Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Stress of Hopelessness.

I've discovered a potential research project for some obscure US university which specialises in the study of stress levels - as they do. Wire up two groups of people from the same community, sending one group out to do something of benefit to his fellow man, (such as onto the streets of Machynlleth with Parkinson's Disease collection boxes), while forcing the other group to attend a meeting where Post Office Ltd try to explain why it plans to close its local presence. I'll discover the stress involved in the former activity today, while I experienced the latter last night in Llanbrynmair Community Centre.

It was the third such meeting that I've been to in the last fortnight. The Centre was full. Standing room only. Heulyn from the Post Office explained the 'rationale' behind the closure proposals. 'Rationale' is not really the right word. More a question of "Our one and only shareholder, Her Majesty's Government has instructed us to close 2500 sub post offices, and our computer model tells us that Llanbrynmair is to be one of them. We are intending to provide you with an 'outreach' alternative which will be open for 9 hours per week." Pretty much end of story! Heulyn looked a bit like that attractive new media spokes lady that Al Fayad has - putting a presentable face on the brutal idiotic strategy of their paymasters.

I arrive at these meetings in a good mood. I like meeting the people of Montgomeryshire. And as I listen to the presentation, and the articulate contributions and questions from the floor, I feel frustration, hopelessness even, pervading the meeting. There's a sense of just going through the motions. No-one believes Heulyn or Richard from Postwatch when they tell us that nothing has been decided yet. Its not their fault. Hands of all are tied behind the backs, theirs and ours, and the people who did the tying are probably indulging themselves in the House of Commons restaurant as we spoke. I feel my stress levels rise as the fog of helplessness envelops the room. I'm sure that a stress-measuring instrument of some sort strapped to my wrist would have gone off the graph.

Keith, who represents the sub post masters was the most depressing of all. He told us that 70% of sub post masters hope to be offered redundancy so that they can close down - the only way they can recover the money they have invested. Government decisions have removed most of their business. He also said that if the Government stick to their financial plans of withdrawing all subsidy from the Post Office by 2011, the 2500 current closure programme would be dwarfed by the next one. In 20 years time post offices will be like cockpits - somewhere for people interested in social history to visit.


Anonymous said...

It says 'Leave your comment'; can I leave a little artwork in the form of a brown coloured deposit in the shape of a helical-cone, about 6 cms high, with a rough diameter at the base of about 8 or 9 cms, garnished with a wafer in the middle of the wee pile in the form of a business or personal card with Rodney Berman's name on it in small letters. It's OK, Berman says he has a thick skin. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

As one of those who walked the streets of Machynlleth in aid of Parkinson's Disease yesterday,I don't know what it did for my stress levels, but it made me realise how many selfish people there are in this world. Thank goodness it also made me realise that there are some very generous people out there, these are the ones who didn't think twice before putting £5 in the box, so thanks to them and all the others who contributed, we raised £240.65. To those who just looked and turned away I say shame on you!!
Despite standing in the pouring rain for 3hrs,and having hailstones thrown at us as you well know Glyn, one dear gentleman who suffers from Parkinson's didn't lose his sense of humour, he said to me with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye,"I know you're not supposed to shake these boxes, but I'm afraid I can't help it" showing me how shaky his hand was. This same dear man was then going home to 'care' for his wife whose health isn't as good as his!!!!
People with Parkinson's get so little help from the Health Service, I just hope that following a conversation with David Evans of Powys LHB, he will stick to his word and help us get a much needed Parkinson's Nurse Specialist in Montgomeryshire.
As for the ladies of our group whom you met Glyn, what did they have to say when I met up with them, "isn't he handsome and so down to earth". So thank you for your support and please stay down to earth, especially not if, but when you make it to Westminster!!

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I published without reading properly, but whats done is done. Why pick on Berman on my blog?

anon 2 - The nurse specialist has been talkeed about for far too long. Its time it happened. Neurological diseases are not being given the priority they deserve. As for the last para.....I don't know what to say. My desire to make it to Westminster increases by the day. If I do make it, a higher profile for Parkinson's Diseases will be one of my main causes.

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand Glyn – don’t you like chocolate ice-cream? That “helical cone” motif got my chuckling. My compliments to the king ice-cream maker.

Anonymous said...

I too attended the Llanbrynmair meeting and like you Glyn was impressed with our local turn out. I think though that you are spending too much time with politico types Glyn - in saying its a done deal - the Post Office man from Cardiff seemed a little nervy when the Post watchdog man spoke - though not at all by our MP who was reading his e-mails through the meeting.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I don't know whether its a done deal - but I thought it was pretty much conceded by the MP when he took it upon himself to wind up the meeting on behalf of the audience. I'm hoping to meet the Post Office to discuss all the Montgomeryshire sub post office closures - and I'm meeting the man from Postwatch on Thursday. I want to keep as many of them open as possible.

I too find it so irritating when people keep on looking at their blackberries to check emails - as they strive to give the impression that they are so much more important than the rest of us.