'Consignia' is the new name for Britain's Post Office consortium following its flotation on the Stock Exchange. Unlike other public services that have done so - with a notable exception - Consignia is not privatised, but a Government-owned company. The mind boggles.
The name 'Consignia' was chosen as more suitable for the international market and it apparently - to the board of directors* - "represents 'distribution' which isn't limited to one product or service and does not focus on only one traditional aspect of our business ('post')."
The consortium comprises the Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide (currently - there have been discussions over axing it due to low profits) and Post Office Counters, the retail outlets which are notoriously easy to steal from. Apparently. It had a turnover in 2001 of £8119 million despite poor mail delivery performance, even according to the company.
Consignia is another total monopoly run by total idiots which the UK populace just puts up with, and they now make a profit which goes only to the expansion of their own business rather than to the improvement of the service which is paid for by taxes and correspondance by the people.
The Times, a UK broadsheet newspaper, has an ongoing vendetta against Consignia, mainly because the consortium is one of New Labour's biggest mistakes (or successes, it depends if you bought shares), but also because of the shoddy service provided as the group seeks to please the shareholders. That's socialism for you.
UPDATE - 24/02/2002 - The UK's only postal service today announced that in a 'radical' plan to sort out their administration - losing £1.5 million a day - they intend to cut 40,000 jobs. I told you so.
UPDATE - 01/08/2002 - They're changing back!
*Although the chairman of the board has said he hates the name and wants to change it back.(Thanks ascorbic)
See also http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4357310,00.html for a masterful analysis of the situation.