Sunday, 25 March 2018

Passport Control

There's been a lot of fuss about passports recently. What colour should they be and where should they be printed. So I got out one of my old pre-EU "Blue" ones.

This one was issued by the Liverpool passport office in 1985.  If you look closely you'll see that our old blue passports weren't blue at all - they were definitely black!

Another difference from the passports of today (but perhaps not tomorrow) was the superb collection of visas and entry / exit stamps you could build-up as you travelled around Europe in those days before freedom of movement.
I got this little lot just by crossing from one part of Germany to another in 1988

Of course the down side was having to queue up at every border crossing, often having to explain yourself to immigration officers as to where you were going and why as you went along. (This could happen at entry into ostensibly "friendly" countries such as The Netherlands and Portugal).

Some people are (allegedly) excited by the propspect of the UK issuing "blue" passports again after brexit, but as I remember it the fuss about us adopting EU passports in the first place wasn't mainly about the colour. Under EU regulations we could have had them any colour we wanted - it was the government of the day that chose to make them "Burgundy" (ahem!).

No, the issue was more with the size (UK-only passports were a very British 6" x 4"; EU ones smaller and no doubt some ghastly metric size) and the feel of them - British ones were made of stiff (upper-lip) card whilst EU ones were made of floppy continental-style plastic with no backbone - just like the new UK ones will be! 

I think it's great they'll be printed in France too. That's what "taking back control" is all about

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