The Blair administration, suddenly sensitive to the public mood in the run-up to a UK general election on May 5, pledged Wednesday that if re-elected it will not privatise the nation's venerable postal operator, the Royal Mail.

That possibility has led to much debate and speculation over recent months and the government's statement was unexpected. However, given the widespread lack of trust in the veracity of premier Tony Blair, his 'no-privatisation' promise could well lead to the forming of jostling mobs outside stockbrokers' offices.

According to the New Labour manifesto: "[We want] to see a publicly owned Royal Mail fully restored to good health, providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment."

Which, of course, promises nothing and commits to even less.

The Post Office's part-time chairman, Allan Leighton - a serial company director, former boss of Wal-Mart's UK supermarket business Asda, and member of the New Labour business guru cadre - is understood to be broadly in favour of part-privatisation of the Royal Mail.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff