VIEW FROM THE HOUSE
MEMBERS of Parliament continue to refer to our ‘postbags’, even though these days we receive many emails and the electronic mailbox fills up unceasingly. Royal Mail vans are still regular visitors to the Palace of Westminster, though, with a post office deep in the heart of the building. This sorts bundles of post for MPs and takes outgoing letters too, for onward delivery to constituents.
The tradition of sending Christmas cards may be declining a little because of electronic communications, with people posting pictures and greetings online, through social media. The sending of greetings cards burgeoned in the nineteenth century because of reforms to the postal services, to make them more economical and reliable. The messages on old postcards often referred to the sender seeing the recipient later during the same day, because of the number of deliveries. Those messages have been replaced by mobile phone voicemail and texts.
However, curiously enough the forecast decline in postal services has not materialised quite as anticipated. The reason is because the parcel service has expanded – and that has come about through the growth in online shopping. It is not confined to new goods as individuals can put items up for sale on auction or other selling sites.
I saw for myself the staff at the Royal Mail Delivery Office in Beaconsfield, sorting and distributing parcels on 20th December, aiming to get them to the recipients before Christmas Day. There was no shortage of bulging mailbags there, as they carried out their work. Our postal services remain a vital public link and postal workers are busy, working in all weather conditions, bringing the post to the front door. The postal worker on the local round remains a recognisable and welcome visitor to households. Long may this continue.
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DOMINIC GRIEVE MP for Beaconsfield