On Tuesday I joined hundreds of postal workers at a rally in Westminster opposing any sell-off of this important British institution. They were especially angry about the fact that the Government is refusing to fund the pension fund deficit estimated to be around £9 billion – unless the privatisation goes ahead. This amounts to the blackmail of 450,000 workers by the Government.
The privatisation is strongly opposed by the Communication Workers’ Union and more than 140 Labour MPs who have signed a motion opposing it, and for good reason. Putting essential public services in the hands of the private sector will lead to job cuts, cherry picking of parts of the service for profit, and potentially breaking up the service to be sold off. The postal service should not be exposed to the risks that private operators are more likely to take – surely we have learnt that much, at least, from the collapse of our nation’s banks?
If it is commercial expertise that Royal Mail needs, then experts can be hired to ensure that such advice is available. The Royal Mail was brought under public ownership by Oliver Cromwell and even Margaret Thatcher thought it should remain publicly owned. Peter Mandelson thinks differently, which says much about how far New Labour has strayed from its roots.
Peter Mandelson asks us to trust him with the future of the Royal Mail. I would sooner trust a hungry lion, frankly…
If in June I am elected to the European Parliament I pledge to continue to fight hard to keep this vital British institution, the Royal Mail, public. The Green Party is now the only major political party opposed to privatisation.