more sympathetic measured way in the future.
(If Brown hadn't bankrupted our Treasury, there would have been funds available).

Posted by: Edward Huxley | February 24, 2009 at 08:47

Spot on Edward Huxley.

No case is clearer than this and no better position to make a stand on it and the EU directives which threadbare our country of all nationality.

The Conservative Party leadership must be stark raving mad not to support the millions of people who want their Royal Mail to be strengthened and maintained. They also want a party which is on their side and yet again, this looks like another home goal for Conservatives.

Why are David Cameron and his Conservative colleagues, aligning themselves with Brown in this part-privitisation. I think it is very foolish!! A lot of hardship has been inflicted on people in rural areas by all the post office closures, and they are NOT likely to forget that!

I could not imagine a situation of any kind when Brown would similarly ally himself with DC, BUT he will make full use of the situation the other way around, and I would not put it past him to use it AGAINST David Cameron, in terms of electioneering. So if the public show antagonism to the project, Brown, and Mandelson will do all they can to emphasise that David Cameron is behind this!!!!!

I agree entirely with Edward Huxley. The Royal Mail was established as a “Nationalised Industry” in the reign of Chares 1 and, in her novels, Jane Austen noted how efficient it was.

The Royal Mail is part of our heritage; it connects all parts of this country together, from the Outer Hebrides to the Scilly Isles. It should by given back its monopoly and run efficiently. The EU should be told to go and boil its head.

I though that Conservative were in favour of conserving things!

Agree 100% with Mr. Huxley.

Like so many things with the EU it's not a level playing field. TNT cherry picks.

The Royal Mail is a bit like the NHS, the overwhelming voter sentiment is to keep it as a public owned monopoly service. Accept this, start from this model and make it better and more efficient. The unions have moved on from 20 years ago - they would play a constructive part in such a process.

So what about the EU postal directive - how many other EU countries have applied it?

Like "posted workers2 (sic) this is another opportunity for the Conservatives to be on the right side of the argument and really drive a wedge into the links between Labour and the Unions. And also show its also moved on from the dogmatic "privatise anything whatever the people want" agenda of the 90s too.

Why not take this chance? It would really push Brown into the wrong place.

"The Royal Mail is part of our heritage"

Which is probably why they have set out to destroy it. As various debates have shown recently there seems to be a plan to reduce this country to a place where the state has removed its self from having any obligations to its people, and the people are just there to pay bills , nothing more. So there is no British jobs for British workers, no rights for British people to have houses, its just a dormitory country for an itinerant workforce and so any institution which might give people an attachment to the place is ruthlessly expunged.

There's no point in voting Conservative if all they are is the Labour govt renewed. I back the Labour rebels. I'm totally opposed to the Post Office being privatised, it is a public and social service of crucial importance to the elderly, those who live remotely and those who don't have a bank account etc. It should not be run for greedy shareholders most of whom are foreign, it's not a money making business, it's a service. Preparing the PO for privatisation has already seen thousands of POs close down and leave communities stranded. Heck, I live in London and we have one PO serving tens of thousands at the other end of my borough, queues out the door all day, all the sub POs have gone, the staff are all stressed, it's total rubbish. If this is the Britain the Tories want then I despair. Conservatives should preserve the best of the old, return to 2 deliveries per day, an efficient one-stop shop/servive counter in all villages and small towns, put some heart back into our communities.

Re David at Home comments about "heritage".

Exactly, the Royal Mail is part of the fabric which binds our countries together and is part of "what we are". It's the same symbol and universal service from Shetland to Penzance.

I don't like this part privatisation, it smacks of a bad deal for the tax payer yet again. I am not sure I understand the logic of our support for this, other than our ideological preference for private ownership.
The Post office was and still is to a lesser extent, the one institution that brought the public into direct contact with the state. It was an example of everything that was Great about Britain. The Royal post office serving our royalist people. Worse it seems that although we will be selling parts of the post office off cheap the pension problems will remain firmly the tax payers liability.

"But with the Conservatives (and the Lib Dems for that matter) having signalled their backing for the move in principle"
The principle of privatisation when possible is right, but there are a number of institutions that are simply far too important to sell off in this way.
Is this yet another example of a widening gulf between the PCP and the grass roots of the party?

"The Conservative Party leadership must be stark raving mad not to support the millions of people who want their Royal Mail to be strengthened and maintained"
I agree with this comment. Lets hope the leadership is just playing Labour along, and intend to embarrass them over this shamefully short sighted decision.

If we're going to privatise it we should have the balls to go all the way and sell off the whole organisation leaving the taxpayer with no liabilities.

What a bunch of old socialists... Supporting opaque internal cross subsidies, instead of being honest with those who actually foot the bill for the subsidy...

And as for the pensions, like many people, my pension expectations have been destroyed by Brown, why (in massively reduced circumstances) am I expected to pay even more to protect other peoples pensions?

Thats a double whammy on me and many, many others.

If the Conservative Party tells Brown to get knotted on this one they will win the GE by a landslide,if they vote for Labour again along with the Lib-Dems,what will be the outcome of such an incredible volte face action......?
It's a no brainer,show the people we will conserve Royal Mail and breeze through the GE,by a landslide.

I have to admit I don't understand all the implications of this. Like others on this board I dislike intensely the idea of selling off a state asset to a foreign company who have no loyalty to the British customer. I also look at the number of utilities that have been brought by foreign institutions who have added no value to either shareholders or customers.
Having said that, what is the alternative? The Royal Mail and Post Offices are vital to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Do we continue to pour our taxes into them or privatise the lot which will probably result in a worse service than it already delivers?

I add my (Conservative) name to those here who aren't comfortable with a privatization of Royal Mail.
Of course improvements in efficiency can be made, and Royal Mail is making them. The Government's proposal to have a creeping privatization will undermine morale amongst the workforce and put those efficiency improvements at risk.
In addition anyone who, like me, delivers thousands of political leaflets has a natural affinity and regard for the work of Royal Mail employees.

I don`t know if people at Conservative Office look at this site, but if they do they should get the message that posters here are almost unanimous that David Cameron should come out strongly against Mandelson`s proposals and support the Labour rebels. If he does it will do him and his party a lot of good, and take us one step nearer getting rid of this ghastly government.

However, if as seems likely, he joins with the LibDems and supports the plan it will be obvious that there will never be any possibility of him objecting to any laws coming from Brussels.

Mustn`t upset our European partners.

Mr. Cameron, we have been told by governmentS that we are Europeans NOW, so we must 'go along' with the European Union - the European Project! In fact those same UK governments demonstrate regularly that WE ARE NOT EUROPEANS! WHY, because they dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's, of every rule and all regulations, without questioning anything (apparently anyway). We are bled dry because of our governments stupidity!!

If we were Europeans we would be deciding whether this Postal policy was good for us as a country first and foremost!! And then act accordingly!

As Brown has demonstrated many times how little regard he has for the man in the street, one can understand why he regards this Policy solely in terms of saving money!!

BUT THE PUBLIC HAVE LONG MEMORIES!!!! And one would expect someone who has 'woken up' to Broken Britain, to be more attuned to the needs of the ordinary person in the street AND their Post Office.

Don't be fooled by Brown, please!

Could the postal workers themselves buy 30% of the Royal Mail with the money in their pension schemes? It's surprising how having your own future invested in a business helps you to focus.

If opinion here is a reflection of wider opinion in the country, you do wonder what planet the Westminster village is on and who is it they claim to represent.

Of course it is wrong to sell off what should be a part of the infrastructure of the nation. But that is probably the point; destroy all the infrastructure, like all our cultural heritage, and there is nothing left but a vacuum.

The political class wants to re-create the nations and the peoples to better suit their continued power without the mess of democracy.

Royal Mail is no more "just a business" than the justice system or the police. We need a reliable means of communicating and representing the state in towns and villages, not just online.

How is it that foreign businesses, often sponsored by their "home" governments, can afford to buy what we are told is a seriously loss making business? The answer is likely to be in the Nil cost of capital their owners demand combined with pensions liabilities assumed by their "home" states, whereas our Post Office has to fund final salary pensions itself.

Does anyone believe that a foreign or UK privately owned Post Office would maintain employment, branches and deliveries? Of course not - the whole exercise is a spurious screen to conceal the dimemberment of it - the unions have been slow to appreciate what "their" Government is doing to them.

Well done Conservative Party - you look like helping Gordon out again. Some time soon the public will realise that your support what he says and does and your lack of serious opposition to the Government, indicate your agreement with its the policies.

I've just had a look at the 1000 comments so far on the BBC News website link on this issue.

Press "recommended" and you will see that the public (or at least a somewhat larger sample) seem to think the same way as most of the posts here.

I find the anti-EU comments amusing. Why is Royal Mail supposedly suffering? Not because of over-regulation but because it's being forced to COMPETE. Tories against competition and customer choice? They sound just like old Labour supporters to me.

I'm not sure whether Royal Mail should be part-privatised, but it's ludicrous to always try to find fault with the EU. Clearly they have it right that at least most of the time competition is good. Privatise the armed forces? Don't be childish!

1. If the Royal Mail is privatised, even in part, would they still be allowed to call the organization "Royal" mail and have the Queen's head on the stamps?

2. What have the problems with the pension fund to do with (part-)privatisation? If the government is prepared to fund the deficit if Royal Mail is privatised, why can't they do it anyway?

3. The nationwide fixed-charge regardless of distance within the UK has considerable merit. Would a privatised service maintain such a service or would we have to go to a post office and get the price of each item of mail separately?

4. What do countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do?

5. What can the potential buyers of Royal Mail offer? Money, expertise? The government seems to have enough money to prop up the banks; if we need the expertise of foreign postal services, why not hire them as consultants without giving their a share in the equity?

The two main parties wonder why people are turning to the BNP, well they would get some idea from the majority of the comments on this thread!

Close down individual Post Offices (because they are not 'economical') and part sell the rest, but it seems if you are an itinerant and end up here, with an apparent grievance, then you can look forward a very good living - with the help of ...lawyers.
We certainly seem to know where our priorities lie!

"Close down individual Post Offices (because they are not 'economical')"

Though it was 'economical' for them to shower £180k on Mr Mohammed to bring him to this country, but not a whimper of protest from Conservative MP's , and then we have Mr Clarke come on World at One and excitedly telling the nation that the Conservatives are going to rush to the support of this hated Government, to help the loathed Mandelson get his disliked Post Office policy through parliament. Go figure I can't.

Its interesting to note who has been in favour of this policy. The EUphile Clarke, the EUphile Hesletine, and EUphile Mandelson. Common Purpose anyone?

Raj, there are now 23 licensed postal operators in the UK:


and guess how many of them have the obligation to provide a universal service?

That's right: just one postal operator, Royal Mail, has that written into the terms of its licence.

And guess how many of them have their prices fixed by an external regulator?

That's right: just one again, Royal Mail.

And guess how many of them are required to sort and deliver mail on behalf of competitors, for a charge which barely covers the cost, or is below cost?

That's right: just one again, Royal Mail.

So if we're going to have free competition, shouldn't that also be fair competition?

That is, with all 23 of the licensed postal operators having the same terms in their licences.

Rather than having 22 operators who can adjust their own prices, while the 23rd can't, and who are free from a costly social obligation which is imposed solely on the 23rd, and who are even allowed to parasitise the (publicly owned) facilities of the 23rd for their (private) profit.

As the recently appointed Shadow Business Secretary has already committed the Conservative party to supporting partial privatisation:


"I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the Hooper review of UK postal services; and urges the Government to implement rapidly the review’s proposals for the partial privatisation of Royal Mail."

and it was only a question of whether the Labour government would be prepared to rely on Conservative support to force it through, it's difficult to see how the party could now reverse its position without risking his resignation.

It should not be forgotten that Royal Mail is making a profit at the moment, something many companies cannot claim at present. The problem is the pension scheme, emphasising even further the need for Cameron to implement his promise to end it. I believe part privatisation will have benefits though, getting profitable private continental postal services involved will help improve its efficiency and modernise as its letter business declines and it becomes more focused on parcels and a slimmed down service.

I`ve just heard this discussed on the BBC World at one. Robust remarks from Shropshire Conservative MP Daniel K...(sorry, can`t spell it) who will vote against regardless. Well done that man.

And who did the Tory front bench put up? That old windbag Kenneth Clarke, who is course, all in favour of Mandelson`s proposals. So don`t worry, the Tories will huff and puff a bit tomorrow but Mr. Cameron has already made up his mind. Victory for Gordon.

It will soon be goodbye Royal Mail.

"As the recently appointed Shadow Business Secretary has already committed the Conservative party to supporting partial privatisation:"

Different political parties same old rubbish policies, it seems we have the opportunity at the next election to vote for one political party, the British political establishment, a bigger bunch of incompetents you could hope to find anywhere else.

Ken Clarke was quoted on the “World at One” saying that he supports the privatisation of the Royal Mail and he wished he had been able to convince Maggie to do this in the ‘80s.

This confirms that the industrial policies of both New Labour and New Tories are way to the “right” of Mrs T.

I find it astonishing that the Conservatives are supporting Brown on this, it is the height of duplicitousness. They are pretending that it is about efficiency, when all the time the EU is most assuredly behind this.
It is another step in the direction of an EU-wide postal service controlled by the faceless Eurocrats.
Another click of the ever-closer-union ratchet.

"This confirms that the industrial policies of both New Labour and New Tories are way to the “right” of Mrs T. "

Way right, or following an agenda that's been set for them? I sometimes get the distinct feeling that the more paranoid might have a point when they say that there are 'organisations' which are sitting behind the scene pulling all the strings, whether you call them the Bilderberg, Common Purpose, Rothschild’s, the EU, or even an intransigent Civil Service that won't take no for an answer. We say no to road pricing , they're still trying to bring it in. We say no to a bin tax, they are still trying to bring it in. We say not to the PO privatisation, Mrs T said no, but its still being brought in. We have said no, no , no to the EU project, but we find ourselves sinking ever deeper into the nightmare. And if we vote for Cameron's lot I doubt things will change, for we will still get the dammed road tolls, we'll still get the dammed bin tax, we'll sink ever deeper in the EU. Hand on heart does anybody really believe that things will change if Cameron's lot are voted into office?

It would seem that UKIP have gone up by 2% today for the EU Parliamentry Elections in June,any ideas on why this should be so?

This is a chance for the Tories to make a difference by declaring they will vote against the government.

With all its businesses in profit for the first time in 20 years, the Royal Mail does not need even partial privatisation.

Those who believe in public services, in strong unions, and in rural communities must unite with those, very largely the same people, who believe in national sovereignty (both as against the EU and as against the foreign acquisition of a key national asset), in the monarchy's direct link to every address in the country, and in rural communities.

No less than the social, cultural and political arguments, the economic arguments are on our side.

Together, we can save our Post Office.

The CWU - previously led by Alan Johnson, so hardly a hotbed of Hard Leftism - should stop wasting its money on New Labour and start funding individual candidates, regardless of party (if any), who do in fact support public services, strong unions, rural communities, national sovereignty (both as against the EU and as against the foreign acquisition of a key national asset), and the monarchy's direct link to every address in the count.

Mutatis mutandis, at least, the same came and must be said of and to each and every other trade union.

1. It is no obligation of the Conservative party to support the government on ANYTHING. The thing at the moment is get elected. Thats it. Letting cold doctrinaire rubbish get in the way of that objective is to show the party as easily deflected and easily manipulated by Labour.
( and highly questionable- we are supposed to be the Conservative party remember - and that is to be pragmatic and NON doctrinaire)

The future of Royal Mail is in the ambit of Labour and Labour only. Let them draw upon themselves th opprobrium for this stupid and EU grovelling action.

Only a complete fool would see this as anything other than a trap. FWIIW remember IDS and the way he was led up the garden path over Iraq.

2.I have grave doubts that denationalisation of Royal Mail is the correct way to go economically or politically. RM is a major employer. You will be putting many good people out of work for a dubious economic theory. Don'e expect them to vote Tory.

It is also part of the fabric of Great Britain. One of the strands that knits this country together. It is not meant to be a profitable business.It is a service instead and the Tory way forward should be to empasise that and damn the EU.
Apart from anything else there is considerable mileage to be had from opposing Labour on this topic and for the above reasons.

I can't say I feel the same sort of sentimental attachment to the Royal Mail that I do to the Monarchy, C of E, the British countryside and even, dare I say it, the BBC. Rather than being a lynchpin of our constitution, history landscape or culture I just see it as....a postal service!

Although admittedly I wouldn't like to see the name "Royal" vanish nor the Queen's head disappear from the stamps.

Jake "It is not meant to be a profitable business".

The Royal Mail is not a consumer only service, in allowing big business and the competitors of the Post Office access to the infrastructure at cost we are all subsidising the profitability of these organisations.

The Royal Mail must be able to cover its costs including its pension cost, why should taxpayers, many of whom don't have a supplimentary pension, subsidise another set of workers unaffordable, unfinanced pension?

As for those people saying the Royal Mail is in profit, this is clearly untrue if they haven't funded and invested their pension commitment. I thought there were rules about that sort of thing?

"The CWU is threatening to disaffiliate from the Labour Party"

Earlier I asked why the workers didn't use their pension pot to buy a 30% state in the company, I'd ask the same of the CWU, use your Labour Party funding and your pension pots and offer to buy a stake.

"A clear case of the LIB-LAB-CON working together again.The Troika are really all the same now...Socialists to a man/woman."



A-Tracy, good idea.

Richard J, as Margaret Thatcher once said, you can't privatise the Royal Mail, it's Royal. How can you have a sentimental attachment to the monarchy or the countryisde and NOT to the Post Office?

Just shows the bad judgement of David Cameron. Firstly whenever something is privatised it only means one thing. Higher prices for the customer. Secondly privatisation is actually unpopular now. People have seen what it as done in the energy and water companies and they see that they are being made to pay higher prices for no better service and it makes them think that perhaps they were better off when these things were back in the public sector.
It is just Cameron and the leadership showing that when it comes to a choice between big business and the people who elect them they will choose big business.

How can you have a sentimental attachment for the BBC?

I am informed that Nigel Farage is on Newsnight tonight, defending Royal Mail.

The Conservatives used to be the party of the nation and the Labour Party used to be the party of the people but now it seems they both represent the EU.

UKIP, whose primary colour is magenta, achieved by mixing red and blue, is the party of the the people of the nation.

Agree with the majority sentiment in this thread. But it's a typical British cock up - long term neglect by governments, interference by the EU,spanish practices by unions and sellout by Brown.

Nigel will be on Newsnight tonight talking about this.
It would be interesting if Clarke were there too?

Nigel Farage has issued a statement on the privatisation of the Royal Mail:


"The European Union has backed us into a corner over the Royal Mail. We've been warning for years about this. An EU directive insists that postal services must be opened to competition. Thus the Royal Mail is gutted of its profitable activities, leaving only the loss-making postal services themselves. But we've also had to agree that we cannot continue to subsidise the post: so the only way out is to sell it off.

"This is just another example of the clash between European law and the British way of life. Like British jobs for British workers, we're simply not allowed to do things as we want, do things for ourselves. We have to do as our masters in Brussels tell us.

"If we want to keep the Royal Mail, if we want to preserve our jobs, our way of life, then we simply have to call the whole thing off. Leave the European Union and let Britain be Britain again."

"Victorian practices "

Surely Mr Clarke has made a mistake there, for the Victorian working practices get introduced post privatisation. No doubt the fist benefit to go will be the final salary pension scheme, after all its only politicans who should have their pension system bailed out by the tax payer, good lord the peasants getting their pension system bailed out ny the tax payer, what ever next.

Come to think of it when the politicians got the tax payer to fund their pensions they never part privatised their role to a foreign concern!

I value Ken Clark but I think he is wrong on this one, badly wrong, as the political fallout is considerable. We stand to lose a lot of potential voters if we back the government on this one. It might be a longer route, but the PO is capable of being viable, very viable. It is a national service and parts of it could be revived and made highly profitable. Privatising this and selling it offshore is so very very wrong. I pray and hope Ken has a change of heart overnight. We should oppose, and loudly, if the people of this country are to have any confidence in us as a potential government. I will be sick to my boots if we do not call the government to account on this. Why nationalise the banks and privatise one of our core services. What a cock up!

"The European Union has backed us into a corner over the Royal Mail," says Nigel Farage, UKIP leader. "We've been warning for years about this. An EU directive insists that postal services must be opened to competition. Thus the Royal Mail is gutted of its profitable activities, leaving only the loss-making postal services themselves. But we've also had to agree that we cannot continue to subsidise the post: so the only way out is to sell it off.

"This is just another example of the clash between European law and the British way of life. Like British jobs for British workers, we're simply not allowed to do things as we want, do things for ourselves. We have to do as our masters in Brussels tell us.

"If we want to keep the Royal Mail, if we want to preserve our jobs, our way of life, then we simply have to call the whole thing off. Leave the European Union and let Britain be Britain again."

"How can you have a sentimental attachment to the monarchy or the countryisde and NOT to the Post Office?"

I just can't bring myself to view a postal service in the samw way I view our constitution and our landscape. The latter have helped make us what we are, the former is just an economic function.

"How can you have a sentimental attachment for the BBC?"

Probably for what it used to be rather than what it is. Although I still think BBC News 24 is a cut above Sky News.

If the workers bought a stake in the Royal Mail the EU (through its branch office at Westminster) would arranged things to bankrupt them. The sell-off has to be to a Dutch or German company - for whom rip-off opportunities are assured.

This is making me wonder if any British politician actually bothers to read world news to learn there's a financial crisis across Europe with mass demonstrations, smashed cars and windows, police in battles with rioters and riot shields everywhere as if it's Boom Town?

Not to mention there's some "Wildcat" strikes afoot and others which the media is keeping under wraps for good health, it appears many bloggers know more of what is occurring than the people who are making these crass idiotic decisions which will lumber us with another £6 billion from the taxpayers money tree in addition to the Olympic size swimming pool of government debt they've given us. Yet they appear to not only be the slightest bit perturbed by it, but in fact INVITING nuclear disturbance from the public.

IF there was ever a case to sell our country to foreigners, I think now is not the time. But more importantly, this will only lead to less jobs and more angry victims of their lunatic policies which are going to be supported by another set of lunatics wearing blue rosettes come the election.

That's if they bother reading about the election !

Give the Royal Mail its letter post monopoly back - the cost of sending letters will then not go through the roof, it will again make profits to build the pension fund, and it be able to support Post Office branches (like it used to do before the EU got involved). I will never forgive the Tory party for going along with this further betrayal of our country.

"It would seem that UKIP have gone up by 2% today for the EU Parliamentry Elections in June,any ideas on why this should be so?"

Because it has taken only 36 days for the country to discover that, far from being brought back "to counter Peter Mandelson", Ken Clarke and Peter Mandelson have an identical agenda.

Conservative 'sceptics' have congratulated themselves that Clarke has agreed not to stand up and say: "I think the EU is absolutely brilliant". Doesn't need to, though, does he?

It has been entrancing watching Labour politicians and union leaders pulling themselves in half over the PO issue but no-one ever mentioning the elephant. One leftist MP today said that giving Royal Mail over to Dutch and German managers was "an insult to British managers". Really, you'd have to have a heart of stone...

Cameron really has not got the hang of this opposition business has he ?

Not only does he repeatedly miss open goals, he and his fat friend are prepared to stand in the opposing team's goal alongside their goalie to prevent a certain own goal!

Always, just when I am beginning to think the party has tapped into the zeitgeist it goes and does something stupid.

Now I hear that with 125 Labour rebels set to vote AGAINST the government, and the public hugely against privatising the Royal Mail, the party are going to save Brown's slimy neck by voting WITH him.....??????

And is it true that Cameron supports Jack Straw in witholding the cabinet minutes which discussed the Iraq war?

When the public are desperate for someone, anyone, to wield the dagger and finally bring an end to this shabby embarrassment of a government we have to SAVE them?

Unbelievable.....just staggering in the way these decisions miss the voting public's feelings.

This truly makes me very sad.

What does Jock Stale know about how Conservatives think? He isn't one and probably never has been.

BNP it is then.

Victorian practices? Wouldn't that be nice. You could write a letter in the morning, get a reply and reply to that, all on the same day, all delivered. Many collections, many deliveries and things did not get lost or left sitting in the sorting office. Bring on Victorian practices, say I.

This is utterly terrible policy. I'm used to Labour making me angry, but Clarke's response to this makes me angry and sad. Sad that the Tories are scared to make a real stand on this issue, and that they are playing right into Labour's hands.

Sad day for Britain, the Royal Mail and the Conservative Party.

The real fly in the ointment is Labour policy.

1. Peter Mandhelson was DTI Secretary about 11 years ago and set in motion the policy of removing the cross-subsidy mechanisms which was vital in terms of sustaining the universal service. This policy especially detrimental to rural areas shows an ignorance of realties on a par with the Hunting issue.

2. The government can always reform Treasury borrowing rules to enable the Royal Mail to borrow privately for capital investment projects. But they have refused to do this.

3. They converted the Royal Mail to PLC in 2000 which very much rinks of 'launch pad of privatisation'. So have they had a hidden agenda?

Is is vital that we as Conservatives hold the Labour Government to account for its actions. And in fact is no use HMG hiding behind the EU as they have very much moved in advance of the whole process and have 'gold plated' it with abundance.

It is vital that when when we Conservatives get into power we repair the damage through reinstating the £1 reserve and to enable the Royal mail to borrow privately to fund capital projects. The reform of Treasury Borrowing rules would show that we are determined remove Treasury control freakery.

The Royal Mail principles are unashamedly Conservative and Unionist. 'From the Scillies to the Orkneys, from London to Londonderry a universal service operating in the name of the Crown.

I favour the complete privatisation of the post office.

I also think that Ken Clark must GO!

While I support privatisation; open honest democracy trumps me - and should trump Kens own views too.

Ken has shown that over a decade in opposition has taught him absolutely nothing - and by keeping him, Cameron is indicating that once in power he will behave just as maggie did at the end (forgetting public opinion, brining in poll tax on dogma, in the face of public opposition), and as Labour are now (particularly regarding the destruction of civil liberties in the face of public opposition).

I freely admit that I never liked Ken because he appears arrogant and overly dismissive of opposing views - I will also admit that on the economy had appeared to be doing a far better media job than was being done before - however it isn't enough. And harking back to 'this is what I wanted to do last time around' shows how little he has changed, and how little consideration he gives to the public view.

I support the privatisation of the post office, but it the case must be made to the public - and if they are convinced, then it will happen - if they can't be convinced then *so be it*.

Ken must GO.

Nigel Farage said what we in the UKIP have been trying to get across for years, with little success. There has been a conspiracy at Westminster between Labour, Conservative and Libdem to conceal the truth from us about Royal Mail`s problems and the closure of so many post offices. Reason of course is that they dare not go against laws imposed on us by Brussels.

As many have said here, the Royal Mail is a highly valued part of our heritage and it must be preserved. Out of the clutches of the EU it can make profits, but that is not the main reason for preserving it. Do our armed forces show a profit? Does our parliament show a profit?

The sad thing is that David Cameron has once again shown he is lacking in judgment (not to be confused with intelligence). Here he had a chance to defeat the government and do what the majority of the people in this country want - to keep Royal Mail: and what happens, he and his party faithful will troop into the yes lobby to support Brown, Mandelson Co.

Nauseating. Perhaps the postal union should stop giving money to Labour and support UKIP.

British postal jobs for EU postal workers.

A bit late, but I too join the chorus of deeply disappointed conservatives in dismay at the decision to support Labour in partially privatising the Post Office. It is very worrying.
liz kemp

I think there's still a lack of realization that capitalism has failed.

It has failed because it has created an elite rich and divided society.

That elite rich is given taxpayers money to HELP it buy up our national assets, our industries and commercial activities and utilities.

This is in addition to their 'profits'.

As I say capitalism has failed. The penny hasn't dropped yet that's all.

We need to have essential services in public ownership to reboot the system and gear it toward people.

We need to kick out all wankers and hang all the bankers and filthy money grabbers.

It matters not what levels of growth we're at, what matters is the kind of lives we live.

My government should work for me.

I'm not fooled by these messages from those who say the mail service is "inefficient".

What they simply mean is "we can do it cheaper" and we can make people work harder and longer because we'll drive them into temporary positions and agency work, not pay pension, not give rights, ( 750,000 are currently on 1 week notice in UK under agencies ), and "WE" will make a profit which we'll "re-invest" - "But you will have to take on the pensions"........ The same people who they employ ( on no pensions ) will then meet the bill of their own pensions through tax whilst working like slaves and feeling "grateful".

There are two kinds of capitalism.
One for them and another for us.
I want ( and have always wanted ), capitalism to work for the people.

That is the only subject in discussion amongst world leaders and both Russia and Obama are agreed. It is only the UK who is different as Germany and France want this too. All other economies have collapsed already and they will do whatever is decided by the big economies.

Brown is on a limb and he'll fail to achieve anything if he maintains the current posture of his lunatic free market piracy.

Current pension liabilities should be taken on by government because it was government who fucked them up with competition which left the Royal Mail unable to meet the bill whilst private firms hired temps and rolling contractors. People being rolled over more like!

Royal Mail should draw up NEW pension contracts and all employees should have new pension arrangements and a second 'government' pension.

All taxpayers should bear the burden simply because our government cocked it up by not ensuring Royal Mail paid it's pension contributions correctly.

Less competition would also have helped them to get the money to have done it, so Royal Mail was up against a brick wall because their competitors were competing at an advantage using "agency staff" and "temps".......there's your "cheap Labour" in both senses of the word. The cheap fucking Labour Party, full of scroungers, and Private firm full of cheap Labour which is us people.

I thought I was the only one to oppose the Royal Mail privatisation ...

Firstly, the Conservatives should not be supporting a wildly unpopular Labour Government already in deep trouble. A big defeat in the Commons with the help of the Conservatives will be another nail in its coffin.

Secondly, the move to part-privatise Royal Mail will not result in a better service to the public, which should always be the main objective.

The problem is very largely caused by the EU, whose competition rules have already caused the most profitable parts of the postal service to be sold off. Needless to say, Britain obeys the directives to the letter (no pun intended), while the other Member States ignore them or bend the rules.

The effect on the service offered to the public is devastating. Post is delivered once a day only now. There is no longer a Sunday collection service. In the London Borough of Bromley where I live, one third of post offices have already been closed down, with more to follow.

Personally, I look upon the Royal Mail as a national asset which should remain in British hands. It has been a publicly owned public service since the time of King Charles I (ironically he decided to carry mail for the public as a means of raising revenue) and should remain so. You cannot apply the global free market to everything. Well done Daniel K.

"The Royal Mail principles are unashamedly Conservative and Unionist. 'From the Scillies to the Orkneys, from London to Londonderry a universal service operating in the name of the Crown.

Posted by: John Barstow | February 25, 2009 at 07:19 "

Here,here. And I say that as one who believes in an English Parliament and a federal United Kingdom.

The Royal Mail is absolutely part of the fabric of the UK. The British people understand this. It is not primarily meant to be a business. It should be managed with business principles but in the knowledge that there has to be some cross subsidy because it is mainly a service and that it is as a service that most people think of it.
Many politicians understand this but not, apparently, many of the politicians at the head of the Conservative party. Clarke is predictably doing his work to further the interests of the EU and to undermine the Conservative position. This should be obvious.

This is a golden opportunity for the Conservatives and they should grab it. Refuse to be party to the eradication of Royal Mail. Put country before (wrong and politically unattractive)free market doctrine and use this to expose Labour alone as the destroyers of Royal Mail.

Should've thought this was obvious.

Thanks for the kind comment Jake

In 1996 New Labour put out the following statement.

"The Royal mail's monopoly on the right to carry addressed mail for under £1 allows it to take advantages of substantial economies of scale. This allows for the maintenance of the universal service. A gradual, piece-meal erosion of the monopoly, regardless of ownsership, would eventually jeopardise this commitment".

The Labour government has done exactly the thing which it warned against and the main victims have been Conservative rural areas, amongst others. Conserservative MPs need to 'haunt' ministers with the above statement time after time in the coming debates in Parliament.

"I sometimes get the distinct feeling that the more paranoid might have a point when they say that there are 'organisations' which are sitting behind the scene pulling all the strings, whether you call them the Bilderberg, Common Purpose, Rothschild’s..."

I wondered how long it would be before someone began Conspiracy-Theorizing! I wonder if there is an equivalent to Godwin's Law whereby at some stage in every thread someone is bound to mention The Bilderbergers...?

Seriously however, it is interesting to note that those most vociferously opposing the plan for part-privatisation of the Royal Mail come from the BOO strand and the UKIPPERS! The fact is, The Royal Mail is in terminal decline. If something is not done then indeed it WILL be Goodbye Royal Mail, in no uncertain terms!
Clarke is right, the British public needs and deserves a modern efficient postal service and not a moribund Victorian dinosaur full of inefficiencies and "Spanish practices"!
As for the CWU's threat to disaffiliate from Labour - Good, I hope they do as it will simply be one more rat leaving the sinking ship.

Sad, but not surprised to see Sally supporting arch Europhile K. Clarke in this. She cannot or will not see that there was nothing wrong with Royal Mail until Brussels started interfering. It`s all down to the EU, Sally and the closure of so many post offices as well.

Well, Edward, we Wicked Arch-Europhiles must stick together! ;-)
There most certainly was a great deal wrong with Royal Mail - there has been for a long time. As I pointed out in my first post they have been heavily unionised and subject to antediluvian Spanish practices which have left the organisation lagging behind and unable to compete in a tough market place with all manner of new entrants to the field.

The politicians need to be honest and tell us who they think is the better judge of what the public should get - the public or the politicians?

If they don't believe that the public are competent to choose how their postal service works, presumably they don't believe that the public are competent to choose their members of parliament either?

I think the PO should be privatised, but it is more important that politicians don't put themselves above the public.

Clark has learnt nothing from over a decade of opposition, he clearly intends to pick up exactly where he left off, this nasty attitude must not be allowed to contaminate the rest of the front bench, he must go.

Don`t agree Sally.Once again it seems you support the party regardless. Our postman incidentally is a good chap and what he says about Brussels isn`t fit to print.

Well they`ll certainly be EUnionised in the end, like the rest of us.

We are now told that the EU wants to regulate the City of London; a body which has never yet had its accounts signed off! Dear oh dear, never mind, expect your chum Ken thinks it a great idea.

" Our postman incidentally is a good chap and what he says about Brussels isn`t fit to print."

My local Postie, Barry, is equally a good chap though he and I have never discussed Brussels or indeed political matters at all!

However, the fact remains, the Royal Mail needs revamping in a big way before it dies a horrible death - and that is nothing to do with blind support for my Party - it is fact.

Noted Sally. I`ll let you have the last word.

There seems to be some confusion...

    Royal Mail
    Post Office
are two separate entities.

    Post Office
made some £30 million profit in the last year, on the back of
    Royal Mail

Looks like there is no obligation to share the profits fairly.

There seems to be some confusion...

    Royal Mail
    Post Office
are two separate entities.

    Post Office
made some £30 million profit in the last year, on the back of
    Royal Mail

Looks like there is no obligation to share the profits fairly.

How are you. To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
I am from Serbia and also now am reading in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Michael peter balzary, le octobre melbourne, en australie, plus connu sous le nom de sc; ne flea, est un bassiste, trompettiste et acteur."

Waiting for a reply :P, Zenaide.

Hello everyone. Never be a cynic, even a gentle one. Never help out a sneer, even at the devil.
I am from Peru and now teach English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Have you used a cat flea treatment and loved your new flea free home, only to find a new infestation weeks later."

THX :-), Fraya.

Excuse me. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
I am from Slovakia and now teach English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Flea beetles are common pests of cruciferous crops on the prairies."

Thank :( Emelie.

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