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Honouring our Iraq dead

August 09, 2007

Today, I received a further refusal by the Governement to proactively support the issue of stamps to commemorate our Armed Forces.  The stamp would be based on the work "Queen and Country" by the war artist Steve McQueen, which shows the portraits of 98 of those who have fallen in Iraq. If that cannot be done on veterans day—for understandable reasons, because the day is designed as a celebration of the work and sacrifices of soldiers—why can we not have a commemorative stamp on Remembrance day to remind us of the true cost of war?

In response to a letter written after a parliamentary question, I received this response from Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence. The MoD believe it would be "inappropriate" for the Government to involve itself in the matter. Responsibility should lie with the commissioning bodies and the Post Office. However it is the wish of the artist and many of the relatives of the soldiers who died that a commemorative stamp should be issued using the work of war artist Steve McQueen. That would be appropriate, not only because it is a strong and powerful work of art but because it would be reminder to us all of the true cost of war.

I tabled this EDM in June,

"When can we debate early-day motion 1690 about the refusal yesterday by the Government to support a proposal to have a commemorative stamp on veterans day to mark the sacrifices of those who have been lost in Iraq?

[That this House notes the Government's refusal to support the proposal to issue commemorative stamps displaying the work of war artist Stephen McQueen on Veterans' Day, because that day's events are celebratory; and believes that the work, Queen and Country, which depicts photographs of 98 British soldiers killed in Iraq, printed in a stamp format, should be used for a commemorative issue on Rememberance Day to respect the wishes of the artist and the loved ones of the fallen soldiers and to provide a powerful reminder of the true cost of war."