Passports – burgundy or blue?
Sir, – I am surprised that many of your letter-writers (December 28th, 29th) seem put out by the proposed change in colour of the British passport. We live in an age of supposed individual freedom. I can turn up for work in the morning wearing a pink frock and nobody would do anything more than blink twice. Recently British racing driver Lewis Hamilton had to offer his “deepest apologies” for mocking his nephew for wearing a dress, and so he should. If the UK wishes to change the colour of its passport to pink, beige and puce, then that is the business of the elected government of the UK.
After independence, we asserted our own national identity by changing the colour of our passports and postboxes, and it was a decision that didn’t obsess and perplex the people of Britain.
Recently I renewed my Irish passport. Unlike my old passport, almost every page is filled with romantic evocations of an Ireland that is long past. If it wasn’t considered slightly too twee, I am sure there would be drawing of freckled leprechauns. Our passport is now filled with pages that sketch a very narrow evocation of what it means to be Irish, a view that seems entirely sprung from the imagination of Eamon de Valera and the early Yeats. A view that ignores completely the heritage and culture of a large minority of the peoples on this island.
At least one can be certain, that whatever the colour of the new UK passport, it won’t be filled with Elgar, maypoles and Spitfires, unlike our passport, it won’t be used as a device to dog-whistle the population into a very narrow definition of what it is and means to be British. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Blue? Surely the Brexiteers can do better than that? Royal blue, surely? – Yours, etc,
A chara, – Lord Kilclooney has helpfully warned that after Brexit, Irish passport holders will be stuck in long, slow-moving lines at UK passport control. It is my pleasure to remind him that as the UK has agreed to maintain the Common Travel Area, it is highly unlikely that Irish travellers will have to undergo any immigration checks after flying between our two islands.
However, Lord Kilclooney neglects to mention that even if Ireland were to leave the EU, as he suggests, Irish citizens would still be barred from UK passport lanes – unless Ireland were to rejoin the UK.
Given the incompatibility of Ireland’s openness with the deepening insularity of the UK, and the treatment of small nations like Scotland and Northern Ireland after the Brexit vote, I think we can all agree that rejoining is not currently in Ireland’s interests.
I would also like to add that the best way for Irish citizens to avoid Brexit border delays is to simply skip Britain and connect through Paris or Amsterdam instead. – Is mise,