So, Alastair Darling is going to ask the European Commission very nicely if he can provide investment of £1.7 billion for the Post Offices, is he? It's so nice to know that these people we elect to run our country, who have recently decided they just don't get paid enough, can't even decide how they are going to spend tax revenue.
Mr Darling said the annual £150m subsidy to help rural branches stay open will be extended beyond 2008 until 2011.
What, however, Mr Darling doesn't say is that under Article 88 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, a national government needs permission from the European Commission to grant state aid, and under Directive 2002/39/EC, this permission must be granted before the aid can be given.
In fact, this figure of £150 million a year to the post offices was allowed to be made after the EC decided that this was the maximum figure they would allow. Never mind that the actual cost of these post offices are £4 million a week, which leaves a £58 million a year black hole...oops! Still, at least they've extended the time this can be paid from 2008 to 2011. How lucky we are to have such a generous Commission to let us do these things!
The closures are likely to begin next summer and will continue for 18 months, reducing the size of the network to about 11,760.
This has all come about, because the European Postal Services Directive decided that the reserve for the national monopoly had to be cut from post weighing 350g (No, I don't actually know what that is in real measurements) to 50g, meaning that the money which was made by the post office could be pumped into the rural post offices etc. which do not make profit.
Not that any of our little poppets in Westminster are actually bringing themselves to say this. They can't even bring themselves to say 'market failure' when it comes to services such as the post office, as then they would have to explain why they are not funding the rural post offices properly, even though it is one of the few roles which the government can actually do better than private companies.
Can you imagine the grief Mr Darling would get (oh, if only he was a Captain) from dear old Tone' if he stood up and, perhaps, told the fucking truth about this post office debacle?
"Sorry, chaps, the European Commission says we can't fund post offices, even if they are the only facility in a rural area or tiny village miles from anywhere, somewhere that the elderly rely on. Sorry, but that's the way it is. They are the bosses now, and if they want to bend me over and bugger me with the Acquis Communautaire then they can."
Why are our politicians allowing themselves to get the blame for things which they could blame on the EU? Oh, yes. Because they keep on dragging us further and further into the stinking, corrupt cess pit that is the European Union and so they have to keep hiding the truth from people or they won't get their way of a wonderful, happy political union based on the recollections of someone who read 1984 whilst on acid.
I tell you, there must be something really good in it for them if they are prepared day after day, week after week to lie on behalf of the Portuguese orange cunt Barosso and his gang of merry men. Maybe a one way ticket out of the mess they are creating, perhaps? Sunning themselves in Latin America along with the rest of the political crackpots and assorted nasty bastards, whilst we try frantically to keep up with the rest of the world who aren't restrained by the most convoluted, harmful, regressive, spasticated organisation ever to exist.
Just let us leave...before it's too late...