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Friday, 16 January 2009

Ha bloody ha ... what service was that then?

I read in the papers the other day that Lord Mandelson, ennobled by the Great Bloated Haggis, Saviour of the Universe, for bringing politics into further disrepute, "sought to reassure anxious Labour MPs yesterday by expressing regret at the way the postal market was opened up to competition in 2006.

But, the report continued, "his olive branch appeared to cut little ice (great mixed metaphor, by the way) with Labour backbenchers, of whom 71 have signed a Commons motion opposing plans to sell a minority stake in Royal Mail, warning that it "would risk fracturing one of Britain's greatest public services".

Er, would you hit me again with that one, please? Fracturing what? My Newman Street office happens to be a hundred yards or so away from the big West End Post Office, whose stool-perching toilers are the mainstay of the nearest pub.

This pub was built over 100 years ago. Newman Street was then famous for its brothels. In those days if you wanted to tell your wife in Croydon (a London suburb) that you would be late for dinner - maybe because you planned doing a naughty in Newman Street - you could post your letter at lunchtime and she would get it in time to turn off the oven.

Nowadays you couldn't be sure it would arrive the next day, or even arrive at the right address. I got six letters last Friday addressed to Drayton Bird Associates staff who don't exist. Three are actually people who live in flats in our building, are far too intelligent to work for me. This is because the database that links names with postcodes is useless. Rather like the Royal Mail, actually.

Anyhow, give it time and the lads in the pub will all be out of work because TNT and others will have fractured their service, eaten their lunch - and emptied their pints.

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