Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Post haste

Apparently, the opening up of competition in postal services has not been particularly beneficial.
The liberalisation of the UK postal service has produced "no significant benefits" for either households or small businesses, a report has said.

That is the initial finding of an independent review of the UK postal sector commissioned by the government.

It warned there was now a threat to the Royal Mail's financial stability.

The Royal Mail's 350-year monopoly ended at the start of 2006, when other licensed operators were given the right to collect and deliver mail.

And yet again the BBC publishes an entire article on this subject and mentions the EU... No, wait, guess how many times?

That's right: none. Not one, single mention.

And all of this is only possible because of the unique way that the BBC is funded, i.e. by a government-sponsored tax and tens of millions of pounds worth of cheap loans from the EU.

UPDATE: Trixy has a rather lovely little rant on this subject.
I had the enjoyable task of trawling through the Post Office review today and, as I have been saying for over a year now, the dramatic changes in the postal market have been brought about because of EU legislation.

In 2006 the UK's postal market was fully open to competition and in 2006/07 Royal Mail reported their first losses of £29 million in 350 years.

The report said that small businesses and domestic consumers haven't benefited but they weren't likely to as those areas of the market are costly. Businesses come in and cream off the profitable business post, leaving Royal Mail to fulfill the Universal Service Obligation of post box collection and door to door delivery a minimum of six days a week.

And the media? Well, they're none too keen on even mentioning the EU angle. A journalist at the BBC told me that the EU directive wasn't mentioned in the report. How they can possibly say that when I had the report in front of me and it repeatedly mentioned it is quite astonishing. I suspect they just don't like to admit that the Parliament they are monitoring and the politicians they know don't have the power they think they have. It's easier to ignore it than find out how laws in this country are really made. Just think if they had to monitor the work of the European Parliament, or if they covered the number of new laws the European Commission makes every week!

Much easier to just pretend it isn't there. So we don't get to find out the real reason behind so many decisions made in this country. And it makes me sick, it really does.

Quite. Go and read the whole thing...

UPDATE 2: Timmy points out that neither the Guardian nor the Times mention the EU either.
Guess what, that doesn’t mention the European Union either, the reason that we have the liberalisation of the Royal Mail.

I wonder why they don’t mention it? Or the fact that there’s not a great deal we can do about it?

Well, who would have thunk it?

You know how EUphiles often say that the EU simply doesn't matter to The People, that it is always a low priority compared to immigration, or crime, or rubbish collection, or Post Offices?

Does anyone not think that if people were actually told the fucking truth about where this legislation is coming from that people might actually rate the EU rather higher as an issue?

And does anyone not think that that is why our poiticians are so utterly fucking desperate not to draw people's attention to these areas?

Because, you see, the EU project is the right thing for the people and they must be coerced or conned into it whether they like it or not...

UPDATE 3: well, that's pretty much a full house, don'cha think?
So, that’s the Times, The Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Sun, Mirror, Mail and Express.

All of them carried the story about the liberalisation of the Royal Mail.

Not one of them mentioned that it’s all due to an EU Directive. Not a single sausage from any of them.

Do these people actually read the reports they report upon?

I wouldn't have thought so, no. The only other explanation, of course, is that there is a conspiracy of silence.

So, what is it—ignorance or deceit?


number 6 said...


Look beyond the sock puppet parliament and you will find that the breakup of the P.O. and the closure of local post offices is down to diktats from the EU.

People seem to be waking up about the power this fucking socialist wank off dream state in the making has, but outside of UKIP no mainstream political party offers the chance to get the fuck out of it as the main plank of their manifesto.

John B said...

Even Richard at EU Referendum (not, some might argue, the world's most ardent Europhile) accepts that the EU hasn't got any real bearing on the Post Office's problems. Perhaps that's why the BBC report doesn't mention it?

Devil's Kitchen said...


Er... Actually, Richard doesn't say that at all. He says that the EU has little bearing on the Post Office closures, but that isn't actually relevent in this case.

The EU most certainly is responsible for the breaking up of the state monopoly, which is what this article is about (I may or may not think that this is a good thing, but it is, surely, relevent in any article about the braking up of the state monopoly, no?).


Mark Wadsworth said...

I don't get it. Who cares whether politicos think it's a good idea or not. If they open it up to competition, either a) stamp prices go down and/or service improves (in which case, good) or b) there is no improvement (and new entrants go out of business, in which case, who cares?).

Trixy said...

The issue I am concerned with is that no one is mentioning the EU angle. And John B - it's not a BBC report, it's the report commissioned by the Government which mentions the EU repeatedly. But hey, once again, don't let fact get in the way of your biased arguments.

Rory Meakin said...

This just proves the EU isn't quite 100% pure evil.

Government-owned industry suffers because of EU competition law? Fucking good!

Sell the fucker off.

Anonymous said...

"Government-owned industry suffers because of EU competition law? Fucking good!"
Excuse me but you're speaking out of your fucking arse. What we are ending up with is the worst of both worlds. If you examine how the Railway was privatised all those years ago, (Yes the EU had their hand in that), we have ended up with neither fish nor fowl and exactly the same is now happening to the Post Offices!

Bishop Brennan said...


I'm afraid I'm going to be contrary here.

I actually think that this is one of the few areas where the EU has done some good.

The key question you have to ask is why has the royal Mail not adjusted to competition, when operators in other liberalised markets have (e.g. New Zealand).

The answers are:

- High costs - despite having an advantage over competitors that it doesn't pay VAT, its costs remain higher. Why? Because the unions insist that pay is negotiated nationally - so that posties in London are underpaid and those outside the SE are overpaid, relative to wages in other comparable jobs.

- The Royal Mail has festered in Gov't ownership for too long - happy to milk it for monopoly profits - and to agree to an unaffordable pension scheme, which is why the losses are being made - and no investment in new tech, or innovation, new markets, etc.

- The reality is that the Royal Mail benefits not only from its VAT-free status, but also from its brand name, its monopoly in the last mile and for most domestic post, etc., and from first mover advantage - most other former monopolies have used that to remain dominant and profitable in postal markets.

- RM has shit management, a blinkered workforce and a crap shareholder that's scared to force through real reform. That's the problem.

- The answer is

1. More liberalisation, not less. An end to the VAT subsidy and prices should reflect real costs. Split the downstream arm from the upstream and have competition in the latter. The former to be privatised, with closely regulated profits (like National Grid)

2. With competition, the unions can be told to reform or fuck off.

3. If the spongers in Scotland fret about higher postal costs, they can pay for a subsidy through their taxes, not a hidden tax on RM's English customers. It's not like they get enough subsidy from us already, is it?! Same for any rural areas - I pay the costs of living in a city - high house prices, crap air, having to use public transport; you pay the costs of where you live.


Tim Almond said...

Bishop Brennan,

Actually, I agree that competition is a good thing.

However, I'd like to see a lot more acknowledgement of what's being imposed by EU directive, and what's national.

For instance, you can read Cameron from last year talking about refuse collection (http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=450755&in_page_id=1770) saying "There has been huge pressure from central government to follow a particular model and I don't think that's right. "

Either Cameron's an idiot, dishonest or both, because it's nothing to do with the government. Councils are simply doing what they have to to avoid big fines for too much landfill.

My council's doing this, it's a Conservative council, and not once have I heard the council say that their hands are tied. They just don't seem to want to mention it.

Whitby Bridge said...

On instinct, I think whatever the EU initiates is wrong.

On post offices, Royal Mail has closed every single post office in every village near Whitby for miles around. In addition it has closed the West Cliff post office. It has relocated its main post office to the co-op store.

Who loses? All the users of the village post offices and the West Cliff post office. Who gains? The co-op.

Same in London. There were 3 post offices I could walk to. Now I have one I have to take a bus to. And the queues are on the pavement.

If the EU can subsidise French farmers & Kosovar terrorists it can subsidise a post office close to where I live. And it can call it 'social costs'. Fuck knows, I pay enough for it.

Budgie said...

There are two separate points:

1. Lib-Lab-Con and most media never mention the EU's involvement. Why so shy? UK politicians are taking the stick for unpopular policies which are actually EU policies. They can't all expect to join the Brussels gravy train, can they?

2. I remain to be convinced about the "benefits" of "competition" in postal services. Some services are better left as monopolies under democratic control eg defence. A universal single rate postal service is probably one of them, too.

Roger Thornhill said...

IIRC the PO is prevented from raising stamp prices, so it is not "open".

First should go UP but guarantee next day delivery. What is now First should become second and second become third.

Chalcedon said...

Bit like the energy efficiency directive saddling those selling houses with a HIP and VAT? Directive.....that's an order isn't it? Not a suggestion, not a guideline but an order. Why do we have 640 MPs and nepotistic hangers on if they are impotent to enact laws and we are governed by a group of dictators in Brussels? Why did several million British servicemen and women die? It was for nothing. Freedoms are gone. No wonder Bliar and his merry men didn't/won't allow us guns, which we are entitled to bear under the terms of the Bill of Rights, 1689.

D-Notice said...

Which other EU countries have opened up their postal services to competition?

Anonymous said...

The EU runs every aspect of government now. ID cards are an EU creation, bin tax, post office financing, open door immigration HIPs, road planning and 'safety' even down to the food we grow.

It will take a disaster to wake people up in this shit hole of a country as the stupid cunts are only interested in the antics of Posh and Thicks and piss head Amy Winehouse.