Portrait of Edward Stanley Robertson

Edward Robertson points out the bureaucratic blundering and inefficiency of the Postal Monopoly during the Christmas rush period (1891)

Found in: A Plea for Liberty: An Argument against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation (LF ed.)

Thomas Mackay in 1891 edited a collection of essays attacking the Fabian Socialist ideas of George Bernard Shaw. In one essay Edward Robertson complained about the inefficiencies of the government postal monopoly at Christmas time

Odds & Ends

In the first place, the Post Office has always been a monopoly. There never was a time when any private agency was permitted to compete with the State in the work of distributing letters. … I cannot refrain from noticing the breakdown of letter-delivery arrangements which has taken place at Christmas every year since the Christmas card came into fashion. … One would think that if, by the mere fact of belonging to a department of Government, a preternatural faculty of dealing with statistics were conferred upon officials, the officials of the Post Office ought, after a brief experience, to have been able to foresee and provide for this recurring difficulty. Yet no sooner does Christmas come within measurable distance, than every Post Office is placarded and every newspaper filled, with plaintive appeals from the Postmaster-General to the Christmas card dispatching public, to ‘post early, so as to ensure the punctual delivery of letters!’