The British people don’t want the privatisation of the Royal Mail (70% voted against in a Sunday Times poll). There is good reason for this.
It was always likely that shares in the Mail would be sold too cheaply (as with previous privatisations), leaving taxpayers feeling cheated. Stockbrokers Panmure Gordon said the Royal Mail could be worth up to £4.5 billion and warned the Government’s valuation could be “more than £1 billion too low”. That’s just public money being transferred into private hands. Privatisation is all about transforming publicly owned assets into private wealth.Small wonder that the privatisation was oversubscribed within hours as investors rushed to place orders for shares in an initial public offering,
Royal Mail prices have already been rising steadily. Three years ago a second-class stamp cost just 32 pence but has now risen to 50 pence – an increase of more than 50 per cent. Parcels too have increased in cost. On 1 April 2013, Royal Mail again increased the price of sending a parcel after introducing a new size criteria when calculating costs. Under the new system, some types of parcels doubled in price. Many believe that prices were raised steeply to make Royal Mail more attractive when sold-off.
And prices may well increase further under private ownership.That’s bad news for many businesses.
Royal Mail provides a hugely valued universal service. It charges the same to post a letter from Aberdeen to Penzance as it does from London to Manchester. The Government has promised to protect it but who’s to say it won’t be cut when the next financial crisis hits? This along with free postal services for our service men and women as well as vulnerable groups could disappear. That’s bad news for consumers.
Royal Mail makes a profit. £403 million to be precise. It is an asset to the UK.
The government is giving away a public utility so that large corporations can turn a profit. The public has not been consulted about this, it was not in any party manifesto.
Labour claims to oppose selling off Royal Mail. The truth is that it is seeking to make political capital without actually doing anything to stop or even hinder the sell-off. All Labour had to say it that it would return Royal Mail to public ownership and pay no more for shares than the price paid for them. Would there have been any frenzy to speculate then?
It did not do this because it is just another part of the same corrupt establishment ruining our country. It was the same with rail privatisation. In the 1990s they opposed it while in opposition. At the 1995 Labour conference leader Tony Blair declared: “To anyone thinking of grabbing our railways, built up over the years, so they can make a quick profit as our network is broken up and sold off, I say this – there will be a publicly owned and publicly accountable railway system under a Labour government.”
It wasn’t too long before they dropped that. Now they don’t even commit to renationalise in the first place! Instead we get a hollow pledge “to safeguard the services consumers and businesses get from a privatised Royal Mail.”
Nationalists can see that yet another part of our history and social fabric is being destroyed. We know that we can’t rely on the establishment to safeguard our interests – because they are actively working against them. Only a radical Nationalist government will put wealth and power in the hands of the people. Only then will our national assets be returned to public ownership.
By Patrick Harrington