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Weekend Activities

March 29, 2008 at 8:24 pm / by

I went to the Surma Community Centre today for an event to celebrate the 37th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

Along with Camden Councillors and residents, Frank Dobson MP, Nicky Gavron and Murad Qureshi made speeches about the Bengali community’s important contribution to life in London.

The event finished with an excellent cultural show where young children from the community sang and danced. I was really impressed with their talent and confidence. You can see some of the photos from the event here.

Nicky highlighted the importance of voting in the upcoming Mayoral and GLA elections on the 1st of May. She spoke about her priorities for the two boroughs she’s standing in which include more affordable housing, better youth facilities, increased employment and transport improvements.

Nicky and I chatted about the closure of local post offices and she told me that she has been campaigning to save post offices both in Camden and Barnet. We discussed how the Conservative Party’s false local campaigns against post office closures were exposed after the performance of their front bench team in an Opposition Debate in Parliament last week.

Conservative MP Alan Duncan’s cynical opportunism was revealed almost immediately in the debate. He agreed with the Secretary of State about the need to “face the facts” about the Post Offices position: namely, falling customer numbers and revenues due to online mail. He also said:

“Let me make it clear that we fully expect the network to shrink in size. We have never given a guarantee that no post offices will close, because such a guarantee is not ours to give.”

Throughout the debate, the Conservative MPs offered no ideas about what they would do differently to deal with the new realities the Post Office faces in attracting customers in an online age. They had no idea how to make up the £200m fall in Post Office revenue that resulted from providing customers with a more efficient and effective service by paying benefits directly to their bank accounts.

Ultimately, the Tories admitted they had ‘no new money’ to offer the Post Offices which makes me think that they really need to stop campaigning on false promises!

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