Martin Kelly writes:
News Corporation (prop. K. R. Murdoch, OA, KCSG, PORNO) has thrown down the gauntlet and issued an ultimatum that the Royal Mail must 'modernise or privatise'. The British economy has been thoroughly modernised and privatised over the past 30 years - they've sure modernised and privatised the hell out of us. Let's see where we are.
One would have thought that the areas in which private economic activity is highest is reflected in the madcap freneticism of advertising. If this contention holds true for the modern United Kingdom, then the only things we are doing all day long are buying car insurance and calling telephone directory enquiry services. If I see another smug, self-satisfied mouthbreathing bastard vacantly chanting about the wonderful deal they got through http://www.carinsurancetartsbehavelikesheep.com/, their tongues almost lolling in ecstasy, or another Slavonic sock puppet of a type that who wouldn't have been funny if it had been put beside Basil Brush or Charlie Cairoli on children's TV circa 1978, the controls might go through the TV.
The real scandal of the Royal Mail is how nobody, absolutely nobody, seems to be focussing on how its pension deficit is the result of a botched Tory law which enabled its management to take a 'contribution holiday', in other words to unilaterally exempt itself from its contractual obligations to its staff, between 1990 and 2003. The 'contribution holiday' was one of those business-friendly botched Tory mechanisms for ensuring that those and such as those do not have to feel that 'we're all in it together'. Whilst encouraging, the Labour conference's motion that the public purse should bail out the deficit is unlikely to make much headway, not if the recent history of the Labour Party is anything to go by. Too many bankers' pensions to pay.