Last week in the House of Lords a debate was held on the Post Office. In reply to various maudlin comments from peers, Baroness Buscombe for the Government opened her address with “I believe we have a really good story to tell”.
My interest in the remainder of her comments ended there for obvious reasons, but it has made me think more about the unwavering support that Government spokespeople have for the Post Office management team. Every single one defends POL’s actions because they either believe the propaganda they are fed by POL or make no effort to find out for themselves. By blindly supporting POL for purely political reasons they are in my opinion putting their own political career in jeopardy and I believe that by pointing this out in very clear and stark terms to them then their attitude may well change. The good ship POLTANIC is on a collision course with an iceberg (the JFSA case) and it is about to sink. The woman at the helm as well as her senior officers may well end up facing incarceration. Those that choose now to ignore the course she is steering and actively support her choice deserve all they will eventually receive because the warnings are clear and as loud as a foghorn 6 inches from their ears.
Forget about Network Transformation and the £2 billion. Forget about the size of the network and the sustainability of it. Forget about whether or not POL will make a profit this year and forget about the future of the Crown post offices. Concentrate on the JFSA case and the fact that Paula in her divine wisdom has elected to throw millions of taxpayer’s money at defending the indefensible. There is no doubt in my mind that the very well worded group litigation against POL will succeed and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that at least one wrongful conviction, Seema Misra, will be overturned at the appeal court. I would be prepared to put money on the fact that if it could be proved, the legal teams now representing POL now know for certain they haven’t a chance of success.
In the face of all the evidence now in the public domain it is in my opinion beyond comprehension that Paula Vennells, an ordained minister, seeks to prolong the suffering of so many former subpostmasters by continuing to believe that her staff were not guilty of the misdeeds that they stand accused of. For goodness sake the evidence is in black and white, written by her own consultants Second Sight and supplemented by the extraordinary disclosure of the Seema Misra Trial transcript. On top of that there are the events surrounding the error at Dalmellington which I have reported here that show just how Horizon can and does cause subpostmasters to lose significant amounts of value by erroneous computer generated transactions.
So if the evidence is so overwhelming the question must be asked why is Vennells spending so much money defending this? It is a question I cannot answer as her actions make no logical sense. She will lose – there is no doubt about it. There will be a police investigation into matters surrounding the prosecution of Seema Misra once the CCRC returns the case to the appeal court – that investigation is open and suspended until that time. There is every reason to believe that prosecutions of POL staff will result and if that happens a jail sentence is mandatory.
Why then do government officials continue to support Vennells? Do they think they will be able to hide that support when the ship sinks with all hands? Do they have a hidden life jacket they can use or will they too go down with the ship. It is time to make very clear to these elected officials that their record of support for Vennells and co will be long remembered and that when the ship goes down the shipping company (i.e. the government) will be looking for scapegoats. Supporting Vennells now may no longer be considered the brightest of career moves.
To all of you reading this perhaps it is about time you asked of your local MP which version of events they wish to support and in doing so remind them of the effects the wrong decision may have on their future political career.