So the UK will be introducing blue passports in October 2019. I would be willing to bet pretty much anything that suddenly a vast number of citizens of the UK (United Kingdonians?) who never thought they gave a damn about passport colour, suddenly do. The shame of a brexit blue passport is going to be a thing, people, you read it here first!
I know I feel it already.
We can’t pretend that the UK’s influence in, and on, the world has always been benign. Hell, benign would have been a whole lot better than some of our darker periods of influence and domination. But the modern UK hasn’t been a bad place to say you’re from when exploring the world. There was pretty much no shame in brandishing a small burgundy passport with a unicorn and lion on the cover.
My maternal grandparents came to the UK during the second world, fleeing Nazi Germany. Because of this I have always had a positive story to tell myself about Britain, the country that literally saved my family and gave us a chance to flourish, in peace and prosperity. Suddenly I find myself practically begging Germany for a passport, along with thousands of other Brits looking for a way to remain in the EU.
I got my first passport in 1990ish. It was a European burgundy. Before that I was on my mum’s passport. Even aged ten I was pretty sure that my burgundy was better than my parents’ black ones. It felt modern and light compared to their clunky big old things. And then in the mid ’90s my parents began taking us on road trips across Europe. We were all so excited as borders disappeared and we could just drive on through countries without stopping. Wow, what a modern, exciting new world we were discovering together.
So yeah. Blue passports.
Since brexit became a thing I have been through a number of EU international terminals and every time I felt a lump in my throat at seeing that EU nationals sign at passport control. I can not get my head around the idea that in a couple of years time we will no longer be permitted to follow that path but will have to stand and queue with every other non European. How will I suddenly not be a European? How is it possible that one of the most developed countries on earth can think it’s fine to revoke our citizenship and identity because of internal political struggles in the Tory party?
Obviously this isn’t a simple situation in which we find ourselves. I do appreciate that the feelings of alienation and frustration of brexiteers are real and while I feel at home in a united Europe, they may feel excluded and scared BUT THAT IS NOT A REASON TO REVOKE BELONGING (angry caps entirely intentional, quite frankly the whole article should be written in angry caps).
I already feel ashamed of my country, its crappy politics and brexit, but at least if I keep my mouth shut people don’t know where I’m from! Once we are forced to take blue passports it’ll feel like a badge of shame every time I have to brandish it to gain entry anywhere.
So I’ll have to find a way to rise above this. I do not want to be the sort of person who gives a flying fuck about passport colour, yet to me, that burgundy stands for freedom of movement, modernisation and looking forward. I want that. (I also want an EU that has a decent policy for refugees and a UK that understands its rights within the EU but hey ho). I am teaching my children about the beauty of other cultures, that racism is always unacceptable and that unity is great yet our government seems to want the next generation to grow up isolated, petty and disdainful of those less fortunate than themselves. Not a message I can allow for my children.
Oh, the shame of a brexit blue passport yet to come! I wonder if there will be a flurry of people claiming to have lost their passports in the summer of 2019 to get new ones before the change.
I know, I’ll move to Mexico, with all the expats from the USA fleeing their own crappy politics. That might make me feel less ashamed.