MAY I take this opportunity to congratulate UK Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne for managing to sell off one of Britain’s greatest institutions – the Royal Mail?
The magnitude of their achievement can surely only be measured by the level of over-subscription for the shares from the general public.
Because of the high demand, Joe Public has had his share allocation reduced to the bare minimum, whereas the institutional investors can buy as many as they like, at the initial offer price.
So not only have Mssrs Cable and Osborne (and their highly paid advisers) seriously undervalued this national asset, they have prevented the smaller investor from reaping any benefit from this error, while allowing their friends in the City to make even more millions at the expense of the “man in the street”.
So I say well done to Mssrs Cable and Osborne. You have pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks ever perpetrated on the great British public.
You have enticed us to buy at a bargain price, taken our orders and our money and then restricted our supply of the commodity so that a small cadre of “institutional investors” (as opposed to, ahem, speculators) can make even more money.
I understand Royal Mail employees were allowed to purchase up to £10,000 of shares in addition to the £2,500 worth which they were given. Their allocation has not been reduced in either case. Shame the same offer was not extended to those individuals who are the “front desk” for the Royal Mail – the sub-postmasters and counter clerks who are the first (and usually the last) port of call for the majority of its services.
So again I say well done Mssrs Cable and Osborne. You have achieved the following:
• Sold a priceless British institution for buttons;
• Prevented ordinary members of the Great British public from benefiting from your under-valuation of this asset;
• Allowed the “fat cats” in the City to get even fatter because of your fear of upsetting them and not trimming their share allocation;
• Demonstrated how out of touch you really are;
• And alienated the British electorate to such an extent that they will probably never trust a word you say ever again.
Duncan S Winfield