Trains, and now Post to be privatised?

The Finnish government has become a “Lame Duck” government for several reasons. The  next elections re just a few months away and their popularity in the polls has never been lower at about 35%! Another reason is that they have miserably failed to pass any major reforms because of incompetent planning. The Health and New Counties reforms are nothing but “pork barrel” attempts by the 2 big parties. For this of you unfamiliar with this American term a “pork barrel” solution occurs when politicians drive hard for a solution that gives a significant benefit to their own city or group of voters. 

Now, even though they are lame ducks, our infamous and luckless Transport Minister, Ms. Berner, has decided to privatise the Post Office. Not only is she appearing to plan its sale, but before that she is demanding that the Post Office makes available its golden eggs to competitors at a “fair price”. 

These golden eggs are the huge national address lists that it maintains to implement its important duty of delivering the post. In a country like Finland, with it huge geographical area and with inhabitants spread all over the country, having a well operating postal service is an important basic service. You should not try to sell off a company after making it financially weaker – that is a basic thing that even politicians should understand!

So far companies like UPS, DHL, etc., only deliver the most lucrative postal packets and let the Post Office hang on to the leftovers. Thus the postal service has been weakened by consecutive governments as competition has been allowed to destroy their business. This has resulted in cost saving measures where ordinary city dwellers receive no post on Tuesdays, which means that many high quality weekly magazines can arrive 4 days late if they fail to arrive on Fridays and Mondays! 

The idea that the postal service should give away or sell off their address lists is the type of gift that Ms. Thatcher gave to her supporters when the railways were privatised in the UK. One of them was secured by the Richard Branson’s companies. They failed to honour the terms of the operating contract. This is the same type of contract that our Transport Minister is now offering to rail operating in Finland. She has openly stated that they the UK system is worth copying even though the present situation there has led to huge losses for the government and a terrible service for passengers.

Her plans for the Post Office are just poorly thought out as her plans for the rail service.

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