Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Where is it all going?

I went into a big post office this morning (lucky to find one) to enquire about a parcel.

As usual I looked a bit lost, but I was immediately seized upon by a pleasant young lady patrolling the floor in search of such lost souls –

'Can I help you, sir?'

Service with a smile. So far, excellent. I started to explain what I wanted but she cut me courteously short –

'I'm sorry, sir, but that is a matter for the Royal Mail?

'But,' I protested feebly, though already pretty sure of the sort of thing that would come next, 'post offices are part of the Royal Mail. Aren't they the same thing?'

'Not for the last couple of months,' she explained patiently (probably not for the first time), 'I'll go and ask for you with the Royal Mail.'

So off she went across the floor, to a counter all of ten feet away, and repeated what I had just explained to her to a lady who till a couple of months ago may well have been a colleague (or perhaps not).

Back she came, wreathed in smiles, and explained that my problem was now being dealt with by the Royal Mail. Just for my future edification I asked what the two organisations do.

'The Royal Mail delivers letters and parcels', she told me, 'and the Post Office is, well, post offices.'

I must try to remember this.


I wonder what other countries do. No, perhaps best not even to think about it. I also wonder what has happened to Postman Pat. Presumably he has stayed with the Royal Mail, along with his bright-red van. But where's his black-and-white cat gone?

I would like to think that those clever people who devisedall this understand exactly what they are dealing with and what they are doing. I suspect, however, that they do not consider themselves to need to, being concerned with matters of higher import for which these once public services exist merely as political pawns or commercial commodities.

Like most of Conductive World's items on economic and structural change, this is a heavenly story with an earthly meaning, a parable. In England, think of the current reconstruction of 'special educational needs'.

And what will happen to Conductive Education?


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