Anger as the Post Office transfers to WHSmith was the headline recently. But, in real terms, what’s the problem? Closure has been on the cards for a number of years.
The Crown Post office in Blackburn has been a Wetherspoons for some time, and when you look at many towns and cities up and down the country, the majority have already gone, and why change in the 21st Century?
I am over 65 and therefore a pensioner! When I look back to my younger days, the Post Office was the Post Office. It provided the whole country a unique service. You had to go there for a stamp, a postal order, it was the only place to send a parcel, to get your TV licence, car tax, passport, family allowance, pension and even your dog licence.
However, like everything else in life, our habits have changed, technology has improved our lives beyond all recognition, and successive governments, including Coun. Julie Cooper’s own Labour Government, have eroded the Post Office’s stronghold on those services.
Now I can buy a stamp at the card shop, supermarket or petrol station, the postal order is almost a thing of the past, worldwide courier services, such as DHL, handle our parcels, TV licences are available online (I taxed my wife’s car online on Friday: no need to queue for 20 minutes with the paperwork, cheque, car insurance certificate and MOT certificate, it took me two minutes at home, and the tax disk arrived yesterday).
Family allowance and pensions can be paid directly into a bank of choice (again no need for queues) and can be withdrawn from thousands of cash machines up and down, in the town centre, supermarket or corner shop.
Those who still want “all out” on a Thursday can still do that (albeit rounded to the nearest £5).
The “new” Post Office in WHSmith will remain the same, with probably the same staff, the exact services as Hargreaves Street. The only difference, it won’t be in a huge, vastly under used building, which must cost a fortune to operate. If I want any of the services, there are still sub-post offices which provide equally good service in any case.
So all I have to say to Coun. Julie Cooper, if you want to slam Gordon Birtwistle, please try to think about something sensible next time. While I certainly don’t agree with many of the Lib-Dem policies at present, I will without doubt continue to support Gordon as MP for Burnley.
Whatever your political view, no-one can deny that he puts his heart and soul into Burnley, and the town is a lot better for it, even during his short tenure. He has the business and local political experience, he looks the part (more than can be said of some) and has the intelligence and charisma to engage in conversation with those in the highest office, and what’s more, he votes as he sees fit, not just the party line. He fights for the vital services of the town, the hospital, industry, the rail link, not something which is beyond its relevance and inevitably must change with the times.