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Squeeze this new super-rich class of postmen
They must accept that in a modern free market they can no longer expect privileges such as pensions
Modernise, modernise has been the theme, and this week it's the outdated striking postmen told they must accept this. Right to the end, Blair wants all institutions to modernise, which must be why one of his last acts as Prime Minister was to visit the head of an institution that preaches sermons in Latin and who carries a stick with a bobble on top and wears a cassock because that's how things were done when all this started under the Roman Empire.
To be fair though, the last thing his modern-ness will do as PM is bow to a monarch whose modern rules include a clause that she's forbidden to marry a Catholic. Maybe he'll do it with a sense of humour and say: "I reckon I'd be in with you if my new religion didn't forbid it, your majesty."
But Post Office staff have been ordered to be even more modern than that. Which is why the Royal Mail are planning to shut down around 2,000 branches. Because the more they shut down, the more modern it is. If the governors of Royal Mail studied Neolithic Britain they'd say: "They were incredibly modern in those days, they had none open at all."
The problem is some people retain the antiquated idea that certain things should be left open even if they don't make a profit, allowing branches to carry on just because old-aged pensioners in Cornwall say their Post Office is the centre of their community. This could be remedied by setting up Post Office chat lines, and, at a premium rate, old people could talk to an actor who sits in a studio going: "Ooooo I know dear, isn't it dreadful? I'm supposed to see another specialist on Tuesday, then on Wednesday we're off to see Danny La Rue if I'm up to it." That way they'll still have someone to talk to and won't be poncing off the taxpayer.
Then we can start on other untapped business openings. With each delivery, postmen could say: "Would you like a pastry with your parcel?" Or ask if they can also supply your gas.
But mostly they must accept that, in a modern free market, they can no longer expect privileges such as pensions, which, according to the head of Royal Mail, must be drastically reduced as they're destroying profit margins. Because this is the problem with employing people - they insist on this outdated trade union practice of "Payment".
This is a hangover from the 1970s, when militant workforces bullied their way into getting "Paid", so maybe the time has come when postmen should be replaced with inanimate objects, such as towels or pepper pots, which will remain in the sorting office for long hours and demand no pensions at all.
As well as closures and pension reductions, Post Office staff are also striking against a pay offer less than inflation, and an increased workload.
But if the service is to modernise, say Royal Mail, this is all that can be afforded. Luckily this doesn't apply to the chief executive Allan Leighton, who's managed to supplement his income by being on the board of nine other companies, including Asda, collecting little windfalls such as a £1.6m bonus from British Home Stores.
Maybe he thinks all the Post Office staff are doing this, and the board meeting at GlaxoSmithKline begins when the chairman rushes in announcing: "Sorry I'm late for the quarterly finance report gentlemen, only it took longer than usual to do Winkleman Street this afternoon. There was a rather fearsome dog at number 22 and it held me up somewhat. Anyway, let's move straight on to our acquisition of Global Plastics Ltd."
So the decision has been taken that the postal service needs massive investment to survive. And as we look around modern Britain for where that money might come from, for who might possess vast quantities of untapped wealth that could be used for the public good, there is the obvious answer - from postmen.
Some people might suggest that the people with spare money are the growing clique of super-rich billionaires, most of which pay no tax whatsoever. But they'd be wrong, the people who should make sacrifices to pay for new investment are definitely postmen; the decadent fops with their Gucci sacks and pimped-up bicycles.
Then we can get on with creating a modern service, one which, according to the regulator, could require different sections of the Royal Mail to be run by different operators. That's because this has proved such a success with the railways I suppose.
Multiplex could run one bit, so that each year they announced they hadn't quite delivered your letter yet but if you're desperate you could pick it up in Cardiff. And Jarvis could run another bit and be responsible for the world's first envelope disaster.
But the biggest story of all is Royal Mail's line that a strike can't win.This has been the argument of every management faced by every strike ever, that if everyone stops work it will make no difference.
So what will Royal Mail do, fold up the service and set up in Sri Lanka with cheap labour, and deliver all the letters there instead?
And this strike must have an advantage over most others, because the closure of rural Post Offices is one of the main complaints of the Countryside Alliance. So presumably if any managers cross the picket line, they'll be met by a team of horsemen sipping sherry, then blowing a bugle before their hounds follow the scent to chase them through a hedge.