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Labour front bench takes the fight to Royal Mail privatisation

Click for more information on the campaign to keep the Post publicFor those of us who constantly despair over the Labour front bench’s failure to fight back against this government’s disastrous neo-liberal programme, today offers a glimmer of hope. The shadow cabinet are opposing a privatisation programme with more than vague platitudes – and initiating a campaign to save Royal Mail from the profiteers and asset-strippers.

Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow post minister, has initiated a petition on the Labour party website to save the daily delivery and oppose the sale. You can sign it here.

This follows months of sustained campaigning from the Communication Workers’ Union. Meanwhile the non-TUC affiliated National Federation of SubPostmasters has urged its members not to stock brochures advertising the privatisation.

Anyone who doubts the disaster that would follow privitisation need only read James Meek’s account of the catastrophe of postal services in the Netherlands, published in the London Review of Books two years ago. But it’s worth remembering that the last Labour government – in the form of a re-incarnated Peter Mandelson – proposed a part-privatisation itself. That Ed Miliband’s front bench opposes privatisation in principle, and not simply the way it is being handled, should be welcomed. Now how about a pledge for the next Labour government to reverse the Tories’ privatisation if it cannot be stopped in time?


  1. Rob the cripple says:

    Thank god, I thought Labour had gone on holiday.


  2. Rod says:

    “Ed Miliband’s front bench opposes privatisation in principle, and not simply the way it is being handled, should be welcomed.”

    I been looking for references showing that the opposition is “in principle” – perhaps you could provide some/one?

    The linked petition is concerned only with saving the daily delivery. Other sources describe Labour as saying the privatisation is “dangerous” (whatever that means) – not unacceptable, not wrong in principle nor on any other grounds.

    I’m familiar with the carefully worded pronouncements of the PLP so I’d take this to mean that if the daily delivery were to be guaranteed and a less “dangerous” form of privatisation was substituted then there’d be no problem.

    Of course, the are many principled arguments against privatisation but Labour doesn’t seem to be making any of them.

  3. James Martin says:

    So Labour fully supported the privatisation of council housing away from democratically elected local authorities to unelected and unaccountable ‘social landords’. Then Labour fully supported the outsourcing and privatisation of large ranges of services in thge NHS, central and local government and the prisons. Then Labour continuously refused to re-nationalise the utilities operators while all the time thousands of pensioners die through lack of affordable heating. Then Labour supported the privatisation of state schools via academies and removing them from local authority democratic control and oversight. Then Labour continued to support the privatised rail operators milking the taxpayers of billions of subsidy instead of a clear call to renationalise.

    Now Labour “opposes privatisation in principle”? Oh please, I know it’s still the silly season, but do you really have to be THAT silly?

    They are opposing this particular privatisation (and no others, from what I can see) because they realise the public (even the Tory and Lib-Dim voting part of it) are dead against RM being privatised. In other words they are very much swimming with the stream and not against it, and in that sense their position makes perfect sense.

  4. Rod says:

    James M: “They are opposing this particular privatisation”

    They don’t even go that far. They only oppose some possible outcomes of a sell-off.

    In short, Labour want the penny and the bun – they want to cash in electorally on popular opposition to privatisation while, at the same time, refusing to oppose the corporations lining up to make a killing from the sell-off.

  5. Rob the cripple says:

    The fact is we have to be thankful for any signs of socialism within the labour ranks, not forgetting it was Labour idea to flog it off in the first place, lucky they were worried about the fall out they did not go further leaving it for the Tories.

    I’m tired of Labour playing games , Labour save our NHS they get in and you hear Labour will sell the NHS, Labour save our Post offices, they get in it’s for sale same for the Royal Mail and in fact Labour did flog off the Royal Mint and a number of parts.

    But if Labour says they will save the delivery I will back it.

    But I think everyone knows I think Labour word these days is pretty meaningless but I will back anyone who says save this or that from sale because it’s jobs.

    If the Royal Mail or the post office needs to modernize then do it through tax, after all we did it to save the banks, we can do it to save this.

    Well the sell off of the council houses can be blamed on councils of all colours, my labour council tried it best we voted against it six times, but out of 5,000 council houses the council now holds a stock of less then a 800 the rest was sold off.

    small mercies.

  6. Rod says:

    No response from Conrad nor from any other member of the Labour Party explaining LP policy on the Royal Mail sell-off?

    One can only conclude that the only policy is to utter “vague platitudes” and hope no one notices the underpinning political bankruptcy.

    By-the-way, I write this with genuine sadness and disappointment. What an opportunity is being missed! And all for the sake of another exercise in New Labour-style triangulation.

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