LIKE thousands of others across the UK I sat and watched Mr Bates vs The Post Office, and suddenly remembered watching Cathy Come Home in 1966 in what was then still East Pakistan. I wept back then but also remember thinking: was it fiction? Was it a documentary? I had no context beyond a small black-and-white TV and yet another “imported” programme.

It was only many years later I learnt that Shelter was launched a few days after the first broadcast and Crisis the following year. I could never have dreamt that I would meet the inimitable Ken Loach all those years later in Glasgow as he created Ae Fond Kiss. Sadly my ten-second acting debut in that film was cut in editing, to languish on the editing-room floor.

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But this time I had Google to help, and confirmed Cameron was Tory PM; his lackey Clegg, leader of the LibDems, was Deputy PM; and the current LibDem leader, Ed Davey MP, was postal affairs minister in that detestable coalition, prime time for this particular miscarriage of justice. Not bad, eh: one’s now a Lord and the other a Sir!

Between two dyed-in-the-wool Unionist parties we saw, amongst other attacks on ordinary people, their ideologically driven austerity programme. There were attempts to disguise the horror with soft-image photos of Cameron and huskies and the stick-in-the-craw “we’re all in this together” slogan. But hold on, who was in charge of the CPS in those days? No Sir then, just plain Keir Starmer, from 2008-2013.

I’m not attempting to smear all people with the same brush. I’m more inclined to believe this exemplifies everything that is wrong with rUK in its current form. Not least politicians quick to sacrifice their principles for a seat at the top table.

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A cabal of neglect and possible corruption found its nexus in the instance of the Post Office: business, government ministers, and ultimately government itself. It has been a long time in the shaping, and continues with similarities between then and the Covid contracts scandal. But that Tory-LibDem coalition certainly sped up the process of formulating and implementing political misrule disguised as policy.

So what of the future?

There’s a strong possibility that both Tory and Labour will weaponise this latest scandal in light of the coming General Election. Which party does what quickest for the benefit of the victims: promises of lessons learnt, usual mantras. And ultimately who will be held to account, who will pay?

Paula Vennells, former Post Office CEO, was spotlighted in the programme and subsequently has been shamed into relinquishing her CBE. However, her pension would appear to be secure. In turn, Fujitsu are firmly embedded into UK structures so perhaps that will protect them, preventing public accountability.

In the end, then, the chances are that you and I will be the ones to pay, via our taxes . After all, we don’t have the levels of income that generates the need for creative accounting and off-shoring. As they say ... plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Selma Rahman

THE points made by Richard Douglas of Taynuilt (Letters, Jan 11) regarding the Post Office scandal are well made and in total harmony with those expressed by myself and my Edinburgh black cab driver this morning. My personal bete noire is the contaminated blood scandal, apparently bogged down in yet another interminable public inquiry.

Alan Bell