Been to a protest meeting today at Garthowen Post Office at Newtown. It was very cold. "Enough to freeze the ears on a brass monkey" as my mother-in-law used to say. 100 - 150 there, at the invitation of the local councillor, Bob Mills.
Bob started his speech by drawing attention to the absence of local MP, Lembit Opik from the crucial vote on post offices in the House of Commons last Wednesday. "I want to begin by expressing my disappointment in our local MP, Lembit Opik that he wasn't in the House of Commons last Wednesday, to vote to suspend the post office closure programme" is roughly what Bob said. No messing. Straight for the jugular. It might have been no more than the truth, but I felt myself shuffling uncomfortably - especially when Bob handed me the floor to speak.
The more I get into this debate about closures, the more sympathy I feel for Post Office Ltd. Their spokes people have been put in an impossible position. The Government is the only shareholder of Post Office Ltd, and not only took away about half of the business, but instructed the company to close 2,500 post offices. No discussion. Just close 2500 post offices. The only way to save Garthowen PO, or Abermule PO, or my own PO in Berriew is to come up with another post office that we would close instead.
The only place to make any significant difference to the closure programme is in the House of Commons, which brings us back to the forthright Councillor Mills. I've not seen any reference to Lembit's decision to absent himself from last Wednesday's vote in the media yet. But Councillor Bob Mills made sure the good people of Garthowen know about it.