Postal traumatic stress.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 19 October 2009

Am I the only person in England who cares about the Postal workers, it felt like it today.

After many of your calls this afternoon I can see why members of the CWU feel abandoned and lonely in their struggle for fairness. I cannot believe how heartless Lord Mandelson is, I cannot believe how devious the Royal Mail are only agreeing to arbitration if the posties withdraw their threat of a strike.

I know there has to be modernisation, I know nothing stays the same, I know that we have email and junk mail and all sorts of electronic gadgetry, but where do humans fit in. Are we not the most important part of the equation or have I got it totally wrong?

I wanted Arthur Scargill to talk to me today about the comparisons of the miners strike and CWU's attempt to look after its members, but we couldn't get hold of him. We talked to a contemporary historian instead who told us, without any bias that the notion of bringing in 30,000 strike breakers was as divisive as it gets. The police having to protect the people and the scabs. Families pitted against families, a tactic designed to weaken the workers.

The legacy of Union hatred is out there. Thatcher's children don't remember the miners fighting to keep the pits open, Thatcher's generation are totally unconscious of community, her legacy is found on every street corner. Disaffected kids with no sense of community, the 'spolt' generation, the 'lost' generation, the young people with nothing to look forward to except yet more alienating toys.

I will carry on fighting for the dignity of any working man/woman. Why? because I really do remember when life was communal and people laughed and shared a joke. When kids really did fall over tin cans and have plaster on their knees. When intergenerational life was not a socio-political term. When we waited for the phone to ring instead of instant calling. When we had patience. When walking was about looking and listening instead of scurrying with heads down as earholes are stuffed with earphones cutting off everything around us.

I remember when seats were given up to the elderly, when childrens stories were scary and lullabys induced sweet dreams. Who knows what a lullaby is now?

The Posties, like so much of our culture, are being sidelined for profit and machines. I am ashamed of my generation for it's lack of gumption, for its refusal to see that, despite what the Iron Lady said, there is nothing wrong with a noble u-turn, indeed that is precisely what is necessary now.

I have joked that everything wrong in my life is Thatcher's fault, now it seems less of a joke. As our society splinters around us like the cracking ice in Antartica, at what point do we start caring for each other again? When will we be prepared to stand by each other instead of watching the greedy inherit the earth. I thought it was meant to be the meek who got the goodies, now the meek, as always, are shafted.

I am no political pundit, I am not a journalist who has all the answers, I am an old lady with memories of my childhood, my teenage, my twenties and thirties, I can remember walking out at 3.00 in the morning watching the sun come up over the embankment and being so thrilled I could hardly breathe, now early morning activity is sometimes a risk not worth taking..

I love talking to my framily on Skype, I love writing on my computer, but its only part of my life, I well remember a real life before virtual reality took over.

Enough already. I await Thursday's possible strike action maybe common sense will prevail.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At October 20, 2009 7:06 AM June wrote:

Hi Jeni

Oh so well said! I agree with every word you wrote. It bought me to tears because being the same age as you I too remember everything you described.
RE: the post strike, what private company is going to deliver to EVERY address in the UK?
Just a thought.

Love June

2. At October 20, 2009 8:36 AM hymie wrote:

Good morning Jeni,

That was a really well written piece. I too remember all of the things you write about and that world now seems a million miles away from where we live now.

Hymie x

3. At October 20, 2009 9:37 AM kerri wrote:

Hi Jeni, Havent left a comment for ages, but wanted to say what happened to me yesterday, leaving me disgusted with todays younger generation, and i've only just turned 40! I was walking to the shops, tripped on an uneven part of the pavement, went down very hard, laid there spreadeagled on the floor, hands knees all swollen and bleeding, there was a man in his mid twenties behind me, who walked around me, looked at me and then carried on. I was so shocked,I'm not from a city, i come from a medium sized town in Dorset, I expected better. Whats happening to us all? Take Care Kerri xx

4. At October 20, 2009 10:23 AM SANDY wrote:

Jeni,OMG powerful stuff made me cry,I know all these things,but seeing someone else cares,well it brings a sparkle of hope!Love you,Sandy.

5. At October 20, 2009 8:32 PM Fee wrote:

You're not the only one Jeni, me and lots of my family and friends agree with you. Well done for yesterday, it's refreshing to hear a presenter being so passionate about the workers. Usually it's presenters moaning about "scroungers" when they even avoid paying tax themselves. Well done and keep it up.
Lerve xxx Fee

6. At October 21, 2009 6:15 PM Stephen Bentley wrote:

I heard you yesterday and like Fee; it's a pleasure to hear someone on the media passionate for the "workers". Counting myself as one. Union member all my working life - doesn't mean you are lifelong militant and so forth. All we have is our labour, back from the days of the Peasants Revolt. Union membership gives you self-respect in the workplace and protection from exploitation. So nice not to hear the self-serving opinions of those who wear wrist watches that cost more than the individual annual salaries of their employees while complaining they cannot afford to pay their taxes - don't want to pay them is nearer the mark. Still "there is no such thing as society" is there? Or are we to be told that remark is wilfully quoted out of context? Sorry ranting on a bit here - but you go girl.

7. At October 21, 2009 11:09 PM Natalie wrote:

Hi Jeni, great post. Here's a link to another well written post, from a royal mail worker. Made me think about all this very differently:

www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/maya01_.html

All the best,
Nat

8. At October 26, 2009 9:19 PM Briar wrote:

Bravo. I am sick of the mainstream media parrotting the bosses' positions while pretending to be "objective". They obviously are not. Well, I speak for all the "Granny Smiths" out there. We aren't rich, we aren't powerful, nobody gives a darn what we think, because we aren't trendy and fashionable either. But we have votes and voices too, even if nobody wants to hear them. The postman is one of the many public servants who makes it possible for me to live with security and dignity. The postman is my friend, and I will stand by him.

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