Thursday 1 November 2007

Post offices at full Council

The issue of Post Office closures was under consideration at Full Council today following the submission of an emergency motion by Cllrs Findlay and Braat. This read:

This Council strongly believes that the local post office lies at the heart of the community and condemns the decision by Post Office Limited to propose the closure of a further 22 community post offices in the Greater Glasgow area.

Most severely hit in this wave of closures will be disadvantaged areas and communities with significant elderly populations.

Whilst recognising that Post Office Limited is now run on a commercial basis and that many of its former functions have been overtaken by technology and modern methods of communication, the company is - at the same time - a public service and must recognise that its network is of a significant strategic, economic and social importance to the communities it serves.

This Council, therefore, demands that, as part of the consultation process, an economic impact study be carried out in order to assess the impact of future closures both on rural - and urban - communities.*

All very worthy stuff and sentiments I generally agree with. It misses the point a fair bit though - this was brought about by the Labour Government in Westminster. All the Labour Glasgow MPs voted for it. None of this was mentioned in the debate by the Labour members who moved it.

The SNP's amendment sought to rectify what had been left out by adding:

Council deplores the duplicity of Labour MPs who voted for legislation and government policy to reduce the number and functions of local Post Offices, thereby betraying vulnerable communities. Council further urges all members to campaign for their retention.

This was brilliantly moved by Cllr Duffy, who tore into Labour for their lead role in all this and the hypocrisy in their current position. I seconded, talking about the Post Office in Dalmarnock, as mentioned below.

It came as little surprise that we were defeated 52:21:1, but it was fun to be able to play on the consciences of Labour members and at least attempt to get them to take some share of the blame. While they didn't make the final decision, the failure of the Labour group in Glasgow City Council to influence their MPs on such an important issue is pretty worrying. Perhaps they believed it would never happen to them.

I was patronised later in the debate in the most oily fashion possible by another member from my ward, but perhaps the least said about that the better. Perhaps if that member was true to the principles of cross party consensus espoused by the leadership of the Labour group, he would have been in touch to fight this closure together. Thus far he hasn't phoned, he hasn't written...

*I don't understand why there are so many commas in that last sentence either!


Anonymous said...

Was the original Labour motion driven by just stupidity or sheer hypocracy? This was a bunch of Labour Councillors crying crocodile tears over the policy that their Party at UK, Scottish and city level has overhwelmingly driven through.

A really sad part about this pointless posturing is that your average Glasgow voter, and non-voter, has the gumption to work out that the Labour Party Council will in reality do nothing to prevent this policy being implemented.

As for your being patronised by a Labour old hand - I'll bet it was nothing so bad as the sheer venom I was subjected to by an older Baillie matriach when I did a short stint as an elected member of the Glasgow Committe of the Co-operative Group. I committed the supreme offence of (very diplomatically!) questioning a matte rof procedure on a matter of good governance... never to be forgiven!

I soon realised this 'movement' is for all intents and purposes, part of the now moribund Co-operative Party (maybe one reason that the co-operative sector has done so badly throughout the UK as compared with elsewhere in Europe).

The Co-operative Party, sorry movement, did for the Co-op retail sector what they are now doing along with the Labour Party to the national post office network.

BellgroveBelle said...

Thanks for your comment Ted - well said!

The worst thing was this guy's attitude to his constituents... he said they weren't capable of fighting this decision without his help. Unbelievably arrogant.