One thing that has transpired from the current trial, is a waft of disclosed evidence now available to be put in the public domain, which our intrepid court reporter Nick Wallis has done. (Before I go on, his court reporting, sourcing of documents and publishing them all costs time and money so if you haven’t already, pop along to www.postofficetrial.com and top up his piggy bank because we really need his work to continue)
Already a mountain of documents to wade through and comprehend but just as important is to cross reference what is revealed in them to what has previously been said in public. The trouble for some is that what they said then in public is not quite what it appears they said in private. These people could not for one moment have imagined that a full blown trial would come to be and with it the disclosure of so many revealing documents. They could also not have imagined for one second that the transcript of the trial of Seema Misra would also be published courtesy of the barrister Stephen Mason, which reveals so much about how POL went about obtaining criminal convictions.
There should, quite rightly, be some worried people out there, considering their futures in more ways than one.
Perhaps not so, Mr George Thomson, past General Secretary of the NFSP union and then CEO of what became NFSP Ltd. His statements in the past may not come back to haunt him personally but they must have a devastating effect on the current and future relevance of the NFSP. I am looking forward to hearing Justice Fraser’s take on that particular issue.
In August 2013 an email exchange between Thomson and Beal of POL revealed the following:
“4. POL and NFSP to sign a 15 year contract for the NFSP to represent all post office operators. This will include: Financial agreement £500k payment 2013-14 £1.25m payment 2014-15 £1.25m payment 2015-16 £2.5m payment 2017 onwards to 2028 This process allows for the drop off of our present membership fee, and facilitates the change from check off towards POL charging a fee from all agents which is passed directly to the NFSP. Memorandum of Understanding to be worked on with rights and responsibilities on both sides. If necessary, NFSP will drop Union badge to sign contract. Please note – a signed agreement with the blood of both myself and Paula is necessary on the future of the NFSP before any agreement is granted on either NT and other points.”
I have been warned about my scribblings in the past and the fact that they might attract some interest from the legal profession on behalf of POL and others so with that in mind I better be careful what I say here.
On second thoughts, given that I am pretty much penniless and couldn’t give a shit plus of course I would be delighted to have my day in court with them I’ll just carry on saying things as I see them.
It is pretty clear from the email extract above that George is telling Paula, regardless of any benefit or lack of benefit of Network Transformation to the very SPMRS George was meant to support, he, George Thomson, wants Paula to personally commit POL to pay the NFSP close to £30m, otherwise he/NFSP will not provide public support to the project. The withdrawal of public support for NT by the NFSP, it should be noted, would have had major political consequences. Of course he also throws in the attraction of having the NFSP relinquish its union status despite his public outcry at those he believed responsible for ultimately bringing that about.
Now you can interpolate the above for yourself to determine what occurred in between that email and what or what did not transpire as a result, but I could point out a couple of things:
a) The NFSP continues to this day to receive heavy financial backing from POL
b) The NFSP never withdrew support for the NT Project
c) The NFSP lost their Union Status
d) to the best of my knowledge the final agreement between the NFSP and POL was not signed in blood (but who knows? I haven’t actually seen it.)
I do not know if the role of the NFSP in the events leading to this trial will be a major turning point or a mere irrelevance.
What I do know that unless the NFSP changes tune pretty damn quickly then they, as an organization, are and will remain totally irrelevant to the SPMR community.