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The colour of passports

Is this what it was all about?

Andrew Rossindell M.P: "it's a matter of identity, having the pink European passports has been a matter of national humiliation"

Now, leaving aside that my passport is a fetching shade of maroon, rather than pink (and that Rossindell's recoiling from that colour, imagined as it is, speaks to lengthy and expensive analysis required), and leaving aside the observation that I really don't understand why it matters what colour a passport holder is, given that it's the information inside which is important, and leaving even further aside the fact that we were already free to choose the colour of our passports (EU member Croatia's is a perfectly pleasant blue) I am forced to ask:

National humiliation?

Going cap in hand in the seventies to the IMF was a national humiliation. Our spiralling rates of child child poverty are a national humiliation. The fact that cancer survival rates in the UK are lower than most other comparable countries is a national humiliation. Hell, I'll even throw in losing to Iceland (though I'm aware that's a strictly English humiliation)in the euros if you like.

But the colour of my passport? I don't care. and I don't think Rossindell does, either. I think he just wants to be different from Europe. It doesn't matter how, or why, just that it happens. He's chosen passports.

Meanwhile, over in the Telegraph, Simon Heffer writes yearningly of bringing back imperial measures, to differentiate ourselves from the hated metric system of everyone else. Now, this strikes me as nothing more than exercise in nostalgia. In much the same way as the Brexiteers sneer "we won, get over it" I would respectfully point out that in the battle between metric and imperial, imperial lost quite a long time ago. Besides, we still have pints and we still have miles, can't you just enjoyy those Imperial relics Simon? And get on with your life?

Is this what it's been about? Bringing back things lost to the ages? Or is it a subconscious yearning for their own youth? I've never had a blue passport. I'm comfortable working in kilos. I'm also a lot younger than Rossindell and Heffer.

There are arguments made that that Brexit is symptomatic of a war between the generations. Broadly speaking the young broke against it, the odler in favour. Nothing is ever that simple, of course, and the idea of a war between the generations is as laughable as the idea of a competitive football league in Scotland. Celtic will win, the baby boomers already did.

But all this wistful harking back to the past is a dangerous basis on which to run a country, and this idea of exceptionalism, of things just being different for us Brits, is the sort of blinkered idiocy which leads inevitably to perpetual failure (I refer readers back to Gareth Southgate's bracing honesty about the England football team), we sail confidently on until we come up against someone more competent than us and then, bewildered, we fail.

Symptomatic of this is the frothing about Gibraltar. This reacting with confused indignation to a situation which was going to happen from the very second we voted out. The idea that the EU would act in favour of its members, not in favour of those who aren't, should not be a surprise. If it is a surprise, then you are remarkably dim.

It's okay though, because here comes Michael Howard. Invoking the Falklands: “Thirty-five years ago this week another woman Prime Minister sent a task force half way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country".

You're kidding, right? War? With Spain? do you know how many Brits live there? It'd be like going to war with Essex.

These dreams of Empire, this nostalgic sabre-rattling, this misty eyed harking back to mythical days of yore. Brexit seems little more than old white men wanting to be young again, refighting the battles of their youth, or at least early middle age. Is that what it was all about?


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