Monday, 19 May 2014
Before ever computers came along the Royal Mail was a hugely successful universal cheap communication service owned by us. Now it is a mess and to blame email is pathetic as eshopping has created a massive demand for bulk service. The decline started years ago when mail ceased to arrive at the start of the working day. What causes me frustration is the apparent randomness of it. Sending something to Belfast or Dublin produces a huge disparity in cost. And when you get to parcels, now it is all down not to weight which was easy to understand but size. And unless you are sending decimalised sheets of paper, size is a very erratic concept. No doubt I will sound like an old grump but if I contrast the postal service I grew up with my father constantly using, with that which I argue with several times a week, there is no doubt whose I prefer. I heard Radio 4 this morning reporting on a survey on attitudes to politicians. It was the standard stuff of complete disillusionment but if you want one index of why I feel British government fails, this mail service is one such, along with chaotic privatised railways charging some of the most expensive fares in Western Europe (£32 at station York to Prudhoe last Friday evening for 1835-2037 entertainment for just over 100 miles depending on how it is measured) and the demolition of our domestic energy resources. The current issue which indexes this decay so effectively is that one major element in our national political construct will quite possibly vote to leave this autumn in a resounding "up yours" to Westminster. As my wife reflects, breaking a relationship because you cannot stand your partner often leaves devastation for your children.