Royal Mail bureaucrats have banned several historic seaside postcard cartoons from appearing on a special compilation of collectors’ stamps because they poke fun at Hitler, Hermann Goering, and The Kaiser and were considered anti-German.
Bamforth's, the saucy postcard company which created the special collection of ten limited edition stamps to mark its 140th birthday, says that the censors rejected seven because they were deemed to be offensive to Germans.
Those that fell at the first hurdle and were rejected by Royal Mail officials included five images featuring scantily clad ladies or bawdy jokes. One (opposite, swastikas removed) showed Hitler poking his head out of a dustbin to ask: "Have those naughty bombers gone, Herman?" while Goering cowers in another bin with a medal stuck to his backside. Managing Director Ian Wallace said: "We airbrushed the swastikas and they still turned it down. The official at the Royal Mail's offices in Edinburgh told me: 'You can't have this one either because it's anti-Germanic' to which I replied: 'Of course, it's anti-Germanic - there was a bloody war on! Are we supposed to airbrush out two world wars as well'?"
Of the ten postcards which would have been available, only three were passed by the censors, so Bamforth's has taken the decision not to go ahead with the collection because of the limited choice available following the ban.
Philip Parker, Head of Stamp Strategy at Royal Mail, said: "We have very clear guidelines and policies on what is acceptable for reproduction on this product range, and reserve the right to decline to print a customised sheet if we believe the content could be perceived as inappropriate or incompatible with our stamps."
Bamforth's protested to David Cameron about the ban and Mike Whitehead, Shareholder Executive with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skill, replied on his behalf saying: "Royal Mail has a number of restrictions on images which can be used in business customised sheets. These restrictions are issues like offensive material of a sexual nature or the stereotyping of particular groups like women or racial minorities."
Mr Wallace added: "At the moment, it is a stalemate - but we are not giving in."