Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's the Directives, stoooopid!

Long and tedious discussions from political hacks have been devoted to Gordon Brown's "controversial" plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. Not least has been the oft' posed question, "why is he putting himself out on a limb like this, when it is so unpopular?"

The subject is heavily rehearsed in the print media and online, where the likes of The Guardian purport to give us a complete background briefing, while Edward Heathcoat-Amory tells us in The Daily Mail that privatisation is essential for the survival of the service.

But nowhere will you find any mention of the real reason for Brown's "enthusiasm" (at least, not anywhere I can find). What you do see though, is news that the Tories are considering helping out Mr Brown in his endeavours to implement the Postal Services Directives. And he really needs their help. The "full market opening", under EU rules, must be in place by 2010.

It thus comes as no surprise to learn that Kenneth Clarke has promised to vote for the part-privatisation plan. That really tells you all you need to know. But are the Tories really that stupid? Or is it, as Iain Dale suggests, they don't know how to spell o-p-p-o-s-i-t-i-o-n?