March 01, 2004

Tony Giveth and Tony Taketh Away

When the Government decided last year to allow families to send free parcels weighing up to 4lbs to their loved ones serving in Iraq, Tony Blair announced it personally to a packed House and TV cameras during Prime Minister's question time. When this was cancelled by the Government on Friday, it was quietly announced by a junior Armed Forces Minister. It was done on Friday because the House of Commons is typically virtually empty, with MPs travelling back to their constituencies for the weekend.

Now families will have to pay 7.23 for every package they send. That's about $14.00. Even if it weigh far less that 4lbs, they will still have to pay the full amount. Want to send a picture and a card to Daddy? That will be 7.23, thank you very much. Want to send him essential toiletries or a flak jacket that the MOD is too tight-fisted to provide? Again, 7.23. Well, if the body armour weighs over 4lbs, then I'm sure it will cost a lot more to send.

The Conservative defence spokesman said, "This carries meanness too far." His counterpart for the Liberal Democrats, our own MP here in Hooterville, called it "ministerial penny-pinching of the worst sort."

The be fair, the US Government does not offer free postage for parcels to loved ones in the military. But does it charge $14.00 for 1oz-4lbs? Not hardly. For $14.00 you can send around 14lbs. Oh, but the US military already supplies flak jackets and other essential military equipment. Wanna send a card to Daddy? That'll be 37 cents, please.

Posted by david at March 1, 2004 11:51 PM | TrackBack

I suppose you could send the stuff to a friend in the U.S. who could then forward it to would be cheaper although a bit ridiculous!

Posted by: Laura Nee at March 2, 2004 07:46 PM

That won't work, because the US domestic rates only apply to APO and FPO addresses, which are only for US servicemen. The sad thing is that the Royal Mail and Ministry of Defence don't have such a system.

Posted by: David Holford at March 2, 2004 10:39 PM

that is really sad! Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be getting out of there any time soon either.

Posted by: Laura Nee at March 3, 2004 11:54 AM