Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Post Office closures - it was the County Council wot done it

The fascinating page-turner that is the local Tory manifesto gets better and better.

As mentioned before, they have no policies in there, simply a promise to do things better than anyone else. Where they do say something, it is the very definition of woolly and seems to be more than ably covered by the Lib Dem guarantees.

However, they have also produced an attack document claiming to point out all that the incumbent Lib Dem administration has done wrong. As is ever the case with these things, it is so heavily footnoted and technical that I doubt anyone will really read it.

But there is a gem buried near the end. Under the heading 'Post Office closures' it details the proposals to close a large number of branches in Cornwall as well as many branches in places like Devon, South Essex, South Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Apparently more branches in Cornwall ended up being closed than were closed in the other places. The clear implication is that it is the fault of the Lib Dem led Cornwall County Council.

Not sure how this can be.

Post Offices are run by a Government owned company and the Council has no say over which branches open or close. Clearly the Tories think that having a Tory council in other places helped (not sure why it's just South Essex and South Herts though. What happened in the north of these counties?).

Anyone would think that the local Lib Dems here sat on our hands whilst the Post Office closure programme went through. Not so.

  • Dan Rogerson and I (as well as many others) leafleted the whole of Launceston to whip up support for saving Newport Post Office and the services in surrounding villages.
  • We got the Post Office head honchos to come to a series of public meetings to hear from local residents why they valued their offices.
  • We pointed out that the Post Office case was fatally flawed and
  • we formally responded to the review.

All across North Cornwall (and all across Cornwall) Liberal Democrats made the case for saving their local post offices. That we were not successful was not for lack of effort. It was due to Post Office Ltd's blinkered criteria and faulty research.

And another thing, the Conservatives are not exactly blameless in the Post Office closing stakes. Before being booted out of office in '97, they closed more than 3500 branches across the country including many in Cornwall. Shame they forgot to mention that.

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