Groupthink Example 204: The Deliberate Destruction of The Royal Mail


You don't need conspiracies in England. Things just happen.

So, for instance, a government decides that the Royal Mail needs to be privatised. It's about to leave office, those champagne and guacamole parties have to be paid for, and the economy has been ruined. Things would look better from the seat of a privatised company board after the defeat, and it would serve the country to sell off that postal pension fund and pretend the outcome is revenue too.

It goes without saying that your opponents agree with you, since we all have the same economic ideas, and anyway, we're in a crisis, and, well, you can't treat the taxpayers as though they were bankers and subsidise them. That would suggest that they were, well important. Foolish idea.

But, oh, those foolish lobby fodder in the commons for once represent the views of the people and don't go along with you, so what can you do? Provoke industrial action? Replace large numbers of trained and dedicated staff with new people on shorter contracts and encourage them to lie? Run down the service from an efficient, morning-delivery one to some rubbish parody (which, admittedly, you were doing for ages anyway), and then charge people for a fraction of the old standard? Provoke a strike that wrecks small businesses and damages those stone age people who still pay bills by cheque? Trash major deals?

Yes, that'd work. You wouldn't even have to plot it. Motivated by depression, in some bizarre and counter intuitive way--because they didn't get the sense of satisfaction that comes with trousering other people's money and undermining staff that motivates many British managers when your privatisation bill was withdrawn--the administration of the service will do it automatically.

Then people would be so sick of the Royal Mail no-one would oppose a sale. Champagne all round, I think.

Why do people keep falling for it?

Comments

Mary said…
Martin, I can't agree with you. What trained and dedicated staff? If that were the case, then privatisation would be opposed. The postal service has been getting worse for years. If it makes you feel any better, the problems we encounter here, in Oz, are exactly the same. I can't count the number of times we have had a 'sorry you weren't in' card. Roughly translated , what they mean is, get yourself down to the post office 'cos we can't be arsed to knock on your door.
Martin Meenagh said…
I agree things have been worsening for over a decade here- bt they did use to deliver and they used to get three weeks training and supervision and job security. I can't help thinking that what we now get is a free market monkey service burdened also by junk mail...
Martin said…
"Martin, I can't agree with you. What trained and dedicated staff? If that were the case, then privatisation would be opposed."

So the engineering staff at the utilities must have been trained but not dedicated - otherwise their privatisation would have been opposed as well.

Given that it has the word 'Royal' in its title, does the government have any right to privatise any part of it at all?
Martin Meenagh said…
I think Mary has a point, too. The running-down of the service has been ongoing for some time; Oxford postal services, for instance, could (at least up until 2006) be supplemented every break by people who appeared to wander in off of the street and pick up mail. I also notice lots of people whose English seems barely functional delivering things, and I've had three things stolen from myself or members of my family over the past ten years or so in the mail--a small peoportion of all the letters I've sent, but a large proportion of the parcels.

I just wish things were not so rubbish and that the chiselling that is standard practice these days were not so consistently rewarded.
Martin Meenagh said…
Sorry, that last post was a little obscure; I meant the sorting office in Oxford could add to its staff by just hiring people on the spot and that it was open to anyone to wander in and to be hired or to pose as a member of staff.