Strictly for our amusement?

So Ramps is going dancing. I had a chat with him the other day which you can read at Cricinfo. Should be fun to watch; he’s pretty down-to-earth about the whole thing. I wonder if Gough will be watching…

Meanwhile, I’m in Devon – but it’s been a day to forget….

The passport dictators in Victoria gave me more cause to shout, vent and slam doors for the second day running. I’ve never experienced such low standards of public service, or been treated with such disregard for my nationality. It was alarming and depressing. Clearly – of COURSE – the passport and ID system is open to abuse and, despite the mess our government is in, a passport with Great Britain on the front (or United Kingdom of Great Britain) is a golden ticket for the rest of the world.


The majority are once again being crimped by the state because of, and in some cases for, the minority. I was disgusted at the service received and find it genuinely astounding how robotic the public sector can be; to them, we are nothing more than numbers. We’re herded in like sheep, branded with an iron (labour red) if we’re lucky and sent out to pastures ungreen. They don’t make any concessions, or exceptions. Everything goes by the pathetic rules which are surely dreamed up by someone on a mixture of crack, speed and catnip.

You must arrive at this time (fine)

You must fill out the form correctly (fine)

When signing the form you must not enter the orange box (fine, but 2mm over? Is that REALLY cause to invalidate my application?)

You must spend £77.50 to get a new one (gits. Not fine)

If you make a mistake and invalidate your form, you will not be allowed to a) touch it, b) look at it again or c) amend it

You must not make any additions to the form during the interview! NONE!

You should not (I learned) ask any questions. Out of my own bored curiosity, I asked her when my lost passport would have expired. I assumed it was very soon, and expected her to tap a few keys and tell me. She eyed me with the same caution Gordon Brown might if Cherie Blair said “You’re going to make a wonderful prime minister, Gordy”. Thereafter I was treated like a potential criminal. She was wary of me and immediately took issue with my friend’s countersignature. “It’s different writing,” she claimed. It wasn’t…she wrote the form out in one fell swoop in a matter of minutes. The clerk obviously felt she’d struck gold – perhaps she gets a gold badge for spotting the unscrupulous, or is let off work three minutes early – and told me she would have to ring me friend. I was fairly angry at this stage, and told her in no uncertain terms that she could do what she damned well liked. Anyway, thankfully my friend wasn’t ignoring her phone and the issue was cleared up.

And yes, you’re thinking “calm down, Will, it’s only a passport.” But no, I won’t – I am a British citizen and it’s my right to own one, and I will not be made to feel like a foreigner or a trespasser. Christ, I left the building and felt like celebrating; oh happy days, I’ve been allowed a passport! What on earth is going on?

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