Royal Mail. Doing Justice to its 'Royal' Roots.

Royal Pain in the Arse, more like.

Yesterday, our post came at 2pm.

I ran to the door, because two days ago I had noticed they had delivered mail for another house altogether, and I wanted to ask the postman what he was doing. (Politely. I am always polite, however angry.)

But first, I inspected the letters that had just dropped.

One for me, one for 61 Tunis Road (lucky me!) and one for 61 Stanlanke Road.

“What, AGAIN?!”, thought I.

I immediately dropped the mail, opened the front door expecting to see the postman a couple of steps away. I was ready to lose a little bit of patience, actually.

Even if it was the fault of the sorting office who had put things in the wrong piles, and even if it was the end of my shift, I would still not do something like that. I would look at the post, and think “I should take this to where it should go, one road down”. I would then sacrifice 10 extra minutes of my life to explain to my manager that this has happened too many times now, and it’s not acceptable.

Alas, the postie was half way down the road in a red van by the time I looked out on the street. How on Earth he must have returned to his van from my doorstep, started up, and driven half-way down the road in the space of about 8 seconds, I have no idea!

This is a special skill. An art, you might say. One that requires practice.

The plot thickens.

I walked around to 61 Tunis Road to politely offer them some important mail (return address was PO Box Northampton, does the reader know what this means? Yes, the letter had a credit-card shaped, er, card inside of it, no joke), and was greeted by a lady whose young boy asked if I was Matthew.

Good GOD. This sharp-eyed young boy had remembered seeing my address and name on some mail for me, delivered to them! And it was my online VAT registration details, including membership card. Great, so nothing too important then!

Do these people see “letter from HMRC REVENUE AND CUSTOMS” and think “sod it, I’ll deliver it elsewhere”?

Is it because I made a complaint about them shoving a “while you were out” notice through the letterbox two months ago without having even knocked on the door only to open the door immediately to ask what was going on and to find the postman didn’t even have the parcel he was claiming to try to deliver that day? Was it revenge for the formal complaint I had made about this terrible behaviour?

I visited my next location, where I was greeted by the grateful face of a lady whose HMRC REVENUE AND CUSTOMS letter (yes, another really important letter), or that of her husband, had been missing.

How desperate!

This country is a joke!

I am giving up and moving to Spain.

In Spain, people sit around in sunny piazzas, drinking espresso and talking about important things.

People look after others’ babies without the fear of being arrested or told off by officious social services workers.

Do people misbehave like this in Spain, where it’s hot?

Do people not take pride in their jobs here at all?

Do people have no souls? Not an ounce of goodness? Any sense of right?

Am I the only one who has a sense of basic human decency and duty? No, thankfully I am not. But it’s so hard finding others who also do!

Our road names are different! Our postcodes completely different! They are DIFFERENT ADDRESSES! Your job is to deliver an envelope to an address, not a random letterbox nearby because you are at the end of your shift, you lazy jobsworth-y heap of disrespectful human uselessness!

It’s one thing when we can’t trust others on the street to behave considerately towards others, but it’s another thing altogether when people do so AND take a pay packet for the privilege at the end of the month!

Member of the chattering classes that I am, I feel it’s my duty to apportion blame at this point.

Middle management. Not postmen. Middle management. For it is they who refuse to accept there is a huge problem with their workers. An enormous problem with quality of service. As long as they install customer care lines where they pay people to smile over the phone at you in order to form a convenient black hole for serious service complaints (every call ends with “thank you for your call, I will chat with the area manager and have this resolved as soon as possible“, which invariably masks a complete lack of understanding of the severity and spread of the endemic problems of worker attitude and area manager accountability), as long as they refuse to admit there are management structure problems and wipe out entire sections of the business to remedy the problem, this problem will continue to further plague the Royal Mail and cause its eventual demise.

Talk about an industry giving itself a black eye when it’s already got major health problems.

I only write because mail workers voted in favour of a strike today.

Good one. Imagine if everyone had a little bit of a strike. Postal workers, train workers, politicians, policemen and women, teachers, firemen. Anarchy, it would be anarchy. That’s why striking, in a society like we have today, is practically immoral; if you don’t like your job, or the sector you decided to go in to, why the hell are you staying in it? Sure, try to reform it, if you do care about your job or sector. But striking doesn’t have that effect, it has the effect of stirring up anger from the public and solving nothing between ‘robust’ negotiators for the industry and insolent negotiators for the unions.

God, it’s not like we are sending people down the mines any more, is it?

Striking: in our current societal status, it’s what lazy people who think they deserve more do. Here’s my message to you: everyone in the world thinks they deserve more. Apart from those who really don’t have anything, and they appreciate life in every way they can. Yes, workers think they deserve better treatment and pay, even politicians think they deserve better pay, even after The Scandal. I don’t want this to sound trite, but I have come to appreciate those around me who appreciate what they have got, I am one of these people myself.

Anyway, enough of the happy clappy, on with the vitriol.

Or perhaps it’s lawyers’ faults?

Lawyers have turned our society into a compensation society, like the USA. They didn’t mean to, their motives for campaigning for individuals to have greater power to challenge organisations were pure. After all, they were about power to the people. But actually it has backfired, and it means we are not able to simply get rid of rubbish workers, for fear of tribunals and court cases of unfair dismissal. The public sector, which doesn’t have the money to get serious heavyweight legal assistance in such cases, is the one that loses. Or rather, we, consumers of public services, are the ones who lose. The Lawyers didn’t think about that, they didn’t think about the long lasting effects of handing legal power to the individual.

Sounds good on paper, but actually leads to inefficient, ineffective organisations, ones that have to care more about workers’ rights than the job they are trying to get done. That surely cannot be right.

Sack it, I blame the Labour government. (NB I say this tongue-in-cheek.) Might as well. Spoon feed society, pay them for sitting around on their arses all day, and the wretched disease of indifference about life, the universe, and everything, will filter up into the working classes, god help us because it has probably permeated the middle and upper classes too, and soon enough 99.9% of the general public will be unable to make decisions for themselves and abuse their surroundings and take others for granted. This is the thin end of the wedge. The thick end is crime and intolerance.

Socialism. It may seem like a great idea to give handouts to those who need them the most, but it does nothing for society – all levels of society – in the medium to long term.

It simply means more people spit in the street, and dump their rubbish illegally, and behave in antisocial ways. And drop mess, and eat smelly food on the tube, and carry knives around. And drink and start fights, and can’t look each other in the eye.

That’s why I simply cannot bring myself to vote Labour, however much I don’t want the Tories to come to power.

Rant over.

I wish I were not in the impossible position of having to vote for a party I don’t really believe in, nor do I think will ever have enough power.

Can’t someone fill the political gap?

No, not you, UKIP, you single-minded waste of a manifesto.

A party I could take pride in, one that represents a political ideal I can connect with. One that is in favour of Europe, peace, technology, progress, social justice, reasonable taxes, fiscal conservatism. I wouldn’t mind paying higher tax if we could find one.

Am I a Tory? Please tell me no. I am not a Tory.

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