Summer of Discontent

I suppose it is a good thing that we can’t afford for the unnamed grandchildren to visit their grandparents in America this summer. Since they are dual citizens they are required to enter the United States on their American passports, but upon returning they have to show their British passports. The older unnamed child is still waiting for the renewal of his British passport.

It’s been a long wait. The Unnamed Woman sent everything off to the passport office in plenty of time. She enclosed the required two photographs, taken in a photo booth which advertised that the photos could be used for passports. After the usual bureaucratic delay, we were informed that the photos were unacceptable, so another set would have to provided. They were “too light”, though the bureaucrats didn’t explain what they meant by this description.

The Unnamed Woman took the child to a professional photographer experienced in producing passport photos. This photographer had already produced photos to the more rigorous requirements of the US Passport Agency. Another set were dispatched. After another extended bureaucratic delay, another letter arrived, informing us that once again the photos were unacceptable.

After extended unproductive telephone conversations with the four or five different useless passport office apparatchiks, another set of photos was sent. Then nothing. Why? Because the passport workers went on strike. The result? A backlog of 150,000 applications.

The backlog will take well into August to clear, according to jubilant union officials, smugly pleased with themselves that the general public will feel the maximum impact of their industrial action and that thousands will lose out on their holidays. If they haven’t already bought their travel insurance, then potentially they will have lost all the money they have paid for that holiday, meaning there will be no way to make it up at a later date.

I can understand why passport workers are angry. None are getting better than a below-inflation pay rise – in effect a pay cut. The longest serving staff are getting no pay rise – real or imagined – for the fifth year in a row. It is interesting that the governing party is tied to the trade unions, yet has more trouble appeasing them than the Tories. Because there has been industrial action across this civil service this year, we could be headed for another Winter of Discontent.

The only question is whether Gordon Brown will be around as Prime Minister by that time. His Government is falling apart. A couple of days ago, the third safest Labour seat in Parliament was lost to the Scottish Nationalist Party in a by-election.  His own cabinet ministers are questioning his future and plotting his downfall.

For the first time in years, the Conservative Party is way ahead in the opinion polls. It appears that having finally convinced the country that they are greener and gayer than Labour, so there will be no challenge to the cherished values of the Left, the British population may very well be willing to give them another shot at governing.

Having lost most of my affinity for the Tories, I only want to see them in power to see the Red Rose lot out. I think the Government will run marginally more effectively and we may see a slow down on the road to totalitarianism, but no great change. I doubt they will even get the passport office to function more effectively.

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2 Responses to “Summer of Discontent”

  1. John of Indiana Says:

    Maybe I should set off on one of these “Industrial Actions”, seeing as how I’ve had nothing BUT below-inflation pay “raises” for the last 6-7 years. 0-2% with 3-4% inflation is NOT an increase, I don’t care how much HR gibberish and double-talk you try to bury it under. Maybe I can take the refrigerator magnet with the departmental logo imprint and pay my rent with it.

    Indiana advertises in Illinois that if businesses come to Indiana they will pay less taxes, and gee-whiz, you can “compensate” (pay) your workforce less.
    “Come to Indiana, Our *itch Mitch will give you a pass on taxes, and you can pay Hoosiers crap wages and they’ll be so glad just to have a job they won’t mind. Did we tell you we’ve almost got that nasty Union Problem fixed, too?”

    Ah, well, back on topic….

    Since our geniuses decreed that we would need to use a passport to visit the People’s Republic of Cannuckistan or see where our old jobs went down in Mexico, there’s something like a 6-month wait for one here. Unless you want to pass a few hundred bucks OVER the counter (have they no SHAME?) then you might have to wait only 5 months…

  2. Margi Says:

    My last passport renewal was a dream, something less than 10 days I think which made me worry for a while they had done something wrong which I wouldn’t find out about until I was sitting in a holding cell in Atlanta or somewhere. Funnily enough it seems to be okay.


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