Tuesday 26 December 2017
Christmas news nadir
Traditionally our silly season for news is August, when nothing much newsworthy is thought to be happening and so the pages and news channels are filled with all sorts of nonsense. Maybe even "fake" news.
One lead story this Christmas has given August a close run for its title..
The announcement that, once we have left the EU our former blue British passport will be restored to its former glory was hailed by the Brexiteers as a stupendous achievement.
However, the small print indicates the move to be petty and pointless.
Our new passport will not have the hard covers of the pre-EU one, will be the same size as the current burgundy red one, have the same floppy covers, and contain the same gadgetry which enables it to be "read" by the machines used almost universally by immigration officials. And, shock horror, it may may be in a different shade of blue.
To cap it all there never was any EU regulation that insisted we have a burgundy red cover: we could have had any colour we liked.
True progress would be to move towards such a level of international harmony and confidence that passports could be abolished completely, and, in the words of Labour's great post-war Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, we could ". . .buy a ticket at Victoria station and go where the bloody hell [we] liked"
Members of the Schengen Agreement have made significant steps towards this, but Britain has been too timid to join.
This "achievement" by the Brexiteers is a petty and insignificant symbolic move in the wrong direction. In practice it will [probably lead to holders of the new document being placed in an even slower lane at passport control stations.
Weekly we are driven to wonder if our politics can get any more childish.