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  • 07Aug

    Royal Mail’s Second Class Paralympian Plans? Not Quite…

    Sometimes you read something which seems so ridiculous, you assume someone has made a mistake. Like today, when I read tweets complaining that the Royal Mail, who are currently riding high on Olympic glory by publishing a stamp for each gold medallist, are not planning to do the same for Paralympians who get golds. I recalled they would get one from the news but it appears that the detail was indeed overlooked.

    Olympic medallists are getting a stamp each made by Royal Mail. Paralympians? Not so much. According to their own website, Royal Mail say they will be getting a half dozen group shots for whoever gets gold at the Paralympics. That’s it… a few group shots. Are they not as worthy Royal Mail? Equality? I don’t think so. Appears more like a second class policy. BUT, there is a clause, Paralympians won 42 Gold Medal’s in Beijing and the British Paralympic Association say they are happy with the arrangement. (Saying they are just ‘too good’ – touche!)

    So why doesn’t the PR mention this? How could they seem to get this so wrong?! Paralympian gold medallists will deserve no less acclaim than their Olympic colleagues. Surely there was a more equitable policy?  It’s appearing as a rather unpleasant own goal in the P-R-lympics for a company getting a lot of brand dropping from the gold winners press so far.

    Much of the publicity seems to have been generated by a (rightly) unhappy tweeter from South Wales

      who has been heavily retweeted on the subject. He started with a message which said they wouldn’t get stamps (technically almost correct) and has spent most of today clarifying that they won’t get individual ones. To be fair he didn’t expect to get so massively retweeted, and he has clarified with appropriate links and also said “Lets be clear about this. Olympian golds get a stamp to themselves. Paralympians get a group stamp. That is not equality.“. Well done John for bringing this to everyone’s attention.
    If like John, me and many other people you think that such a policy would be appear discriminatory and just smell wrong, please do drop them a friendly tweet or email and let them know they need to clarify! They are on twitter 

    and the contact details for email can be found on their statement (linked above).

    I have emailed them my simple message:

    “Why is Royal Mail only planning to credit the Paralympian gold winners with a group shot, when currently you are issuing individual stamps for Olympic gold medallists? They may be first class stamps, but this feels like second class treatment.”

    Just not good enough.


    Currently ranting on Twitter

    *Just to be clear, they are not saying they will be second class stamps – the heading is a pun on the story. It’s about how they are recognising the same achievement differently.

Discussion 14 Responses

  1. August 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I am saddened by this but not terribly surprised. It is almost impossible to find tv coverage of it in the US and to the best of my knowledge our Postal Service has never issued a Paralympic stamp of any kind. As a person who uses a wheelchair daily I find deeply hurtful that athletes with extra challenges seem to be told that their accomplishments are somehow less worthy of note because if impairment.

  2. August 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    The irony is that the policy is apparently because they are just TOO good, rather than not recognised. They can’t accomodate all the golds that Team GB will win in the Paralympics. It does beg the question though why they would then choose to do it for the other Olympians. Rather than having a less prominant alternative for atheletes with disabilities they could have taken the opportunity to use their excellence to set the standard.

  3. August 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Writer's Desk and commented:
    I sent the Royal Mail an email with my two cents. I’ll let you know if someone answes.

  4. August 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Royal Mail – three little words Get It Sorted!

  5. August 8, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I think it is rather unfair to single out the Royal Mail in this way. The Paralympics will not get anything like the amount of coverage of the Olympics on TV, in the press or in the world of commerce.

    However politically incorrect it is to say it (and I write as the son of a disabled father) far less people, in Britain and across the world, are interested in the Paralympics. Even my father takes little interest in it. It is not for the Royal Mail to produce individual stamps just because people SHOULD be interested. They have to take public demand into consideration.

    • August 8, 2012 at 7:11 am

      I do see where you’re coming from James, especially as there will be many companies sponsoring one more than the other. At the same time though, by producing these stamps Royal Mail are choosing to take a a big part in the national dialogue on celebrating sporting success. They are not the only voice and I think it’s a valuable thing that so many people have been questioning the principles of rewarding disabled and non disabled people differently. The dialogue is everyone’s to share and shape and contribute to. Being a sponsor doesn’t mean people can’t question if the way that sponsorship is structured if it reflects a broader issue.

    • August 8, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Plus I did include the fact that the BPA approved it – I’m just saying that I disagree in principle with it.

  6. August 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    […] Inadifferentvoice is unhappy with Royal Mail’s decision and has written to them […]

  7. August 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Hi and thanks for your supportive article. I guess you will have checked the link you’ve included to the Royal Mail web site. If you follow that link today (8 August) you may notice a difference. I have sent this email to Tim Cowen at Royal Mail:

    “Dear Mr Cowen

    “I have read, with interest, the press release currently on your web site at http://www.royalmailgroup.com/paralympics-stamps. May I ask whether the date at the top is an error? 6 August was, of course, 2 days ago.

    “The release links to a statement on the BPA website which, according to the BPA News section, was posted 1 day ago.

    “If it’s a genuine error, perhaps you could change the “6” to a “7” or maybe “8”

    “All the best

    John Kingdon”

  8. August 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    […] The Inadifferentvoice blog […]

  9. August 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! Shared very similar sentiments in my own blog yesterday – if you’d like to see my little rant http://www.steveallman.co.uk/royal-mail-paralympic-stamps/

  10. August 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

    paralympics is also being hosted on a different channel which is much smaller and has less public views so much to olympics being about ‘equality’ what kind of a lesson is this teaching children most children have celebrated olympics at school and not done one thing about paralympics.

  11. August 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    […] this recognition to Paralympians, choosing instead to opt for cheaper, less glorified group shots. The post is here (if you pardon the pun). It had been a hot topic on Twitter that day, and continued to be […]

  12. November 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    […] this recognition to Paralympians, choosing instead to opt for cheaper, less glorified group shots. The post is here (if you pardon the pun). It had been a hot topic on Twitter that day, and continued to be […]

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