Philately & Politics 

UK Stamps

No one, it seems, who watched the recent ITV drama ‘Mr Bates v The Post Office’ could fail to be moved by the plight of the sub postmasters featured. The outpouring of public rage against the perpetrators was quite unexpected. This quickly turned itself into focused anger as a petition was started demanding that Paula Vennells be stripped of her C.B.E.

In the end over 1.2 million people added their signature to the petition, and faced with that public pressure she handed back her C.B.E.

The angry public, however, are still looking for justice and have now started asking the question, who else was involved? Various political names have been embroiled in this scandal including Ed Davey, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Sir Kier Starmer, who was Director of Public Prosecutions during a large part of this scandal. His defence is that he had no ideas the office of the DPP were prosecuting sub postmasters as it was a tiny number in a sea of prosecutions. Subsequently, this has also turned out to be incorrect.

The key point here is that over the past 25 years we have been governed successively by Labour and Conservatives governments and none of them should escape this scandal unscathed.

So, anyone thinking of voting Labour or Conservative should remember this outrage. It happened on their watch and despite their best protestations, the public are now demanding answers. After all, they were supposed to be working for us, not against us.

What this sorry episode demonstrates is that there are inherent dangers in entrusting your life to technology. We need good governance for when tech fails, as it inevitably will. For this reason we should be wary of how we choose to embed technology in our everyday lives, including CBDC’s, AI and Digital ID’s. This is not to say that we should rail against them, simply that if we are to adopt new technology, we need to understand what we should watch for to identify when it’s going wrong, as history tells us that inevitably it will.

Another point that struck me whilst watching the drama and the subsequent public outrage is that we are a nation of proud people with a keen sense of injustice. We may be four nations with slight differences, but we are one people.

The drama struck home quite hard in our household as I am married to a man who’s hobby is stamp collecting. As a philatelist, he has been aware of this scandal for many years and together, we saw Nick Wallis in 2022 as he toured the U.K. raising awareness of this issue through his book ‘The Great Post Office Scandal”. So, when I asked my stamp collector to find me an image for this blog he chose stamps from each of the nations that make up the United Kingdom. As you can see, they all have their differences, but in essence, they are one. One United Kingdom.