Made in France

In 1988 the British government decided that Britain’s blue passport should be replaced with a red one, to signify Britain’s membership of the EU. This was a voluntary, and expensive, change not one required by the EU. Croatia retained its blue passport after joining.

Now as Britain prepares to leave the EU, the government has decided to restore the blue passport. Again, this is a voluntary decision. The only necessary change is to remove wording that refers to the EU. The colour of the passport matters only to those wanting a relic of Britain’s lost glory days, terrorists targeting British nationals, and Immigration staff who need to distinguish between natives and foreigners. A distinction not made by the makers of the passport.

Gemalto, a French-Dutch, company has won the £490 million contract to produce the iconic symbol of British independence.  Supporters of Brexit may justifiably argue that this shows the stupidity of EU procurement laws, the same laws that allow foreign railways to subside their domestic operations with money from the British taxpayer. It also shows the stupidity of the prevailing mentality to always accept the cheapest quote, without considering the consequences.

The main consequence here, apart from the increase in the national debt, is the loss of 600 jobs in Gateshead, where the current passport is made. One of many towns that voted to leave the EU, due partly to concerns about unemployment and immigration.

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