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Dear Minister.

Dear Minister.

I’m in the process of renewing my passport but I am a total loss to understand or believe the hoops I am being asked to jump through. I should feel somehow privileged that the passport office is not on strike at the moment.  

How is it that Bert Smith of T.V. Rentals Ltd. Basingstoke has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a satellite dish from them back  in 1994, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was born and  on what date?

 How come that nice West African immigrant chappy who comes round every Thursday night with his DVD rentals van can tell me every film or video  I have had out since he started his business up eleven years ago, yet  you still want me to remind you of my last three jobs, two of which were with contractors working for the government?

 How come the T.V. detector van can tell if my T.V. is on, what channel I am watching and whether I have paid my licence or not, and yet if I win  the government run lottery they have no idea I have won or where I am  and will keep the bloody money to themselves if I fail to claim in good time.

 Do you people do this by hand?  Don’t even get me started on all the information you have clearly lost that has my name, address, date of birth, family members or bank details on it.

You have my birth date on numerous files you hold on me, including the one with all the income tax forms I’ve filed for the past 30-odd years.  It’s on my health insurance card, my driver’s licence, on the last four  passports I’ve had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I’ve  had to fill out before being allowed off the planes and boats over the  last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done  every ten years and the electoral registration forms I have to complete, by law, every time our lords and masters are up for re-election.

 Would somebody please take note, once and for all, I was born in  Maidenhead on the 4th of March 1957, my mother’s name is Mary, her  maiden name was Reynolds, my father’s name is Robert, and I’d be  absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and the day I die!

 I apologise Minister. I’m obviously not myself this morning.  But between  you and me, I have simply had enough!  You mail the application to my  house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? Do you have a  gang of Neanderthals working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don’t want to activate the Fifth Reich for God’s sake!  I just want to go and park my weary backside on a sunny, sandy beach for  a couple of week’s well-earned rest away from all this crap. I believe I have earnt it.

 Well, I have to go now, because I have to go to back to Salisbury and  get another copy of my birth certificate because you lost the last one.  AND to the tune of 60 quid! What a racket THAT is!! Would it be so  complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day? But nooooo, that’d be too damn  easy and maybe make sense. You’d rather have us running all over the  place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some tosser to  confirm that it’s really me on the goddamn picture – you know… the one  where we’re not allowed to smile in in case we look as if we are  enjoying the process!  Hey, you know why we can’t smile? ‘Cause we’re totally jacked off!

 I served in the armed forces for more than 25 years including over ten years at the Ministry of Defence in London. I have had security  clearances which allowed me to sit in the Cabinet Office, five seats  away from the Prime Minister while he was being briefed on the first Gulf War and I have been doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross  ever since I left the Services. However, I have to get someone  ‘important’ to verify who I am   —  you know, someone like my doctor…   who, before he got his medical degree 6 months ago was living in Pakistan… Perhaps you would prefer if I duplicated the last paragraph six or seven times to save me the trouble later.

 Yours sincerely,

 An Irate British Citizen.

(The names are, of course, made up and any resemblance is purely accidental)


5 Responses

  1. Oh yes. Classic and so very very very true in every word.

  2. Oh yes! Definitely!!!!! How nice to get that off our collective chest and thank you for doing it as it has probably done my blood pressure a favour.

  3. Think yourself lucky that your mother wasn’t born on a British airbase in Germany in the early 1950s. That plays merry hell on your first passport application. And do be sure that if you aren’t wearing a burka for your passport photo that you have moved your hair out of your eye, your head is dead straight and you aren’t wearing even the slightest hint of a smile because if you are then the application will be winging its way back to you before you can say ‘incompetant’.

  4. Happy birthday!

  5. Vicola
    “Think yourself lucky that your mother wasn’t born on a British airbase in Germany in the early 1950s.”
    My son was born in the BMH Hong Kong. He then joined up himself in the late 70’s. He had a British passport which ran out. He missed the change in the passport regulations because he was on active duty in Northern Ireland. When he did apply for a renewal he was refused. Under the new regs he was no longer classed as British! Thankfully his Mother was Southern Irish. He got one of theirs, no problem. Left the Army and moved to Dublin !!!

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