No doubt you have watched the shocking story Mr Bates vs the Post Office depicted, magnificently, by Toby Jones and Julie Hesmondhalgh, who thankfully managed to avoid being typecast as Roy Cropper’s transsexual wife.

The scandal, for that’s what it is, was depicted so powerfully and to popular acclaim, as those of my ilk remember it, and all the way through I could not help thinking: Why did the establishment not search for justice at the time? Did they think these people, tenacious buggers that they are, were going to roll over?

Many lost their homes, their dignity, their mental health, future career prospects and in some cases, their lives. In any other sphere of life, should your actions knowingly made, have caused others to lose their mortality, then arguably you would be up on a manslaughter charge or 20 years as there is little argument as to how the Post Office's upper brass actions, along with Fujitsu, contributed exponentially to loss of life.

But the Post Office scandal is at another level and is the prime case of a bully boy, publicly funded gargantuan, employing men and women who, knowing the wrong and harm they were inflicting, continued hell-bent on the destruction of, as Toby Jones said ‘the little guys’.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis says the Post Office scandal caused loss of lifeBrett Ellis says the Post Office scandal caused loss of life

And so now, with guilt and contrition not evident, we have a government attempting to put a damp tea towel on a house fire by their ‘quick actions’, which should involve immediate quashing of convictions of every single last one of the Horizon victims, before huge pay-outs covering loss of earnings and compensation are paid, in weeks not years.

So arguably, the next scandal will be the ‘cover-up’ of those culpable in this case. Post Office CEO from 2012 until 2019, Paula Vennells, now masquerading as a woman of the cloth has, due to public pressure, reluctantly given back her CBE.

Former chairman, Tim Parker, who backed Vennells despite knowing the true state of play resigned in 2022, no doubt on a fat pension which should now be rescinded and donated to the victims of a situation that he was privy to and complicit in.

Ed Davey, Lib Dem leader has also dirtied his hands. He served as postal affairs minister between May 2010 and February 2012 and informed Mr Bates that a proposed meeting would ‘not serve a purpose’ and declined to converse face to face.

Yes, as scandals go, they rarely get much bigger or have the longevity of this one and now, having reached critical mass, the next step is rectification and punishment, which is where, once again, another scandal is looming on the horizon as we override the quick fixes in place of prolonging death by a thousand paper cuts.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.