Let's hope that last weeks law breaking shop owners in Renfrew have been give a jolt with the story in the Gazette. I sincerely hope we haven't heard the last of this issue and someone is willing to take matters further. I admire the Gazette for the bold move in running the sting in the first place. Let's hope the authorities have similar courage and get these business owners back in line with the law and work to help our communities rather than taking our money with scant regard for any civic duty or responsibility.
A much shorter story has caught my eye this week and touches a nerve on a topic I've felt strongly about for quite some time. The closure of the Post Office in Linwood is simply not on. This is an important part of a public service, important to many in their daily lives providing a whole range of key postal and financial services. Successive governments seem to think that it's entirely acceptable that many elements of public service must be financially independent and indeed make money - simple idea, totally misses the point. A postal service is part of the fabric of the country, just one of many integral services that make society, as we know it in the UK, work. The Post Office has been providing key services, that go way beyond collection and delivery of mail, for longer than most realise. These services provide the glue between disparate parts of society in the daily lives for all of us, as individuals, organisations, small companies and large corporations.
How many other countries in Europe mess around with their postal service as much as we do in the UK, to the extent of pulling it apart, creating unrealistic business goals, opening up the postal network to compete with ourselves all for the sake of making the chancellors balance sheet a bit simpler each year? This is not a political bash I'm issuing. This is about the continual, and senseless, erosion of another key public service. This is example in Linwood will no doubt affect a large proportion of the local population that REALLY need local services to remain local. How far do we now want to make everyone travel to the nearest post office? Do we have adequate public transport links to make this easy? Can elderly residents make this journey?
Come on Councillors, Renfrewshire Council and our "local" MPs, get on the case here and put a flee in the ear of Post Office Ltd. Preserve local services. Everyone is banging on about green issues, emissions, carbon footprint etc. so I wonder how the mail carbon footprint is affected by making us all drive and travel much further to get stamps for our Christmas cards! The last insult here is that the statement from Post Office Ltd. came from Sally Buchanan their Network Development Manager Scotland. Development?! I didn't do so well in my English higher back in 1985 but even I am astounded at the irony here of a Development Manager closing local post offices.