Passport to Amnesia

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The Independent Online

The capacity of Little Britishers to fight hardest to preserve even the most recently-invented symbols of their nationhood never ceases to surprise. After inflation and common sense did for the halfpenny, the threepenny bit, the sixpence, the half-crown and the 10-shilling note, the Europhobes are now campaigning to defend the despised decimal currency against the euro.

The capacity of Little Britishers to fight hardest to preserve even the most recently-invented symbols of their nationhood never ceases to surprise. After inflation and common sense did for the halfpenny, the threepenny bit, the sixpence, the half-crown and the 10-shilling note, the Europhobes are now campaigning to defend the despised decimal currency against the euro.

Now, no sooner has the burgundy softback passport with "European Union" emblazoned across the top displaced the Britannic navy hardback than suddenly the new-fangled version is being defended with the same vigour as if Henry V had carried the thing under his chainmail to Agincourt.

A mere six years ago, Lord Tebbit was railing against the "disgusting floppy Euro-passport". Yesterday, the readers of The Mail on Sunday were being urged to cut out a pre-printed protest letter and send it to the Foreign Secretary, calling on Robin Cook to save our very same "distinctive British passport".

How long will it be before we see William Hague appearing on the back of a flatbed lorry, condemning the latest plan from the European Commission to replace the proud British birthright of a passport carrying 12 yellow stars on its cover?

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