Not sure why there is such a furore about this. It's exercising certain unionists but I'm detecting indifference from the general public. Most people don't actually get that much mail these days - we are all being incentivised to get our statements by email instead and given discounts off our bills to do so. Nobody sends cheques out any more, it's all done by automated bank transfer. No one sends personal letters anymore, all contact is made by phone, text and email.
The only mail that seems to be delivered is junk mail, and does it matter who delivers that?
And while people feel indifferent to the Royal Mail, they feel outright irritation with Post Offices. I remember having to go to the post office in my lunch hour to get my tax disc renewed. After queueing for ages, you finally got to the counter only to be told by a jobsworth, sorry I can't give you the disc, as your insurance starts tomorrow, you should have brought your old insurance papers with you as well. I'd protest in vain that they knew my old insurance was in place as the system had granted me a tax disc last year. To no avail. So I'd have to come back the next day and repeat the process. What a relief when the DVLA started doing tax disc renewal online!
One of the great achievements of the Labour government these last twelve years has been to automate government services and make them all available online. No need to venture into a hideous post office any more. I'm sure millions feel the same way I do - people have been voting with their feet, and that is why the numbers using post offices has dropped.
As to why the government is pressing ahead with this - to raise money of course. Doh! Because of the recession, tax revenue is down. And it's a bad idea to raise taxes in a downturn. And no self-respecting Labour person will countenance cuts to essential services like the NHS (which is well-loved, unlike the Post Office). So Royal Mail privatisation it is.
I also predict that the government will prefer to get the banks to buyout the government at the earliest opportunity, so the taxpayer gets their money back, rather than keep the bank shares and raise taxes. And I'm pretty sure that Northern Rock will get flogged off at the first opportunity too. If it's a choice between keeping public services and flogging off these albatrosses, the choice is clear.