Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mr Bates and the Post Office

If you don't know about it, Post Masters (and Mistresses) were we found to be defrauding the British Post Office of thousands of pounds after the implantation of a computer system in the early 2000s. There were hundreds of them. They lost businesses, they had make up thousands of pounds in discrepancies, some were sent to gaol, some suicided. 

They were not guilty. Like our Robodebt system in Australia, it was an absolute disgrace. The good people of Australia did not speak out loudly enough about the very obvious wrongs of Robodebt

A commercial tv station picked up the three part made for tv series of Mr Bates versus the Post Office. I can't say I thought it was a quality production, but R recorded it through our Fetch box and he is an expert at skipping through ads.  I kind of knew the story already.

What I thought was much better was the subsequent documentary called Mr Bates, the Post Office and the Real Story. If you aren't in the UK, it is probably not available to watch online. I found it much more satisfying. For Australians I think you can find it on Channel 7 catch up tv. 

Nothing of the above really illustrates the disgraceful behaviour of the British Post Office. The CEO of the Post Office at the time, one  should be stripped of her CBE and in my opinion should go to gaol for what she oversaw.

Ah, she has now handed back her CBE, but as I read it, she did so before King Charles took it away from her. Wait, a correction. The King has taken the award from her. 

Hopefully now Mr Bates who tirelessly fought against the injustices perpetrated by the British Post Office will accept his CBE for his two decades of work to seek justice for himself and many others.

The Post Office is paying out bigtime in compensation. Unfortunately this is British taxpayers' money and I can't see a cent or penny coming from the company responsible for the failed system, Fujitsu. 

It is always good to criticise corruption and wrongs in the world, but it is far preferable to do so when your own doorstep is clean. First world countries need to be beyond reproach, and they aren't.    

27 comments:

  1. It is jaw-dropping stuff, watching the inquiry. So many people have died without having their names cleared, others are mentally ill, and still the full compensation has not been paid to all those who were doing a responsible job as part of their communities. Disgrace isn't a strong enough word. Heads should roll, but they won't. Once the dust has settled, those at the top of the organisation, who should have been aware, will quietly go on to other well-paid jobs with good pensions. It's the way of the world - fail, move sideways and up.

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    1. Sad but ever so true JB. It might be that the minister in charge of the PO should go, but they have possibly already done so, sideways and upwards.

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  2. They weren't "found to be". They were wrongly accused of. Can you please correct this? Thank you

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    1. Boud, my bad writing perhaps. They were all found to be not guilty of fraud as far as I know, and the media indicates all were without blame.

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  3. I never heard about this disgusting mess. Ugh...

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    1. Nor me Darla, but it has been bubbling along for a couple of decades.

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  4. The story was such a disgrace but I can picture all governments could do this easily.

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    1. Roentare, governments can, as our own government did with Robodebt.

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  5. That last sentence sums it up and is unfortunately only too true.
    Sandra sandracox.blogspot.com

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    1. Sandra, world leading countries really should do better, but political interest is always there.

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  6. PBS will be airing that here, and I am anxious to see it. Our first world country has definitely got some work to do on their doorstep.

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    1. The wider the audience Debby, the better.

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    2. I just feel very sorry for the poor souls who went to their graves with their names and reputations in tatters.

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  7. I read about the scandal online and recently saw the TV ads for the Mr Bates show, but decided not to watch it.

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    1. River, it is depressing to watch, as was the details of the other English scandal, the fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

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  8. Sounds a total disgrace. I hadnt heard or read about it, must do so.

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    1. The last show on Ch7 is perhaps all you need to watch Margaret.

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  9. Thousands have been affected by this scandal of a computer programme that wasn't fit for purpose. There are still hundreds of people who have not had their convictions squashed. Money that they paid from their savings to try and balance the books ( because a computer programme can never be wrong!) has still not been repaid. Many lost their businesses, their homes, were imprisoned, children bullied at school as their parents were called thieves. The suffering of the 900 post office masters/mistresses and their families has been horrendous. The TV drama/documentary made it front page news and the media is not letting it go now until justice has been done for all those affected by this nightmare. So I would say, well done to the makers of the TV drama which has done so much to publicise the plight of these innocent workers.

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    1. I am pleased you sound so passionate about it Marie, and thank you for the extra details. Media can do good.

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  10. Their sins do catch up with them eventually. Unfortunately too late for some of the victims.

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    1. JayCee, if you believe in the supernatural heaven and hell, maybe their sins do catch up with them, but in their lives, maybe not.

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  11. Though I don't want it to happen, people have been predicting for quite some time that post offices are headed for obsolescence, and I can't believe a scandal like this slows it down any.

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    1. Kirk, here parcel delivery is keeping ours going, even though there are plenty of commercial operators doing the same.

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  12. It is a horrible mess. Compensation has only gone to 4% of the post masters. Bates, jokingly? said at the hearing, that the Post Office should be sold off to Amazon for a £1. Rumours fly, CEO asking for four times his salary and the government wanting to hold back the compensation till after the election.

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    1. Thelma, much less close to a conclusion than the impression I received. It is just so gob smacking, perhaps not that it happened, but that it went on for so long and former post masters who clearly had good records were disbelieved.

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  13. I saw a short clip about this on a news channel but didn't know the details. What a disgusting story, Andrew.

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    1. Pat, it really is a disgusting. I sounds like we haven't heard the end of it yet.

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