Thursday, December 14, 2006

Post Office closures: what nobody's telling us

Iain Dale has noted that a few thousand Post Offices are to close.
While Lord Stevens announced the findings of his inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Government announced that 2,500 Post Offices would close. Another good day to bury bad news.

Indeed; up to 3,000 Post Offices, mainly in rural areas, face closure but there is something that the government aren't telling you: can you guess what it is?

I shall pass you over to the lovely Trixy so that she can spell it out for you.
So, Alastair Darling is going to ask the European Commission very nicely if he can provide investment of £1.7 billion for the Post Offices, is he? It's so nice to know that these people we elect to run our country, who have recently decided they just don't get paid enough, can't even decide how they are going to spend tax revenue.
Mr Darling said the annual £150m subsidy to help rural branches stay open will be extended beyond 2008 until 2011.

What, however, Mr Darling doesn't say is that under Article 88 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, a national government needs permission from the European Commission to grant state aid, and under Directive 2002/39/EC, this permission must be granted before the aid can be given.

Can you imagine the grief Mr Darling would get (oh, if only he was a Captain) from dear old Tone' if he stood up and, perhaps, told the fucking truth about this post office debacle?

"Sorry, chaps, the European Commission says we can't fund post offices, even if they are the only facility in a rural area or tiny village miles from anywhere, somewhere that the elderly rely on. Sorry, but that's the way it is. They are the bosses now, and if they want to bend me over and bugger me with the Acquis Communautaire then they can."

If you look at the BBC News article that I linked to, you'll see not one mention of the EU's part in all this. Just for your enlightenment, let's hop over to UKIP's Press Release on the subject.
The Postal Services Directive 2002/39/EC reduced the part of the postal market which could be reserved for the national monopoly.

The breakup of the Royal Mail was actually initiated by an EU Directive.
Treaty of Amsterdam , Article 88 demands that a national government seeks permission from the Commission to grant state aid.

EU Directive 2002/39/EC requires permission before any state aid can be granted.

So, who rules in this country? Our elected government—awful, devious, dishonest, venal, little shits though they might be—or the unelected bureaucrats of the EU Commission. Well, I think that the answer to that question is becoming increasingly obvious.

So, can we leave yet?


Anonymous said...

"So, who rules in this country? Our elected government—awful, devious, dishonest, venal, little shits though they might be—or the unelected bureaucrats of the EU Commission."

Well, it would obviously be the latter.

But whichever one it is, we can be certain that we are indeed ruled by 'awful, devious, dishonest, venal, little shits'....

Myrddin Wen said...

A fine example of 'Joined up Government'.

Put loads of traffic cops and speed cams on the nations' roads.

Apply 'Zero Tolerance' for breaking the speed limit.

Close the rural post offices, forcing people to use their cars to travel to the nearest one.

Make people pay-per-mile for the priviledge of using their own, taxed, cars on roads they have already paid for 100 times over.

Money is pumped back into more traffic cops and speed cams, and for Gordon 'I-have-spiders-in-my-head-and-they-GLOW! Brown. And his buddies. And arse-lickers.


Trixy said...

And then put millions of pounds into Galileo so they (the wizards) can monitor our every move, and charge us for it!

Anonymous said...

Has the Boy Cameron got to say anything about this?

Silly me, of course he hasn't. He's signed up to Yerp just like NuLabour.aygc

Anonymous said...

Dude, aren't you supposed to be a libertarian? I'm massively in favour of postal competition, and of stopping the hidden subsidy to countryside types (if they really need the money, they can be given it through direct taxation rather than by making me pay over the odds to post letters...)

Indeed, I'd've thought that its enforcement of free markets in contexts like this one would be one of the few things you *wouldn't* hate about the EU.


towcestarian said...

EU Referendum has a slightly different take on this story. ie Zanu Labour government incompetence rather then EU interference.

Neil Harding said...

DK, like PDF says, shouldn't you be in favour of this market liberalisation? You would be if it was on any other subject.

Oh! but of course, your hatred of the EU and Labour trumps your love of the market, doesn't it.

For the record, I agree that closing so many post offices is a bad thing, but then again I believe in public services and you don't (unless you can use it to make an anti-EU/Labour point).

You're just as hypocritical as these pathetic local newspapers and non-Labour MPs who campaign to keep open useless traditional 'local' hospitals that are small and inefficient no matter the evidence that suggests the money can be better spent on out-patient treatment or on newer more comprehensive hospitals a bit further away. I know it is counter intuitive but so is evolution and that is backed with masses of evidence as well.

Trixy said...

Ah, Neil.

Have you heard about 'market failure' before? It's the area where the government should intervene.

Never mind, eh?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Neil, PDF,

Whether or not I agree with the "market liberalisation" is utterly irrelevent; that is not the point that I am making here.

The important idea is that no one -- neither politician nor MSM -- is reporting that this issue, which they are lamenting, originates with EU legislation.

There may well be better solutions -- having a mobile post service for instance; however, as I say, the actual measures needed are not important here: the fact that these closures (which many deplore) are caused by legislation that does not originate with our own elected representatives is the important thing.


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