Saturday, 1 January 2011

Off With Her Head?

As a collector of postage stamps I have always liked subjects like history and geography, but not normally interested or too bothered by politics. I usually switch off the TV (or over) when these little kids we call MPs are supposedly earning their ill gotten inflated expenses by having a debate in the commons. I am getting off the point with this (do not get me started), I hate politics), lets get back to the main subject.

By switching off or over the TV (or going to the pub) I missed this little gem of an argument entitled Should the Queen Lose Her Head.

Lately I have I have been hearing and reading all sorts of rumours that if (when) Royal Mail sell off part of its Postal business, GB stamps may lose the profile of the Queens Head. My initial thought was "What no more Machins?? My second thought, I doubt it very much .

In 2011, as I have already informed you, there are at least 10 Machins to look forward to over the next 3 months or so. However what will happen in the distant future has been much debated . Here are some of the reports that I have come across.

One such extract reads "No explicit guarantee that tradition of showing monarch’s head in profile would remain if Royal Mail sold." Another that I have read says "The coalition is looking for a way to ensure that the Queen’s head is not removed from stamps if the Royal Mail is sold to a foreign buyer."

Left is an image one such Queen that actually did lose her head by interfering politicians and Royal warrant, I can just about see the tattoo under her pearls ---- cut here----. In case you do not recognise her it is the second wife of Henry VIII - Anne Boleyn.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots suffered the same fate in Elizabethan times.

Back to the serious stuff : (Not that by having your head chopped off is not serious :-)

Business secretary Vince Cable before he dropped his rick over the Rupert Murdoch caper is reported as saying .

"Since the “penny black” went on sale in 1840, every British stamp has borne the profile of the reigning monarch. However, the government is now in talks with Buckingham palace after it was pointed out that there is no explicit guarantee that the tradition would continue if the Royal Mail is sold."

Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Cable said: “We have thought very hard about how we protect the brand – the Royal Family. There is provision within the legislation to stop the abuse of it,” he said. “But now it has been pointed out that there’s nothing specifically to stop whoever runs the Royal Mail in future dropping the Royal Head. “I think it is unlikely they would, because it is a very powerful brand, but we will talk to the palace about whether any further changes need to be made.”

The shadow business secretary, John Denham, has accused the coalition of deliberately leaving a “glaring loophole” over Queen Elizabeth’s famous profile. The Labour MP said: “The fact that they haven’t bothered to protect the monarch’s head on our stamps just shows how desperate they are to sell Royal Mail off as quickly and for as much cash as possible.”

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat minister in charge of postal services, said "he had asked why there was no explicit protection for the image" but was told that dropping it would be “commercial suicide”.

In one paper Davey is reported as saying “I was told we did not need it but I said several months ago I was not happy with that,” . The minister indicated that he had raised the question with Buckingham palace and was discussing how the terms of the sale could be tightened. “I’m extremely confident that the Queen’s head will remain on our stamps.”

It has been reported that Davey has also said “Quite apart from the law, any company would be absolutely stark staring mad to remove it.”

Graham Smith (obviously not a stamp collector and seemingly against anything Royal) said: “They shouldn't be running off to consult the palace about this, in our democratic country. The post is a nationalised business which belongs to us. It shouldn't’ be called the Royal Mail. Australia has taken the Queen’s head off its stamps and such things all go to create a more civic and republican outlook.”

If this topic is of interest to you Read what Martin Wainwright reported in the Gardian on 19th December 2010


Anonymous said...

Another interesting query is whether any private owner of the mail will feel at all obliged to continue to honour existing post- 1971 mint stamps for postage. Many collectors hold a large number and have usually reassured themselves that, if the worst came to the worst, they could always uses their collection for postage. My guess is that it might be like the 1971 decimilisation scenario where the pre decimal stamps were honoured for, I think, one year only.

GBStamps said...

Looks like Royal Mail is still working on keeping her head on.

See the article here.

(I couldn't find an article in the recent Daily Mail, so perhaps this refers to an article from a little while ago.)


Ian - Norvic said...

How ironic to typo the title of the newspaper - it's the Guardian, with a 'u'!