Off with her head? Not likely!
Arnold Machin’s iconic image of Queen Elizabeth II has graced every British postage stamp since 1967 and is believed to be the most reproduced image in history. Recently, it began appearing in British newspapers reporting fears that it was soon to disappear.
It appeared that if the government sold off Royal Mail as they are desperate to do, there was a danger that the queen’s head would no longer appear on stamps. To a certain type of English person (think Al Murray‘s pub landlord character), that would amount to someone defecating on everything it means to be English.
Luckily, the government stepped in and announced that they would be amending the postal services bill to ensure that Her Majesty’s likeness would forever remain on stamps. Hurrah!
This seems to me like the sort of governmental subterfuge perfected by Sir Humphrey Appleby. Create a false issue that will spark concern and protests and then resolve it, appearing to be patriotic heroes while hoping nobody notices that there’s something much bigger and more important going on.
Of all the possible concerns that our British cousins should have about the selling off of another national asset, it seems to me that what future stamps will look like should be near the bottom of the list. Issues like potential increases in costs and decreases in efficiency and accountability should probably rate higher. And I’m sure they do with most people. But you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers.
- Government admits Queen’s head could be lost from stamps (telegraph.co.uk)
- Queen’s head gets stamps safeguard (guardian.co.uk)
- Law to keep the Queen on stamps (thesun.co.uk)
- Queen’s head ‘will stay on stamps’ (mirror.co.uk)