Odd to agree with Sir Vince

But there we are, oddities happen at times in an infinite universe:

Sir Vince Cable’s defence of Royal Mail privatisation could be minuted, perhaps uncharitably, as “It’s a dog, that’s why we sold it”.

He’s right, of course, however politically unsuitable it is to tell the truth to people. As he notes, the share price is now half what the government sold at, which is pretty solid vindication. Remember, too, that he and the coalition government were pilloried for selling it off too cheaply after an initial spike in the share price. A few years on, theirs looks like an eminently sensible decision.

After all, those who manage the nation’s assets should at least try to take the profits and dump the losses.

18 thoughts on “Odd to agree with Sir Vince”

  1. Hard to see who this is aimed at. All the Muh Russia crowd are Jizz-suicking remainiac fuckwits who wont care if Putin was tunnelling up Jizz’s arse–as Jizz is their remainiac hero.

    And all those who already know what scum Jizz is generally don’t believe the Russia crap anymore than we believe deadly-doorknobs-from-Russia-with-love garbage that Treason May was trying to sling a while back.

  2. It’s incredible that a delivery company with an established network of warehouses and last-mile delivery agents has so spectacularly failed to capitalise on the boom in internet shopping. What exactly went wrong? Cost base too high? Too much reliance on letters?

  3. I have some sympathy for Jezza’s view, if it applies to letters. The problem is that unlike that 70s dinosaur, I know that letters have been declining, and what’s been rising as a business is parcels, and parcels are a totally different thing.

    You don’t have the same level of duplication with parcels and the same infrastructure, especially if you don’t do delivery to the door. It’s much cheaper to send a parcel to a pick-up point, and you don’t need a lot of setup to do that. Hermes just make use of shops.

  4. My sister sent me a couple of parcels from NZ the other week. Just Xmas pressies for our great nephews and nieces and a pair of gloves for me.

    The esteemed Post Office didn’t deliver the parcels, instead they left a little card for each informing me that I owed them a few quid for VAT and if I wanted the parcels I could collect them from my local PO depot. Oh, and by the way, there is an eight pound handling charge on each parcel.

    I don’t know which fact outraged me more; VAT on a couple of Xmas presents or the handling charge.

    Apparently the EU is to blame but I feel the Post Office needs some of the obloquy just for the way they handled the affair. Although it might count as an in kind contribution to the Leave cause.

  5. One of the problems for Royal Mail is that it has the universal delivery commitment and its competitors do not – so they can cherry-pick the high-volume segments and undercut Royal Mail on price on the profitable bits and leave all the unprofitable bits to Royal Mail.

  6. That’s actually Ritchie and friends. Apparently the VAT free limit had to be dropped because he was complaining.

  7. @Andrew M

    Royal Mail charge too much for what they provide

    It’s cheaper to have DHL, DPD, Fed-Ex etc collect a parcel and deliver in 24 hours than lug it to post office for 48-72hr delivery

    imo RM should have prospered – Unions blocking progress?

    This DHL hub is mighty impressive

  8. @Kevin B December 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Gifts are Duty & VAT exempt (except sin-tax duty: cigs etc)

    @Tim Worstall December 3, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    +1 screwed up Channel Islands business model

  9. Kevin B said:
    “The esteemed Post Office didn’t deliver the parcels, instead they left a little card for each informing me that I owed them a few quid for VAT … apparently the EU is to blame”

    Probably ultimately my fault for helping a client (who shall remain nameless) set up a Channel-Islands based VAT-free CD delivery business back in the ’90s.

  10. Hello? Is it just me whose posts aren’t coming through? Did I upset Tim? Hopefully he hasn’t confused me with the Ely Richard.

  11. Just as I was getting into selling over the InterTubes, the Post Office was closing their local branches, it ended that I just couldn’t physically get to a Post Office with the stuff I wanted to sell.
    (Yeah, I know PO != RM)

  12. Bloke on M4 – all my deliveries from Hermes come to my door. I wouldn’t know what shop to go collect any from around here – probably not the ones within walking distance of a hundred metres.

    A nice package on Friday, a 5kg parcel. I cannot carry such a thing home, delivery to my door works fine as it goes besides the door until can be opened.

  13. What exactly went wrong, Andrew M asks. The danger in buying a going concern is that you buy thirty thousand reams of union bargaining agreements with it.

  14. Some confusion. I just meant that you can run a depot-to-depot operation using existing shops. Not that Hermes only do shops.

  15. For letters there is email. For parcels a whole a variety of providers at prices and service levels for every occasion, from DPD to Hermes. It that company RM are just not very distinguished, they don’t have tracked delivery all the way to my door with a one hour window, they don’t do cheap and cheerful by moonlight.

  16. Yes, Royal Mail just weren’t as good as the modern competitors.

    In the summer I flogged a load of the children’s old tat on eBay. Sent almost all of it by other delivery companies:
    – it’s cheaper (not much in it for small parcels; can make a huge difference on larger, heavier ones, especially if you use a price comparison website to see who’s best for the particular size / weight you need);
    – it’s tracked, and online and integrated with eBay, so the purchaser can see when it’s coming;
    – drop-off is at a corner shop; for most people it’s probably easier to get to than a Post Office, and it’s open 7am to 10pm.

    Royal Mail by comparison offers a very basic service at a premium price.

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