Saturday 28 June 2008

More on Post Offices

Talking about post offices must be starting to look like something of an obsession, I'm sure. But with 25 down for closure across Carmarthenshire - a wholly disproportionate share of the 2,500 for the whole of the UK – and a six week consultation period, it is inevitably very high on the agenda locally.

Last night I was at a meeting in Llangathen, in the Carmarthen East constituency; this time as an interpreter to provide a simultaneous translation into English for the benefit of those not able to understand Welsh.

It didn't surprise me to find that the Labour parliamentary candidate was issuing a leaflet opposing the closure. What was a bit of a surprise, however, was to find that it used the same design and wording as those issued by the MP for Carmarthen West - only the village name and the name of the publisher was any different. I had naively assumed that it was a local campaign by Labour in one constituency; it now looks like a co-ordinated campaign across a wider area.

I thought it was bad enough in one constituency to be arguing in favour of the plan, but against every individual closure; to be doing so on a widespread basis across the country starts to look like pre-meditated dishonesty. And they wonder why people are cynical about politicians.

PSAs with any good campaign, there are always moments of comedy. My second favourite to date was Dai Trelech, the 'character' who represents the Trelech ward on the county council, referring to the outreach service as the 'out-of-reach' service. But the best has to be the report by the post office on Llansteffan post office which said that the nearest branch was only one and a half miles away – in Ferryside. That's one of those pieces of information which is perfectly true, but utterly useless (except to a crow) unless someone is proposing to reinstitute the long-gone ferry service.

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