How will the Passport Office cope if we vote for Brexit?

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Saturday 28 May 2016 15:45
One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK
One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK

I have read and heard much talk from both the Leave and Remain campaigns, but neither has pointed out the simple fact that if Britain votes to leave the EU we will all have to apply for new passports.

Given the backlog of passport applications that already exist at HM Passport Offices, one wonders how they will cope when 42 million passport holders apply to exchange their EU passports for UK-only.

Mick Hall

It may seem a little over-dramatic to suggest that if, on 24 June, I wake up to a Remain victory then I will no longer be British but European. But there is an adjustment to be made, and that is as good a time as any to make it.

We can’t go on forever complaining that we’re not allowed to favour "our own people" in jobs and housing. If we now fail to change our political reality then we must instead change our sense of who we are. We need to resolve our identity dysphoria one way or the other.

This would be unfortunate for the poorer of the formerly-British, for who then will feel any particular responsibility towards them? We have so far helped by subsidising them in work that can’t otherwise generate a viable income. But what is the point of our continually trying to mop up unemployment when the labour taps are open and the European sink is overflowing?

Once we are all Europeans we can tell the unemployed to get on their bikes, or onto the Eurostar, to find a job, or a cheaper place to be jobless, in another part of our European homeland.

Everyone who matters will be happy. Conservative businessmen can import new workers to keep their profits up. Labour politicians and trade union leaders can import new voters to keep them in well paid jobs.

John Riseley

Any chance of Michael Gove providing examples of the EU as a constraint on 1) ministers' ability to do things they were elected to do, or 2) using their judgement about the right course of action for the people of this country?

Should be illuminating.

Brian Phillips

It is unfortunate that, as part of the Brexit debate, you repeat the myth that leaving the EU would prevent workers from coming to the UK, which would indeed be bad for many parts of the economy, especially the NHS.

But there would, in fact, be nothing to stop the UK allowing or even encouraging immigrants. The difference is that we could decide the basis on which they came, and where from, opening up the available pool rather than being forced to accept anyone from EU countries.

Mike Margetts

Universal benefits are not the answer to disadvantage

An education charity, the Sutton Trust, says that those from deprived backgrounds are still far less likely to get to university in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, with the rich four times more likely to go to university in Scotland than the poor.

Once again we see that universal benefits, in this case free tuition, are not a miracle cure. Overcoming the attainment gap is a complex and difficult task, not least because, at its core, you are trying to address the effects of poverty, which has proven to be a huge challenge for any government, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum.

In Scotland, the SNP has thrown its lot in with universal benefits in many areas where progressive-sounding initiatives might actually take funding away from those who need it most. By favouring the majority with "free" universal benefits, there is less scope for valuable targeted support for those who need it most.

No government ever has a bottomless pit of funding. The SNP has to decide if electoral popularity will continue to be prioritised above focusing help and funding where the need is greatest.

Keith Howell
West Linton

How do we define elitism?

Beulah Devaney's piece on literary festivals must be one of the most sneering and patronising pieces you have run in a long time. Yes, the Hay Festival may be rather cosy and a bit stuck in its ways, but the rest of her arguments about literary festivals as a whole are undermined by her own examples. She talks about elitist literature and Michael Palin in almost the same breath, when his travel books were popular television tie-ins which sold in huge numbers. This raises questions about her definition of elitism.

Her second point, about charging as a sign of exclusion, is also irrelevant when my local third tier football club, Port Vale, charges three times as much for a 90-minute game. Would she attack the club, or a working class father taking his children to see a match there, as elitist?

As for the comment about a quarter of the population not reading for pleasure, this is actually one of the lowest figures in the developed world.

Jim Radcliffe
Newcastle under Lyme

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