The Post Office Under Fire
More than half the Members of the House of Commons having petitioned the Prime Minister to set on foot an enquiry into the working of the Post Office, with special reference to the proposal to put it on the same footing as bodies like the B.B.C. and the Port of London Authority, it is unlikely that a request so inherently reasonable will be refused. There is a good deal more to be said for the Post Office than is sometimes supposed, as a recent Postmaster-General, Mr. Lees-Smith, showed in the Spectator a week ago, but when the Prime Minister's petitioners mention that there have been no fewer than four Postmasters-General in 1981 (admittedly an abnormal year) they put their finger on one obvious weakness in the existing arrangement. The whole value of a committee of enquiry will depend on its personnel. The business man who starts with the conviction that everything the State does must be badly done, and the doctrinaire Socialist pledged to State management at any cost, can both with advantage be left outside the door. Investigation by a small carefully-selected committee of able and open-minded men might very well result in a decision that the Post Office had done its work perfectly well in the past, but that it might with advantage be organized on different lines in the future.
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