Friday, 22 December 2017

Post-fact blues

"'Iconic' blue British passport to return after Brexit" says the BBC headline.

Desperate to salvage the tiniest scrap of anything that smells like good news from the wreckage of their shambolic project, Brexiteers are hailing this trivial change to the colour of a travel document as if it was the arrival of the Messiah come to bring peace on Earth and goodwill to all. "Hark!" the herald Nigel sings "Happy Brexmas! ... In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back. Now we've got them back!"

What this headline (along with all the others) doesn't make clear is the small, but very important, fact that the UK could easily have done this symbolic makeover without leaving the EU:
...the most headdesk thing about the whole “we want our passports back” discussion is that there’s no EU requirement to adopt burgundy passports. It’s a voluntary guideline which member states are free to ignore. Croatia, for example, has retained its existing dark blue passports. It would have been completely possible and legal for David Cameron ahead of the Brexit referendum to say “we understand patriotic feelings yada yada yada, so whatever the result of the vote is, passports will be dark blue from 2020”.
All I want for Christmas is a public broadcaster that doesn't mindlessly recycle fact-free delusions with the solemnity of an exceptionally pious cleric reciting the Gospels. But it looks as if I've got more chance of finding a live unicorn that shits rainbows under the Christmas tree this year.

Update - kudos to Lizzie Dearden at the Independent for putting the record straight:
Blue passports could have been re-introduced without Brexit, Government admits
And for balance, here are some of my favourite reactions to this unnecessary and unimpressive piece of window dressing from the end of Lizzie's article:
...Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, commented: “A new passport that make holidays more expensive, limits where people can work or study & costs billions.”

Many British passport holders born after 1988 took to social media to point out that they never owned the old passport.

“Couldn’t give a toss what colour my passport is,” said actor Samuel West. “Care much more about losing the right to live and work in 26 countries.”


Anonymous said...

I dont usually do comments but having just watched an apology for a poltical commentator blame Jeremy corbyn and the Labour Party for the blackout on reporting Mr Corbyns Peace Award I would like to thank you for perfectly encapsulating my opinion of the Biased Broadcastinf Company in such a literate manner.My own had words with less than 5 letters

Merry Christmas

Andrew King said...

As you'll see from the update to my post, it's not that the mainstream media never get it right. But an agenda-setting public broadcaster really should be doing better. It's also depressing to see which versions of reality have the greatest reach in the most widely-used news aggregator. The "most referenced" headline on this topic as I write is the S*n's lame boast "UK to get its iconic dark blue passport back in stunning Brexit victory for The S*n."

Andrew King said...

..."the most widely used news aggregator" being Google News, as I should have made clear in my last comment...

Anonymous said...

I think you must be full of the Christmas spirit to let the MSM off so lightly.I already knew about the passport debacle from one of the blogs I read but down the pub last night I was the only one who did.As far as I know thats the only reference in the MSM.More germane perhaps is an article I read which argued that remainers were completely unaware of or dismissive of something which has a totemic importance to the leavers.We all invest too much in things we rationally know to be of little real import.I will be dragging myself to the City Ground on Boxing Day to watch the faded glory of my team caring far too much about the result.

Happy Solstis