Speak up: this may be last chance to save our post offices

IT IS ironic that in the very week a building society is nationalised to save it from itself, we should also be presented with the dreadful consequences of perhaps the country s greatest privatisation calamity. Not the railways, nor the waterways, nor the

IT IS ironic that in the very week a building society is nationalised to save it from itself, we should also be presented with the dreadful consequences of perhaps the country's greatest privatisation calamity.

Not the railways, nor the waterways, nor the partnerships which are draining the health service of funds, nor the asset-stripping of any of the great industries that made this country great. It is in the destruction of what was once the envy of nations, the Royal Mail, that we most clearly see the folly of placing the nation's greatest treasures in the hands of profit-driven enterprises that care little about the fabric of society.

Once upon a time the Royal Mail took pride in delivering a single letter in gale force winds to the remotest parts of these islands - you don't have to be too old to remember the adverts. A shade sentimental perhaps, but it was this kind of thing that cemented the impression that the Royal Mail was there to deliver a vital and valuable public service.

Then the bonus-driven executives got their hands on it and the rest is history - as chief executive Adam Crozier might have said during his days as a football administrator.


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Over the past five years the public has watched, powerless, as this vital chain of community life was dismantled, link by link. More than 300 post offices closed in London alone.

Some closures were justifiable. The spread of electronic communications and subtle but significant shifts in public shopping habits meant that they had become effectively redundant by any reasonable analysis.

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But many closures were controversial, yet were forced through nonetheless with only a modicum of regard for public opinion.

Now another 169 are to close across the capital. They include, as the Ham&High exclusively revealed last week, several in this area that stand at the very heart of their communities.

The degree of public anger is palpable. It is not just because the queues at surviving post offices will get longer and longer, or that the people most affected will be those who are usually numbered among society's 'most vulnerable' or that small businesses may see their costs increase, or that neighbouring businesses will be adversely affected.

All of these things are important, but what fuels much of the anger is that something that belonged to the people is being mercilessly carved up until it is unrecognisable from the great public service it once was.

Sign the petitions, make the phone calls. Each and every one of us has one last chance to record our disgust and dismay at this crass and irresponsible example of corporate butchery.

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