Irrespective of political affiliation, the findings of the National Audit Office regarding the disastrous sale of our beloved Royal Mail incite anger and resentment among ordinary people.
The report merely confirms our original suspicions that it was largely flogged off cheaply by the Government to the fat cats in the City. This process has illustrated more explicitly than ever how power and wealth collude to serve the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the many, and in so doing raises serious questions about our concept of democracy.
With shares being valued at 867p, their sale at 330p defies belief.
Surprise, surprise, we now know that the biggest investment banks were directly involved in advising the Government before purchasing huge chunks of the cake.
Sixteen priority investors were identified and offered large stakes with no time restrictions on their ability to re-sell. Conversely, the workers were offered a monstrous bribe of a 10 per cent stake with a clause which forbade re-sale for a long period.
Within days the fat cats cashed in with 30 per cent profit rising to 72 per cent higher than purchase price and making millions for themselves.
At the same time 1,600 workers have been sacked. The process resulted in a £1.4bn loss to the taxpayer and the pretence of curbing banker abuse has once again been fully exposed.
However, the most serious issue is the so-called gentleman’s agreement between the Government and banks which promised not to sell their shares quickly. This was broken on the first day.
Such behaviour once again undermined our democracy and leaves people disillusioned. Is there any way these people can be held to account?
EAMONN J NORTON
Sale of services is simply a disgrace
So, now we know that our mail service was flogged in a fire sale at a loss of a billion pounds to us as taxpayers and doing nothing for the posties’ pension fund.
All this as a sacrifice upon the altar of the dogma of the open market.
The public is losing patience with the corporate profiteering of the banks, the energy companies and the developers.
Opinion polls show a majority want the railways back in public hands.
And have you heard the rumour that the Probation Service will be sold to G4S to add to the prisons it runs? Remember its performance at the Olympics?
It is a disgrace that this multi-national company has any role in our justice system.
Mr Pickles should look at this plan
While we all still await a decision from Mr Pickles and the Government on the planning approval for the much-needed and fully supported Skew Bridge developement against the backdrop of the natural demise of Rushden town centre, we now have another planning consent waved through.
For a quite different reason as it is a disaster waiting to happen to all the local inhabitants.
We have just been informed that on March 28, full planning approval was given for 88 houses to be built between the A6 bypass and the A5028 Station Road, Higham Ferrers, and with no intervention from Mr Pickles!
As everyone in this area who drives a car is aware, both these roads are a bottleneck on to, and off, the Chowns Mill roundabout between 7.30am and 9am, and again between 3.45pm and 6pm every weekday.
The planners have now added another 88 to160 cars attempting to exit this developement during the same period, which will undoubtedly cause complete mayhem to this road system, affecting everyone trying to get to work.
Can you imagine the frustration, even road rage, as a result of this highly ill-conceived development and the very real danger of motorists being injured at the very exit from this site when trying to gain access to a road already bumper to bumper.
Where is Mr Pickles now? Nowhere to be seen. Or are his close mates not complaining this time?
Voluntary groups always cut first
I was shocked to hear that our county’s women’s refuges are threatened with closure due to yet another round of spending cuts, and it was a relief to read the county council has at least delayed their decision for a few more months.
I am sure most readers would agree economies have to be made in public spending, but too often it seems to be the most vulnerable among us who end up bearing the brunt.
We heard a lot of encouraging talk from the Government a few years back about “involving the voluntary sector”.
Yet time and again it seems to be these very voluntary organisations, most of who probably do a far more cost-effective job than their statutory counterparts, who are first to feel the pinch.
Domestic violence, like drugs and alcoholism, won’t simply go away because we ignore it or think it is unimportant.
It will flourish just as long as those who perpetrate it think they can do so with impunity.
I can only hope that the county council will think long and hard before making decisions that could threaten the good work that these services have been giving for so many terrified and helpless women.
Mechanic Phil is such a gentleman
May I, through the columns of the newspaper, thank the kind people who helped me when my car wouldn’t start outside Lidl supermarket in Corby.
A gentleman offered help and a lady, whose name I didn’t get, put jump leads on, which sadly didn’t help.
However, she continued to help and telephoned her mechanic for me, who arrived within 15 minutes, got my car going and charged me nothing, wishing me a pleasant afternoon as he left.
My grateful thanks to all who helped me and may Phil the mechanic prosper!
What a gentleman.
We could do with a Shed right here
I have recently seen a feature on the television about a scheme in Milton Keynes called Shed which is a get together of elderly folk once a week in a friendly environment.
As my husband was suddenly made redundant last autumn, having previously run a successful joinery workshop, I am sure that he would enjoy running such a Shed in Kettering if a suitable establishment was available.
Spread the Easter message to all
There were no CCTV cameras outside the tomb where Jesus was laid after his death on the Cross.
None of the men he called disciples were there either.
Two or three women claimed to observe what had happened when the angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone.
These women claimed to have seen Jesus minutes later but the terror felt from that encounter could have clouded their judgement and memory.
People who study the gospel accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus, if they are honest, have to accept that there are differences in the details but the overall impression that we are left with is that something very new and different has been launched into our human experience.
We can discover this for ourselves by reading the Acts of the Apostles. We see how the first disciples and later ones endeavoured to cope with the radical and transforming presence of the Living God in their lives.
The reality of healing, forgiveness and freedom in the human condition is beautifully written up in the character and lives of those first Christians.
For us today, we can look upon Easter as the celebration of a wonderful event but we cannot ignore that it is also the embracing of an experience that can totally change us.
In the resurrection of Jesus we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that once we grasp that life does not end with death but is fulfilled and enters a new eternal dimension in God’s presence, we look at ourselves and others in a different light.
The real “proof” of Easter is found in transformed and healed lives. “Praise we in songs of victory that Love, that Life, which cannot die and sing with hearts uplifted high:Alleluia!”
In our celebrations, we are not only reminded that in God’s eyes were are all chosen to enjoy life eternal as found on both sides of death.
St Aidan of Lindisfarne puts these great thoughts in a very direct way about Easter and the Church’s mission to the world. “To enable people to do things they never dreamt could be done.”
The Easter message is for every generation. We are not allowed to keep it to ourselves or diminish it to our own expectations. The whole universe that is God’s is waiting to hear it. Alleluia!.
CANON GEORGE BURGON