Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Have you seen Sid...or Pat?

You may or may not be aware that the Great British Post Office sale is underway.  Actually, it's the Royal Mail, but few seem to know the difference between Royal Mail and The Post Office.

Some years ago, I invaded the Royal Mail.  Our work post was regularly lost, delayed, mis-delivered and daily complaints didn't solve the problem.  POHQ was just round the corner so I evaded security, went up to the top floor (where the chiefs always are...presumably gazing out on their empire) and burst into a meeting room with the most people in.  I didn't get escorted out.  I didn't get prosecuted for trespass.  I did get a better delivery service thereafter...but it's probably a plan that wouldn't work now.

Do you remember the heady days of the '80's when we were all encouraged by glossy advertising campaigns to own a part of British Industry.  Whether it was rail, water, gas, or any number of others, the Conservatives flogged the family silver.  Like so many Thatcherite schemes, the concept was not a bad one - give everyone a share of the ownership of British commerce, and we'll all have a vested interest in making it work better.  There may have been a bit of undermining the unions too.  Workwise, I was involved with the water privatisation, which was somewhat problematic as it wasn't something I agreed with.  Thatcher's vision and the reality turned out to be remarkably different, as they generally did.  Many, many people, including myself, bought the shares and then sold them off to get a quick profit...after all that's what capitalism was all about wasn't it? Ownership fell into the hands of multi-nationals, often with near monopoly control of that sector...they picked up their booty very cheaply and we have been living with the consequences ever since.  My view was then, and is now, that it is essentially the government that should have ownership and control of essentials...so utilities and the transport network should remain in public hands...but the train companies themselves can be private and should compete...after all there's no rule that only one company should be allowed to run trains on the East Coast line....this is the same as the roads where the state owns the tarmac, but we all drive on them, alongside trucks and buses.

So the question is will you be buying shares in the GPO?  You'll have to fork out £750 minimum.  The demand is high, so there's a chance the shares will go up.  In the short term, expect some strikes and disruption.  The Labour Party has said they won't renationalise.  So if I was a betting man, I'd suggest that it's probably a good deal. It's being sold off cheap, and will be bought up by one of the successful delivery companies.  It has a rich portfolio of property that will be sold off for a handsome profit, with sorting done more remotely.  So easy choice really.  How's your conscience?

I took this picture yesterday.  I might even send you a little prize if you are the first person to guess the film it featured in. Not promising...but might