THE PEOPLE'S DAILY
FIGHTING FUND
YOU'VE RAISED:
£8050
WE NEED:
£9950
10 Days Remaining

Oct
2013
Thursday 10th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

Business Secretary Vince Cable's assertion that the coalition's planned sell-off of Royal Mail views value for the taxpayer as an "absolutely key consideration" makes a mockery of the English language.


Business Secretary Vince Cable's assertion that the coalition's planned sell-off of Royal Mail views value for the taxpayer as an "absolutely key consideration" makes a mockery of the English language.

How can it be good value to hand over a successful public asset to the government's City friends for a fraction of what it's worth?

How can it be good value to privatise a business that offers a universal service obligation (USO) based on daily deliveries and collections for six days a week and the same affordable uniform tariff across the UK?

The coalition pretends that the USO will be maintained after privatisation, but history teaches otherwise.

A privately owned Royal Mail will lobby to drop the USO on grounds of unaffordability and this will be agreed whichever party is in government.

Defenders of the USO will be told to join the real world or to put themselves in the shoes of management striving to maximise profits in their shareholders' interest.

As ever, the sacred cause of private profit will take precedence over the interests of people and small businesses based in locations viewed as inconvenient by a private monopoly.

Such forecasts are not based on guesswork. Royal Mail's future has been seen in the Netherlands and it doesn't work.


The former PTT Netherlands was opened up to the private sector in 1994 and, now known as Royal TNT Post, has become a byword for indifference to customer service and for slashing staff pay and conditions.

Hard-faced TNT managing director Peter Kuinz said two years ago that deliveries would be slashed to just three days a week and "if politicians want six days a week then they will have to finance it."

He also described the concept of USO as akin to Jurassic Park.

That or something similar is what lies in store for Royal Mail unless public opinion, parliamentary opposition or trade union resistance puts the skids under the coalition's disgraceful proposal.

Outside Westminster, devolved administrations have expressed their opposition, as have consumer groups, small businesses, trade unionists and just about everyone without a vested interest in this grotesque crime.

Once again the government has no mandate to privatise Royal Mail, but to add insult to injury it has put a derisory price tag on the sale.

Not so, claims Cable, who disputes his Labour shadow Chuka Umunna's assertion that the business is being sold too cheaply, explaining that he consulted extensively with "investors."


It's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at such imbecility.

What does he expect speculators to say? Are they so consumed by fairness as to deny themselves and their ilk a financial killing?

All Cable and his department needed to do was to examine the Royal Mail property portfolio, put two and two together and work out how much his investor friends were undershooting the mark.

If he remains in any doubt, he should ask himself why there has been such a strong demand for shares from the something-for-nothing brigade.

Seven times oversubscribed does not suggest a well-judged assessment of the company's true worth.

Labour still has the capacity to bring the entire bonanza to an end by warning speculators that it will renationalise Royal Mail for no more than privatisation brought in.

If Umunna, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband really oppose this sale too far, what is stopping them?




Advertisement