Tag Archives: royal mail

The two Orange Bookers who’ve won over the Lib Dem membership

Orange_BookIt’s 10 years since The Orange Book was published. Edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall it was widely regarded as an attempt by economic liberals within the Lib Dems to wrest back control of the party from social liberals.

Both Laws and Marshall would argue their attempt at ‘reclaiming liberalism’ (the book’s sub-title) was more about re-balancing liberalism as practised by the Lib Dems — that the party had grown intellectually lazy, happiest with simply saying ‘tax more, spend more’ as the answer to every public policy problem without thinking …

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Vince Cable in his own words on the sale of Royal Mail

Vincent CableThe publication of a report today by the National Audit Office criticising the “deep caution” of Vince Cable’s department in setting the sale price of shares in Royal Mail has, inevitably, been leapt on by opponents of the policy. Critics who would, of course, have been equally happy crowing if the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills had set the price too high causing the flotation flop.

Vince Cable went to the despatch box of the Commons today to defend his department’s actions, making headlines for unambiguously stating, “The last thing …

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LDVideo: Vince Cable praises Royal Mail’s “very good launch” onto the stock market

Royal Mail shares soared on their first day’s floatation yesterday, prompting inevitable accusations that the company had been priced too low. Here’s Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable explaining his aim to assure long-term investment irrespective of the froth of the “spivs and speculators”:

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Vince Cable defends Royal Mail pricing

Royal Mail delivery trolleyVince Cable has written to his Labour shadow, Chuka Umunna, stating that the sale price for the Royal Mail “reflects the fact the business brings risks, as well as assets such as property”.

When interviewed by the BBC yesterday, Umunna had listed a number of objections to the Government’s valuation at £3.3billion, claiming that it could have been sold for £1billion more.

In his response, Vince Cable said:

It is irresponsible to imply that a share offering looks significantly undervalued.

I think you should consider the risk that you may

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Privatised Royal Mail might prosper

Former special adviser and Liberal Democrat candidate Christine Jardine writes in today’s Scotsman about the prospects fora privatised Royal Mail.

She first talks about her shock when she heard that our government was going to take this step:

Were they really going where Peter Mandelson had failed and Margaret Thatcher had not dared?

But gradually as I researched beyond the tabloid headlines and thought about it in detail it began to make sense.

After all, when was the last time I ordered a delivery and expected it to arrive in the daily post?

That same daily post that arrives after I’ve left for the day,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

Majority of Lib Dem members back Vince’s Royal Mail privatisation plans

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Royal Mail privatisation backed by 55% to 41%

The Government has announced plans to privatise Royal Mail. 90% of shares will be made available for purchase by the public, with 10% given to postal service employees for free. To what extent do you support or oppose plans to privatise the Royal Mail?

    16% – Strongly support

    39% – Tend to support

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Liberal Reform comment on Royal Mail privatisation

In the wake of Vince Cable’s announcement that the Royal Mail would be privatised, we asked Liberal Reform and the Social Liberal Forum for their comments. We haven’t received anything from SLF yet, but here is what Liberal Reform co-chair Alan Muhammed had to say:

Liberal Reform welcomes the floatation of the Royal Mail, an organisation that has long required reform.  These moves will generate the biggest employee share scheme for 30 years and enables greater access to capital, crucial for sustaining the Royal Mail as a successful commercial business, delivering a vital service that the nation values.
There’s a substantial amount

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Vince Cable announces Royal Mail privatisation

Today Vince Cable announced, to no surprise whatsoever, that the Royal Mail is to be privatised.

Key points

  • This does not affect the Post Office – although options on mutualisation will be considered. No Post Offices will close.
  • A majority stake will be floated on the stock exchange
  • The 6 day a week flat rate service is set in stone.
  • 10% of shares available for employees, free to the employee, to either give them a cash windfall or a say in how the company is run.

Why privatise?

Under public ownership there is simply not the freedom to raise capital in the markets. A share sale will

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Lloyd George among Royal Mail’s latest 1st Class ‘Great Britons’

Royal Mail this week announced the launch of its latest set of special stamps, ‘Great Britons’, a set of 1st Class stamps celebrating the achievements of 10 distinguished individuals from the realms of sport, journalism, music, politics and the arts.

lloyd george stampDavid Lloyd George, the last Liberal Prime Minister, is the chosen politician. Here’s how Wikipedia describes him:

Lloyd George is best known as the highly energetic Prime Minister (1916–22) who guided the Empire through the First World War to victory over Germany and its allies. He was a major player at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that reordered Europe after the Great War. As an icon of 20th-century liberalism, he is regarded as the founder of the British welfare state. He made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his leadership of the war, his postwar role in reshaping Europe, and his introduction of Britain’s social welfare system before the war.

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Royal Mail plans fail to deliver!

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

When I get in and find a little card saying ‘we tried to deliver but you were out’ – I am always annoyed – because it means extra bother. Currently that bother is either re-organising delivery on another day, organising for it to go to a neighbour or popping into Archway Road post office to collect it at my convenience. With my schedule – only the last of those is a real possibility. But that small bother is about to get a whole lot worse!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Norman Lamb writes… Putting two national treasures back on their feet

Royal Mail and the Post Office are two of our most recognisable and most trusted brands. For hundreds of years the post office has been at the heart of our communities – with a value that goes beyond mere economics to the social and the symbolic. Royal Mail, meanwhile, is a service that covers every part of the country and reaches every part of society. The public, quite rightly, is fiercely protective of both institutions.

Sadly previous governments left them both in a mess. Labour opened up the postal market, thereby exposing Royal Mail to the full force of competition. Ludicrously, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Opinion: Is the Post Office safe in your hands, Mr Davey?

Editor’s note: the author of this post has requested to remain anonymous, but his identity is known to me.

I write as a lifelong Liberal/Lib Dem and former councillor. I am sadly having to remain anonymous so that my wife is not made subject to reprisals for my views.

Lib Dem Voice recently claimed the future of the Post Office network is secure. I would like to present a counter (sic) viewpoint.

My wife took on a Post Office 10 years ago and her guaranteed monthly salary then was £620. Now, its £800 for a 48-hour working week – less than £3.70 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Dealing with Labour’s mess, Part 93: Lib Dems secure future of post offices

Remember the last Labour government’s record on post offices? Their numbers fell by more than 7,100, or 38%. But not any more, as a result of Lib Dem action within the Coalition — as Lib Dem Voice first reported here almost 18 months ago.

This is how the Press Association reports it:

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Opinion: Address wars – an armistice?

We take addresses for granted. How hard an issue can they be? Put an address on an envelope and it gets there, a gratifying proportion of the time. Stick a postcode in a satnav and it shows you a route which usually gets you to your destination. Add an address to a name and you usually have an unambiguous reference to a single person.

The problem lies with the word ‘usually’. Get an address wrong and a parcel doesn’t get delivered; the ambulance or fire engine arrives too late to save a life; a Council Tax isn’t collected; a household gets …

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Vince Cable speech to conference

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference today, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable said:

I have come to account to you, Conference, for the work I have been carrying out in the Coalition Government.

I have managed to infuriate the bank bosses; acquire a fatwa from the revolutionary guards of the trades union movement; frighten the Daily Telegraph with a progressive graduate payment; and upset very rich people who are trying to dodge British taxes. I must be doing something right.

But I am told that I look miserable. I’m sorry, conference, this is my happy face. ‘Aren’t you having fun?’ …

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Tavish gives conference a postal guarantee

Tavish Scott, leader of the Lib Dems in Scotland, bravely took the stage on a wet Sunday morning at Liberal Demcrat conference, and gave a cast iron guarantee from Vince Cable on the Royal Mail and Post Office, following from the recent Government announcement that the Lib Dem policy to privatise Royal Mail whilst keeping the Post Offices in public ownership .

The reason behind privatising Royal Mail (the letter-delivering part) is to give it the ability to raise funds from private sources to modernise and improve, to challenge its private competitors.

The commitment from  from Vince Cable is:

1. Universal service obligation …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

Royal Mail privatisation – another Lib Dem policy delivered

Among the Stricty Come Dancing banter on Twitter yesterday evening, I picked up some Labour activists attacking the Lib Dems. Nothing new there, you might think.

The attack was that the Lib Dems had betrayed our principles, done a u-turn and were privitising the Post Office.

I think we’re all familiar enough with Labour attacks by now to check those facts before jumping to any conclusions. And it turns out that the attack is wrong in every single respect.

The Government is not proposing to privatise the Post Office. And what’s being proposed, far from being a u-turn, is Lib …

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Norman Lamb: “A Queen’s Speech of which Liberal Democrats can be proud”

It is worth spending a moment reflecting on just how remarkable today’s Queen’s Speech is from a Liberal Democrat perspective.

We have become conditioned to believe that the policies we develop will never be implemented. A good intellectual exercise but nothing more. Yet here we have a programme for government of which we can be proud. It contains an extraordinary list of Liberal Democrat commitments on which we fought the general election.

Right from the start the speech grabs attention:

My Government’s legislative programme will be based upon the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility.

Who would have dreamt of those words introducing the Queen’s speech just a few weeks ago?

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 36 Comments

Don’t forget to get your stamps in

Planning on posting out letters in April? If you’re using stamps, remember the cost of first and second class stamps goes up on Tuesday 6th April – so buy your stocks of generic 1st/2nd stamps in advance. Full details of the new prices on the Royal Mail website.

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Daily View 2×2: 31 December 2009

A windmill made of the flags of Europe with the slogan "whatever the weather, we must move together"Good morning on New Year’s Eve 2009 as we here at LDV Towers celebrate the passing of the year and indeed the decade. There’ll be fizz spilled on the Night Desk for sure, and I’m cooking beef wellington canapés and a chocolate/chestnut torte.

But what, I hear you ask over the hubub, happened on this day in history? Well, did you know that until the 1750s, the new year actually began on Lady Day (no, not her) in March? And in fact that’s why the tax year is still based around that time of year?

New Year’s Eve is the day on which, in 1951, the Marshall Plan ended (did you know the UK got more money out of it than any other nation? It didn’t help we still had the vestiges of empire to spend it in). In 1960, the farthing ceased to be legal tender; and in 1998, the value of the Euro was first establised.

Birthdays include Ben Kinglsey, Donna Summer, Val Kilmer and Alex Salmond – together at last!

Don’t forget Lib Dem Voice is still seeking your nominations for Liberal Voice 2009.

And one more thing – today there will be a Blue Moon – the second full moon within one calendar month. This won’t happen again until full moons either side of the London Olympics, in August 2012

But, finally, what of the newspapers and blogposts? Read more, after this:

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What the papers say…

Over at the Daily Mail, is the shine coming off Brand Cameron, or, is this just a kick up the pants? First comes the big slap…then the boot, with a stiletto heel.

Daily Mail, leader-column, 12.12.09:

“At a time like this, it’s madness to ring-fence any budget at the expense of the rest. Even sacred cows can be hugely overweight.  Since 1977, billions have been poured into health and education, without the improvements in standards we’d expect.

“How can Mr. Darling claim there’s no scope for cuts in the NHS, on the day we learn it is spending £1 …

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Daily View 2×2: 26 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Miliband backs Blair as EU President

Well, here’s a turn-up for the books – the man who was Tony Blair’s head of policy is now backing his former boss for the new post of President of the European Union. Who’d have thunk it? The BBC reports:

David Miliband has ruled himself out of taking a senior role within the EU, while endorsing Tony Blair for the new post of European president. … it would be “good for Britain and good for Europe” if Mr Blair became the president of the European Council. Although Mr Blair is seen as frontrunner

Posted in Daily View and Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

Daily View 2×2: 25 October 2009

Morning all. Clocks changed? Good. Now it’s time to catch up on the news including, as it’s a Sunday, another in my occasional series of “Forget Obama; forget West Wing – now THIS is what we should be copying from US politics”.

It’s the political ad that is just bursting to be copied for our next party political broadcast. Send you lobbying email to Cowley Street now. (Probably best do that now rather than after watching the ad. In case you don’t agree with me. But you’d be mad not to. This is quality political advertising at its very best.)

2 Big Stories

Pakistani army takes Taliban chief’s hometown

Pakistani soldiers captured the hometown of the country’s Taliban chief Saturday, a strategic and symbolic initial prize as the army pushes deeper into a militant stronghold along the Afghan border. An army spokesman said the Taliban were in disarray, with many deserting the ranks.

The 8-day-old air and ground offensive in the South Waziristan tribal region is a key test of nuclear-armed Pakistan’s campaign against Islamist militancy. It has already spurred a civilian exodus and deadly retaliatory attacks.

Washington has encouraged the operation in the northwest because many militants there are believed to shelter al-Qaida leaders and are also suspected to be involved in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has also kept up its own missile strikes in the lawless tribal belt, including a suspected one that killed 22 Saturday. (Associated Press)

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Daily View 2×2: 23 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time

British National Party leader Nick Griffin has used his Question Time appearance to criticise Islam and defend a past head of the Ku Klux Klan.

He also told a largely hostile audience that Winston Churchill would be a BNP supporter if he were alive, and said he would find two men kissing “creepy”.

Anti-fascist protestors scuffled with police outside BBC TV Centre in west London before the show was filmed.

Minister Peter Hain said the BBC had legitimised the BNP’s “racist poison”.

But the corporation defended the invitation to the leader of the anti-immigration party to appear, saying it had a duty to be impartial.

One of the panellists, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, said it had been a “catastrophic week for the BNP because for the first time the views of the BNP have been properly scrutinised”.

And following the programme, other panellists said Mr Griffin had been exposed. BBC (with video)

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

The weird farce of Royal Mail parcel deliveries

Now, when I say parcel deliveries, you might think that this story involves parcels or indeed deliveries. If only.

I was already familiar with the problem in many areas of people getting “Sorry you were out” cards through the letterbox, saying the Royal Mail had tried to deliver a parcel, even though they were firmly sat at home at the time.

I’d always thought this was a case of rushed staff wanting to cut corners near the end of their rounds by sticking a few cards through letterboxes without knocking on the door.

The truth though is far stranger. For in many cases …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 9 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Widely questioned as being rather premature, and merited more by vision than achievements so far, President Obama’s award is making the headlines this morning:
Barack Obama wins 2009 Nobel peace prize (Telegraph)

Less than a year after taking office, Mr Obama won the prestigious award after calling for worldwide disarmament.

He had also worked to restart the stalled Middle East peace process since taking office in January.

In an announcement in Oslo, he was honoured “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland said.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as (Mr) Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said.

“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

The committee said it attached special importance to Mr Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Royal Mail strike – Christmas come early?
And not in a good way…

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Tom Watson writes … on the Royal Mail and postcodes

It’s not often that The Voice invites MPs from other parties to do a guest post, but in this case we’ve asked Tom Watson as the postcode issue is one he took a close interest in as a minister and it is an issue that cuts across parties.

The recent decision by Royal Mail to close down the Ernestmarples.com web site shows us how our public institutions are woefully unprepared to seize the new opportunities created by the internet.

Ermenmarples.com is a web site that enables other sites to provide postcode driven, citizen focused web services on a not-for-profit basis. Sites like …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Royal Mail, postcode data and what you can do

With the recent takedown of the postcode geocoding API provided by Ernest Marples Ltd, there has been discussion of other ways to get hold of postcode data without paying prohibitive licence fees to Royal Mail. One solution is to collect the data from scratch, without using existing sources that are derived from the Royal Mail licensed database. This has at least some chance of avoiding the infringement of Royal Mail’s intellectual property rights.

There are several such projects already in existence. The oldest is Free The Postcode which invites visitors to collect the location of a postcode by visiting a location and recording the latitude and longitude of its …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Postcode campaign gears up to save popular web services

A range of popular websites, providing useful services such as information on local job vacancies and planning applications, have been closed down following the Royal Mail’s decision to crack down on the use they made of its postcode address database.

As Alex blogged previously:

With postcodes so increasingly important to national life, it’s ridiculous that they are not public data that is, as a minimum, free to use for non-profit organisations.

Posted in LDV campaigns | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Royal Mail shut down useful community websites

Last month at conference, in two of our conference fringes, speakers highlighted useful online services set to revolutionise politics.

At our first fringe, “Campaigning after Rennard,” James Graham thought that TheStraightChoice (reviewed by LDV here), a website that allows members of the public to upload the leaflets they have received through their letterbox, had the potential to revolutionise politics. No more would politicos be able to put out close-to-the-knuckle material in relative obscurity. From now on, James argued, we’d all have to assume that at least one blogger would read our leaflet, and at least one journalist …

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged | 14 Comments



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