No doubt many of you will have seen the ITV programme Mr Bates vs the Post Office and the ensuing mass media coverage.

It tells the heartbreaking story of the over 700 sub-postmasters who were prosecuted with great malice and spite by the Post Office over discrepancies in their accounts, most showing losses that the sub-postmasters were contractually due to repay, regardless of whether they were at fault or not. 

Most were locked out of their premises, and their homes, without delay and then prosecuted with such viciousness it defies belief. I will not recant the story but suffice to say millions of viewers are furious and, at last, the backlash has begun.

A few questions: Why oh why does it take a television programme to wake people up to a scandal that has been in the newspapers for over 20 years? Does this tell us about the average Joe’s consumption of newspapers and world news? It leads me to believe that the internet, with its ‘let me choose what l want to read’ attitude is leading people into a world of total ignorance, where they have opinions about everything and knowledge of nothing.

The Post Office CEO during this outrage, Paula Vennells, was awarded a CBE in 2019 for services to the Post Office. Just imagine how that must have stung these poor people when they found out. Despite repeated requests, she refused to surrender this pathetic ‘honour’until 1.2 million people signed a petition and she sheepishly returned the gong. The lack of self-awareness here is astounding as she obviously had zero intention of returning it based on honour or morality but was forced to by the baying mob.

Just to add a disgusting post script to this, she was, during this entire outrage, an Anglican priest! So she would preach all the good moral things to her flock on a Sunday and then lie, cheat and collude from Monday to Friday in her job. That tells you as much about the two-faced, pious attitude of the church as it does about this woman. I guess we should not be too surprised as the church covered up and lied about paedophile priests for generations, and are hoarding billions of pounds whilst preaching to us to give to starving
children. With the government desperately trying to get ahead of public opinion (read that as they would have done sweet FA if the programme had not have roused the public), they are now trying to grab back the £2.2 million she received as a departure gift for the fine work she did in the job!

The creator of the faulty Horizon computer system that led to this outrage, Fujitsu, which has been totally silent on the matter, allowed a back door to be created in the system, thus allowing the company, under orders from the Post Office, to change the accounts of any branch without the knowledge of the sub Postmaster. The company and the entire board of the Post Office then lied through their teeth for over 20 years about this, constantly denying it and using their corporate muscle to silence anyone who dared to claim they were wrong. They lied directly to the faces of the victims, they lied in all legal documents, they lied in court – for over 20 years.

For the first ten years of the scandal, the Post Office was owned by the Royal Mail Group; the CEO of which at the time was one Adam Crozier – no doubt soon to be Lord Adam Crozier! There has been much asked about why he did not appear anywhere in the TV programme, not a mention, not a reference, even though he was Vennells’ boss during this time and could have stopped this outrage in its tracks at anytime he saw fit.

Did he know what was going on? Of course he did, but perish the thought that anyone in this disgusting debacle should do the right thing if it might affect the share price or their bonuses. Vennells was paid an annual salary of £4.5 million and an annual bonus of £2.2 million. Crozier was paid a total of £3.5 million plus a £1.5 million bonus and a £1.2 million pension pot.

So why was Crozier so obviously left out of the programme made for ITV by ITV Studios? Guess who the CEO of ITV and ITV Studios, on a salary package of £8.4 million was? Yes, you guessed it, one Adam Crozier. It all just stinks.

Of the 700 falsely prosecuted victims, 60 are dead; four committed suicide; over 100 were forced into bankruptcy; many are now divorced due to the strain; many were jailed; over 100 had to move and find new schools for their children due to bullying over their parents ‘crimes’; 120 were blackmailed by the Post Office and forced to sign non-disclosure agreements in return for a measly few quid, and all have had their lives shattered, their reputations destroyed and their futures wrecked.

Sadly, this all points to the current world we live in where individuals do not matter. We are just numbers. It’s a world where overblown salaries are paid to inept people and always linked to share deals where they are motivated to do anything in their power to protect the brand, and the share price.

The ultimate owner of the Post Office is, of course, the UK government which equally could have stepped in at any time but instead, just turned their backs on the matter as an inconvenience that will go away.

So many of our public servants lie, cheat and defraud with the sole aim of lining their own pockets, grabbing a gong and retiring in splendour. They seem to care little about the individual, about fairness, and about right and wrong and it is absolutely stomach churning.

You think this is an isolated case? You could not be more wrong as many we will never learn about due to gagging orders but the next in line – the tainted blood scandal. 26,800 people infected with NHS blood that contained Hepatitis C and HIV. For three decades, successive governments – of all colours – refused a public enquiry until 2017, by which time over 2,500 had died. Finally, some measly compensation was paid which, if infected in 1970, comes out to £42 per day!

In both cases the revolting, callous attitude is to string it out and hope they die then we won’t have to pay anything. If this doesn’t make you ashamed to be a human being, nothing will.

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