Richard North, 02/10/2005  

There is no question but my colleague's assessment of today’s newspapers is accurate though far too charitable. I did, however, find two things of interest in the Sunday Telegraph (apart from the Booker column, naturally).

One is the Matt cartoon, which, in my opinion, encapsulates all one needs to know about that leadership election:

The other is a piece by the City Editor, Robert Peston in his Comment section. This should be of interest to all, on whichever political side they are, who proclaim endlessly that Britain leads in Europe by its liberal, entrepreneurial spirit.

Mr Peston enumerates the countries that have either privatized or about to privatize their post office, while the liberal entrepreneurial Britain shies away from the step.

The Royal Mail is inefficient in every respect and it reports huge deficits year after year.

“And there is evidence that Royal Mail's execs know what to do in a proper marketplace, in that they have created a profitable business-to-business parcels service on the continent, called GLS. With turnover of more than £900m and profits last year of £61m, GLS is something of a hidden jewel.

Meanwhile, the elephantine statistic about Royal Mail is that it has a deficit in its pension fund of about £4bn - a financial deadweight that could sink the biggest, strongest company. Inevitably, therefore, Royal Mail wants responsibility for the scheme to be transferred to the public sector in general.”

There is a good deal more of interest in the article about the various methods of privatization. And anyone who wants to rush to the forum to shriek with horror at the terrible outcome resulting from the privatization of the Royal Mail had better have good evidence that Deutsche Post is less efficient.


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