In February it became apparent that Ealing is set to lose 8 Post Offices and a further 3 will close near to the Borough boundary, see previous posting. Whipped men one and all, our three local Labour MPs Stephen Pound, Virendra Sharma and Andrew Slaughter all voted on Wednesday in favour of the closure programme.
On the night the government’s majority was slashed to only 20 but the Ealing three were not up for rebelling, see BBC coverage.
At least two of our MPs have been trying to have their cake and eat it. Sharma made gnomic noises to the Ealing Times last week and Andrew Slaughter was lambasted by Richard Barnes in the Ealing Times today. I guess Sharma is too busy with his foreign trips to do any actual campaigning.
One of the worst offenders is the witless Karen Buck, MP for Regent’s Park and Kensington North, who the day after she voted to close the Post Offices was blaming it all on the Tories in her blog, see here.
The Conservatives claim to be fighting to save local Post Offices, but without putting in a penny of extra subsidy. Before 1997, the Conservatives did not subsidise the Post Office. We have put in £2 billion and will be spending more than £1 billion between now and 2011, but only 4,000 Post offices- less than a third of the total- pay their way, and 4 million people fewer used the service last year, compared with three years ago. It is absolutely right that we should subsidise this important service, and I am fighting very hard to maintain it locally.
Indeed, we just won the battle over the Harrow Road crown Post Office in Queen’s Park. What we must now accept is the argument of an opposition which closed Post Offices in the 80s and 90s, offered no subsidy and are not promising any more money themselves.
Let’s deconstruct this. The Tories are not in power so are not in a position to subsidise anything. She does not admit that she voted to close the Post Offices the night before. She admits that the Tories could run them without subsidy but Labour subsidises them and still manages to close them – so you have to pay for less service, at least with the Tories you didn’t have to pay. Doh! Apparently there has been a big slump in the number of customers over the last three years – because the government took a number of tasks away from the Post Office network.
Boy, is this woman dumb.
Karen Buck has Ealing Central and Acton candidate Bassam Mahfouz working for her as her little helper – hopefully he is a bit brighter than this.