Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 22 February 2024

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
22 February 2024

A scandal as shocking as the state-owned Post Office's prosecution of thousands of its sub-postmasters could have been expected to bring down the government... Isn't this "the greatest miscarriage of justice in British history by the prime minister's own admission? And hasn't it been one or other Tory government - in power since 2010 – which has presided over this "injustice" and allowed it to proceed?

  But no matter what governments do - from the sublime to the ridiculous, and even to the outright murderous (like backing the Israeli army's slaughter in Gaza to date) - "parliamentary democracy" protects their right to rule. The population is meant to wait for a general election, when it is “allowed” to vote them out - no matter how repressive they are. And then wait for another 5 years before having the chance to throw the next set of misrulers out (or worse still, have to put up with them for another term). It's a case for working class revolution and system change, if ever there was one!

Chief Brexit liar points her finger

There's daily confirmation of just how bad it's become. On Monday, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch stood up in the House of Commons to accuse an ex-Chairman of the Post Office, Henry Staunton, of lying.

    Yes, the Post Office chief she herself had appointed and who wasn't even around at the time of the Post Office's ruthless campaign against its sub-postmasters. But nevertheless she sacked him in January, so that he could take part of the rap.

    Staunton now says he was told to stall compensation payments to sub-postmasters. And this is entirely plausible. Why have two-thirds of the sub-postmasters who qualify for compensation only had "offers" so far, but no actual payments?

    To date, only 3,000 have received "some" compensation, but nowhere near the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, many have been forced to forfeit out of their own (or their relatives’) pockets, nor either any compensation for the years of mental pain and suffering - which money can never take away.

    At the end of January this year, Alan Bates, who is known because of the ITV dramatisation of the scandal, received an offer, but this was for only a sixth of what he's lost! In fact, so far, only 33 claims have been "fully settled"! Yes, that's all!

    As for quashing false convictions, up to December 2023, only 142 sub-postmasters had even had their cases reviewed - and of those, only 88 have had their convictions overturned.

    Yet these sub—postmasters have been waiting for "British justice" for a minimum of 8 years (the prosecutions stopped in 2015) or even in some cases, over 20 years!

Their law is only there to keep us down

As for the law which Sunak promised to pass to “exonerate” all those who were labelled criminals and/or sent to jail, this hasn't even been tabled yet!

    When asked about this on Wednesday during PMOs, Sunak brushed the question aside, saying it would be put before parliament "soon". No date!

    And now it has been revealed by the BBC that in 2016, Cameron's government knew all about an internal Post Office investigation which confirmed that Fujitsu employees could remotely access sub-postmasters’ accounts. A fact that Post Office bosses continued, nevertheless, to deny in court, but which was eventually proved true in 2019, and was also the basis of Alan Bates’ successful case against the Post Office.

    Indeed it transpires that Post Office bosses and government officials - including ministers, all the way to the top - were aware of errors in the Horizon IT system by at least 2013, but went on prosecuting sub-postmasters for two more years. They all lied through their teeth, claiming the Horizon system was "error-proof", in abject defence of the government's contractual partnership with Fujitsu, which extends to so many other government departments - and thus defending the super-profits involved for private capital...

    Sunak has denied doing anything wrong.  In fact he claims to have done everything right: after all, he asked Win Williams to set up a public inquiry into the Post Office! That was almost 4 years ago... and who knows when it will come up with any "findings”!

    Indeed, whenever a government or its departments stand accused, the solution is “an inquiry", otherwise known as "the long grass”...

    So there it is - a rotten and brutal system which is getting worse by the day.  It is irreformable.  It urgently needs overturning and replacing. There is no other remedy.