We take postal services for granted but think about it for a moment and you realise that they are an amazing achievement for society. Take Royal Mail: They will deliver the mail to my door and I can post anything from a postcard to a large parcel to any address in the world at my local post office, which is within cycling distance. Put simply, I like Royal Mail.
Or rather, I like the idea of a national postal service. I hate what the government is doing to it, all in the name of preparing Royal Mail for a sell-off to a potential buyer, who will be expecting to make immoral profits.
The strategy of raising prices and cutting services is what they call making Royal Mail efficient and competitive, dragging its unique advantages to the level of the lowest common denominator. This is costly for the consumer and for businesses, especially small businesses that do not have the volume to bargain on price. Privatising Royal Mail means that its services will become very poor value for money, that services will be cut and that their staff will likely have to work even harder for even less money.
Then there are the self-inflicted problems: I send my Christmas cards around the middle of December every year. A few days ago one of my cards to a client came back as undeliverable – five months (!) after it was posted.
The answer to the problems is the same for every state run service: Put in the proper funding, appreciate employees and embrace the fact that these services are not there to make profits but to serve the country.
The premise that taxpayer-owned services cannot be run well is as much a fallacy as the current fashion of putting profits before service is hideously absurd.