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Royal Mail must be saved/Lobbying Bill

Royal Mail privatisation/Lobbying Bill

Royal Mail must be saved

Today's Royal Mail debate confirmed one thing - it is simply impossible to talk sense into this government.

There is no case for selling off Royal Mail. It's a modern, efficient, profitable service. It's well-loved by the British public.

It's faster, cheaper and more reliable than its shoddy private-sector competitors - despite being hamstrung by restrictions which don't apply to its rivals.

No-one outside the government benches thinks the sell-off makes sense. Not the voting public. Not anyone with half an ounce of knowledge about economics.

Even vast swathes of the Tory Party are in revolt against a plan which would hammer rural communities across Britain.

So what's the reaction on the Con-Dem front benches? Not to delay and rethink but to press on full speed ahead with a privatisation which even Margaret Thatcher considered a step too far.

As so often with this government, this is being forced through fast to prevent proper scrutiny, to make sure the public don't realise what is being done until it's too late, and to make it harder to unite opposition to a policy which has no mandate and no popular support.

Assuming the Tories' tame Lib Dem lackeys troop obediently into the Yes lobby, this sell-off will sail through Parliament despite mass public outrage.

So the fate of Royal Mail is in our hands. First of all the CWU needs mass support as its members fight tooth and nail to defend our public service.

But, second, we need to pile further pressure on a Labour Party which has already been forced to retreat from its own plan to privatise Royal Mail.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna can criticise the sell-off all he likes, but if he is serious about stopping it then the answer is easy.

Simply pledge publicly that a future Labour government will renationalise Royal Mail at no profit to the investors who thought they could cash in on the nation's family silver.

The Labour conference in Brighton this month is our chance to throw down the gauntlet to Umunna and Ed Miliband.

Do they really stand for working people and public services - and will they prove it?

Lobbying Bill

For all its indecent haste the Royal Mail fire sale looks positively sedate compared with the Con-Dems' disgraceful attempt to force their lobbying Bill through Parliament.

The Bill is a perfect summary of how this lying, corrupt, anti-democratic gang of thugs and toffs operate.

First, get caught in a crisis of their own making. Second, deflect blame onto an innocent group who had nothing to do with the crisis.

Third, get the tame right-wing press to whip up a hate campaign. Fourth, force legislation through Parliament which weakens democracy, public services and the Con-Dems' class enemies but does nothing to address the crisis.

We've seen it with austerity, where the greed and incompetence of David Cameron's City mates became the excuse to mount a slash-and-burn assault on our public services - while the bankers go on their merry way.

We've seen it with tax, where mass avoidance by big business has led to a crackdown on thousands of tuppenny-hapenny tax dodgers but no action against the corporate giants cheating us of billions.

And now we see a lobbying Bill which effectively outlaws political campaigning by trade unions and charities - but leaves the likes of Lynton Crosby, the tobacco lobbyist and top Tory adviser, in the clear.

The lobbying Bill is a staggering attack on democracy by a government which has proved it has nothing but contempt for the concept.

The Bill must be stopped, and the Con-Dems must be thrown out - the sooner the better.


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