Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let the people know.

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.

8 comments:

JohnRWarman said...

Your entry echoes what has been said and thought all over the country since October 2008.

By now you will be aware of the Post Office Closure programme for you area, and which Post offices have been marked for closure.

CAPOC (Communities Against Post Office Closures) has been formed from groups that have been fighting since last October, and their website contains a wealth of information and advise that will help local action groups in fighting to save their own Post Office Branch.

Please take a look at the website http://www.postofficeclosures.org.uk/ which is the home of CAPOC, and pass this email onto the Postmasters and Local Action Groups in your area so that they can take advantage of the information.

Should any of your Local Action Groups decide to register with CAPOC this will greatly help the national campaign.

Glyn Davies said...

Thanks john. I'll make sure the details go out to all the protest groups on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

"The only place to make any significant difference to the closure programme is in the House of Commons"

Can't help wondering why you're "working with Nick Bourne" then. Best off dealing with an MP.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to wake up to the fact Glyn that Lembit Opik is simply not interested in rural Wales or his constituency? This is a man wo would turn up to the opening of a nightclub in London - charging I now gather to appear with his Cheeky popster - but refuses to attend events in his locality. Witness the wind farms meeting recently

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I don't disagree with you - but there's no reason why AMs should not participate in the campaigns. Post Office Ltd and Postwatch have discrete Welsh identities, and are in discussion with AMs. And the Post Office Development Scheme was an Assembly Government initiative. I was in discussion with Mick Bates, Liberal Democrat AM at the Garthowen meeting yesterday about what we can do. This issue transcends party politics. But of course you are right about the importance of MPs, which is why I was so surprised that Powys' two MPs decided to miss last week's vote in the House of Commons.

Ted said...

Over 7000 majority though, and he won a first past the post, more than can ever be said for the regional ones from the assembly!

Anonymous said...

That 7,000 majority has been eroded on a weekly basis due to LO's antics. He simply can't carry on upsetting his constituents the way he's been doing since he ran off with that Cheeky thing. And his party have to recognise that they can bleat about his "dignity" as much as they like, but as everyone knows, he has none. To say he was refusing to comment on Ms LLoyd's book and then issue a bitter little statement via the Montgomeryshire Lib dems, speaks volumes about the sort of underhand tactics the Liberals are prepared to deploy. They will stop at nothing Glyn. Even the local Liberal paper, knowing of LO's reputation locally, have printed snide little comments about Ms Lloyd this week. Now both the party and the paper know that the Mail on Sunday carried exracts from the book and yet they are reacting as if the articles therein are an out and out attack on their sometime MP. They are TERRIFIED of Ms LLoyd, of you and of what LO's behaviour, from non-attendance of vital meetings to other things......They are also nervous as to how all this could affect the Ceredigion seat. The Liberals are the true nasty party. Never forget that. Ms LLoyd is now having a taste as to just how nasty they can behave and you have it all to look forward to.

Glyn Davies said...

Ted and anon - I know that a 12% swing, which is what I'd need would be a huge surprise - and I've never gone around saying that I'm going to win. All I do say is that I have a chance of winning, if I work hard and if everything goes well I also want my campaign to be part of a general resurgance of the Conservative Party in Montgomeryshire, at all levels - which is why I'm so keen on us establishing a team of Coucillors on Powys County Council.

And anon, I've bourn the brunt of personal rumour spreading myself in the past, but its no good getting worked up about it.
The only person I've seen quoted as trying to play the victim card on our MP's behalf has been Peter Jones, who lives in Cefn Coch. I'm very surprised no-one else seems to be backing it up. I never complain when our local papers favour the Liberal Democrats. The papers are entitled to do it, but I do think the weekly photogallery of Lembit and Mick Bates make the position entirely clear to everyone. And after all, as Ted would surely say, they have both won elections locally - so fair enough.