The Hallmark of a civilised nation
A universal postal service is the hallmark of a civilised nation. Royal Mail can trace its origins back to 1516, when Henry VIII appointed a Master of the Posts. UK postage stamps remain unique, being the only stamps anywhere in the world not to bear a country name. The sight of our post boxes and network of small Post Offices are a daily affirmation of our national identity.
Of course no-one wants to go back on the 1981 decision to split-off British Telecom. Our pre-privatisation telephone service was abysmal. However, I really think we missed a trick by not endowing Royal Mail with some proportion of the licence fees from telecoms networks - the coppernet as well as airspace. Why shouldn't mobile phone users, for instance, directly subsidise something so intrinsic to our national well-being rather than paying the same licence fees to the Treasury which squanders them on welfare payments?
There are few British institutions that truly deserve national funding and which the private sector can't provide. Our armed forces are amongst them. So is our postal service.