Dear Editor, Like many others I am campaigning vigorously against the Labour government’s plans to close up to 2,500 post offices nationwide – which may include up to 26 more branches in Birmingham.
What detracts from any campaign to save individual branches, however, are ludicrous accusations from politicians purporting to be against the closures, whose only line is that it is ‘all the EU’s fault’.
These claims are not only misleading, but let the government off the hook.
There is no EU legislation telling the UKto close post offices or how many post offices it can have. The EU’s postal reform legislation is designed to liberalise the market, opening it up to greater competition and the UK opened its market fully to competition in 2006.
The EU has not issued a diktat for these successive rounds of branch post office closures, which started under the last Conservative government - long before EU-wide postal reform rules took effect.
Post offices closures have happened in EU Member States where there is only a single postal provider and also in others where the market has been fully liberalised.
So it is up to postal operators and governments to ensure that their services survive.
The reason why UK post office finances are struggling is the decision by successive governments to remove a huge range of services from branches, from benefit payments to TV licences.
Post offices have been classed as an essential social service by the European Union and can be supported financially if governments choose to do so.
Alone among major parties, the Liberal Democrats have a £2bn costed plan to revive the post office network, which complies in full with EU legislation.
Liz Lynne, Liberal Democrat,
MEP for the West Midlands.
Mugabe and his promises
Dear Editor, Mugabe is the only politician who has lived up to manifesto promises - promises made by Ian Smith who said that if Rhodesia got majority rule the outcome would be poverty and murderous anarchy.
Younger readers may not know that Ian Smith was the last prime minister of Rhodesia and fought for this country during the war.
It is healthy that our Labour leaders are now daring to criticise Mr Mugabe but they are still in denial of their previous support for him even while his ruthless thugs were murdering 15,000 Matebele fellow countrymen .
Sadly, even when Mr Mugabe leaves office, good government will not simply return as the tribal structure and culture runs deep.
Under Labour, NHS gives us value for money
Dear Editor, What a fantastic sight it is to see the development of the £545million super new hospital at the QE which will be fully operational in 2012. A hospital which will prove that the NHS in Birmingham has the talent, resources and skills to provide some of the best modern hospital care in the country.
What’s even more amazing is to think that this is Birmingham’s first new hospital in 70 years. The QE is just one of over 100 brand-new hospitals which have been commissioned since Labour came to power in 1997. This compares to just six new hospitals under 18 years of the Tories,. That’s of course not mentioning the six quality hospitals the Tories closed down in Birmingham alone during that period.
So if anyone critically asks you “what has this Labour Government done with all the money that it has spent on the NHS?” Take them by the hand and lead them to the new QE and let them see for themselves that under Labour the NHS really is receiving value for money.
Elm Road, Bournville, Birmingham.
Just who is to blame for Villa park clash?
Dear Editor, It cannot be denied that neither Liverpool FC nor Aston Villa can be very proud of the way in which they have treated both Gareth Barry himself and his proposed transfer from the latter to the former. Likewise (if he did in fact say what the press allege he did) Gareth Barry himself was very unwise to criticise his manager in public. Having said that, however:-
a) Is it not understandable that Barry should feel let down and badly treated after giving 10 years of his career to the club, only to find that he now doesn’t even know who he will be playing for in the 2008-09 season?
b) Was he in fact wrong in saying that Martin O’Neill should have been back home in Birmingham dealing with both his increasingly acrimonious proposed transfer and also strengthening the team, instead of whiling away his time at the Euro finals?
After all, how many new and better players has he signed in the rapidly shortening close season? Apart from Steve Sidwell (and the jury must surely still be out on that one) and the rumoured approaches for Paul Robinson and Anton Ferdinand (?!) who has he actually signed of any consequence in the last two months?
I think before everyone rushes to condemn Barry and pour praise on Mr O’Neill, they should consider what the former has done for Aston Villa Football Club over the last ten years against the, so far, very limited achievements of the latter.
Woodloes Park, Warwick.