My new driving licence photocard plopped onto the doormat this morning.
A few months ago, I was informed my former photocard was due to expire. I quickly discovered that I wasn't able to renew it online this time. Why not?
Well, dear reader, it's because someone, somewhere - probably a bearded ginger incel called Roger who works at the DVLA Headquarters in Swansea - has decided that the photo they have on file for me is 'too old'. I guess the new facial recognition cameras being trialled by the Stasi... sorry... the Metropolitan Police... wouldn't recognise me after the increased corpulence and fatness of face resulting from two years of sitting on my arse at home during the Covid 'pandemic'.
As a Brexiteer, you can perhaps imagine just how moist around the gills I was to discover that the new photocard includes not only the words "UK Driving Licence" and the Union Flag, but also a holographic version of the Royal Arms (complete with lion statant bearing St Edward Crown, Scottish Unicorn, and the rest of the band).
But... it's very displeasing from a design perspective. It bears more resemblance to the spastic crayoning of an infant school colouring competition than it does to the official identity document of a proud, outward-looking world power. In many ways, it reminds me of the dreadful Euro notes (complete with their faux bridges and buildings) from which we all worked and argued so hard to divorce ourselves. Pointless patterns, Powerpoint circles... it looks like it was designed by a used-car salesman from Slough.
A crushing disappointment. Why are we so reticent about, and ashamed of Brexit? On a daily basis, the EU continues to direct the most appalling bitterness in our direction, tearing up agreements and treaties - particularly in Northern Ireland - which were hard fought for, and hard won. The rewriters of history (chief amongst them those for whom the referendum didn't go their way) continue to portray us as a narrow-minded and insular country.
But over the past few weeks, we have seen Britain as it truly is. A Prime Minister, with his sleeves rolled up, standing alongside the leader of an oppressed, war-torn country under attack from the dark forces of Vladimir Putin and his gang. A people who have signed up in their droves to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes. A nation which is proud of its history, welcoming to immigrants and refugees, and determined in its drive to narrow the inequalities between rich and poor through 'levelling up'.
Why then, must we settle for the half-arsed designs for passports and driving licences which are now being spaffed out by our socialist civil servants?
A proud country deserves proud documents for its citizens. Anything less than a lion rampant on the front cover, in gold leaf, is to say to the rest of the world: "We have failed". It's time for a national conversation about how we represent ourselves, and it begins with a driving licence which says, proudly and unashamedly: "I am British, and Britain is best."
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