Defend the Royal Mail – bring down the coalition!

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The Tory-led coalition’s Business Secretary, Vince Cable, yesterday launched a demagogic attack on ‘spiv’ and ‘gambling’ bankers and their bonuses at the LibDem Conference.

This was a theatrical and desperate attempt to try and restore his shattered reputation as a principled politician, that he once enjoyed among sections of his party.

This went up in smoke after his coalition’s historic efforts to prop up and save the same spivs and gamblers and their capitalist system, by imposing a savage cuts programme onto the workers, the youth and the middle class.

After a few anti-banker flourishes, the coalition government’s normal service was quickly resumed, when he continued to detail how he intended to hand the Royal Mail over to those same spivs and gamblers that he had been denouncing, via an Autumn privatisation bill.

He also revealed that the staff of the Royal Mail would be given 10 per cent of the shares in the future flotation of the company, boasting that this would be the largest employee share scheme for 25 years.

He did this without revealing that tens of thousands of workers will be sacked by the new proprietors, that 25 per cent of the new workforce will be part-timers on temporary contracts, that overtime is to be abolished, many Mail Centres are to be closed, and that there will be many other innovations.

These include cutting out weekend deliveries, cutting down deliveries in the remoter areas to a number of selected weekdays, and bringing in systems whereby the public collect their own mail.

In fact, Cable is the complete opposite of a man of principle as the exiled Chagos Islanders have found out to their cost.

The Islanders say he is the only politician that has put down in writing his support and the coalition’s support for their right to return to their island homes in the morning, only to declare by the afternoon that his pledges constituted an ‘administrative error’.

Shadow business secretary Labour’s Pat McFadden commented on Cable’s performance.

He said: ‘Vince Cable knows how to get a cheer from the hall. But his attempt at being in opposition and in government at the same time can’t go on forever.

‘As he bashes banks and capitalism, the real test will be whether growth returns and business gets the support it needs from the finance sector. On that he’ll need more than warm words.’

He did not comment on Cable’s determination to privatise the Royal Mail, which was a Labour government policy until it was forced to drop it by massive public opposition on the eve of the 2010 general election.

A postal service bill is expected next month.

The CWU has been lobbying delegates at the Lib Dem conference, urging them to keep Royal Mail in the public sector.

The CWU leaders are seeking to repeat the same kind of campaign that forced Labour to drop its privatisation attempt.

However this time around, the government is beginning a five year term and it will have the support of a number of Labour MPs who continue to support the privatisation of Royal Mail.

There is only one way that the privatisation of Royal Mail can be halted. The CWU must form a public sector alliance to take strike action to defeat the measure and demand that the TUC call a general strike to bring the coalition down and bring in a workers government.

Trade union leaders who refuse to carry out this policy must be removed and replaced by those who will.