Monday, October 19, 2009

Insert 'Postal' Pun Here



I get a lot of post, more than I ever have. Bills from the privatised gas & electric companies, bank statements, stuff from Amazon, the review copies, cheques and such that come with working freelance, sternly worded letters from the Students Loan Company, the occasional communication from the people who are supposed to be getting my bank charges back, statements from the fantastically inefficient Virgin Media, etc etc. Much of that list is made up of things that simply wouldn't have existed ten years ago, and yet the claim is made again and again that the internet makes post less likely, as if Amazon, Lovefilm and such didn't exist, and we were writing epistles to each other every day until email came along. This comes complete with a familiar New Labour narrative of intransigent dinosaur unions (with the unspoken concomitant of a management who are presumably dynamic, efficient, not at all lumbering, bullying and by now rather dated in their adherence to an undead neoliberal ideology). The postal strike that will be occuring this week in the UK is clearly going to be enormously nasty. We've already had false claims that Amazon are cancelling their contract, and the news that the government have planned in advance to hire 30,000 temps/scabs - the latter a reminder of what exactly the point of 'flexible working' always was.



The Postal Workers' union have been so far predictably lame at putting across their counter-argument. We should see leaflets being distributed (er, this is the postal service after all), decent statements to the press, visible picket lines, but so far there's been very little of any, in the familiar scenario where one side has been preparing and planning for a confrontation and the other has responded in an ad hoc, unplanned and chaotic manner. What there has been is this piece by the pseudonymous postie 'Roy Mayall' in the LRB, which is truly essential reading. It turns out that 'Mayall' has a blog, and has been writing for a variety of places in a similar vein, and it's both impressive and depressing that the best case for the strike so far has been made by one individual in a literary mag, the broadsheets and online. This implies that either a) he's very well connected, or that b) there is a place for the CWU to make their case, if it's well written and devoid of cliche, if they want to get the public on their side and counter what is likely to be an absolute avalanche of bullshit.

7 Comments:

Blogger Will said...

I was moaning about the situation to a colleague earlier. It's a classic example of how to destroy a British public service: don't invest and instead "open it up to competition", which is to say, hive off the profitable bits. Then watch it plunge into the red. Pretend that it MUST make a profit, and cut cut cut. Of course there are strikes, and more than a century of public goodwill evaporates. Then it's time for another bout of TINA bollcks about selling it off.

The market "philosophy" has become so ingrained in the political class that they seem to feel the obligation to sabotage public services themselves, in order to demonstrate their conviction that the state can't run anything.

2:28 pm  
Blogger it said...

Ironic, too, that philosophy as a university discipline is similarly being smashed to pieces under the weight of the market 'philosophy' that Will mentions - the same rhetoric of profitability, even when there is profit being made (just not enough, or not the right kind), the same sabotage. But if the posties union can't even make a decent public argument then there's absolutely no sodding hope for philosophy, is there, even if that's what we're supposed to be about!

3:13 pm  
Blogger Nemesis said...

Insert your own ironic comment

http://www.railwaytouring.co.uk/index.php/the-hadrian---241009.html

The 'Night Mail' steams on...

3:34 pm  
Blogger Chris Matthews said...

There is an exhibition on at London College of Communication at the moment, that 'explores how leading artists and designers helped the Post Office to develop its public image in the mid-20th century'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2009/sep/25/post-office-posters-exhibition

I still haven't got round to it yet. Apologies if you've already mentioned this.

4:37 pm  
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