Show me your papers

I have a passport again, having lost my old one somewhere between Cambridge, Leicester and Corby on a trip last month.  The old one has been cancelled, so nobody pretending to be me will be leaving the country on it – and I suspect that it’s actually somewhere completely unexpected in the house and will turn up in a year or two.

But it meant I spent nearly a month without papers, or rather without the means to leave the country, and I hadn’t realised how much it disturbed me until the new documentation arrived.

Watching the continued erosion of our freedoms in the name of a misguided and misnamed ‘War on Terror’, watching Gordon Brown betray the hopes of those who thought that he might be more sensible, less authoritarian and somehow more on our side than Blair, and considering a world in which my right to leave the UK will be contingent on providing access to complete information about my travel plans and personal history, I just wanted to get off this island and not come back – and I knew that I couldn’t.

The much-revered John Naughton refuses to travel to the United States while it is under the current political dispensation, a position I have growing sympathy with – I just hope that Hillary Clinton doesn’t disappoint us when she becomes president. However my immediate problem is not the US but the situation here at home. I fear that I may have to become a ‘data exile’ from the UK if things don’t improve, as I am as unwilling to hand over my personal information to the state as Lewis Hamilton is to hand over his money.

I read Henry Porter’s acid commentary on the loss of freedom, and wonder if  it is too late for the fight back to be successful, wonder too how we will begin.

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3 Responses to Show me your papers

  1. David Mery says:


    I thought you had started to fight back a long time ago, but if you’re looking for something to do now, you could do worse than contacting your MP to let him/her know how you expect him/her to vote on any proposal to further extend the pre-charge detention period.

    I blogged on this with a link to a model letter at

    br -d

  2. Graham says:

    Don’t worry about it Bill. Now that the government has lost 7.25m family records the chances are that criminals and terrorists will all have access to out personal information and be able to carry out all sorts of crime whilst hiding under decent people’s identities.

    Information is power, and the government have just shown that they shouldn’t have either.

  3. Ozz Scott says:

    Hello Bill,
    As a closed room developer of computer hardware and wireless gadgetry and a keen custom bike builder I have been considering fitting a mobile wifi server/hotspot in a trike, a bit like the old Rucksack Hotspots but with more efficient PCs, custom built radio gear and enough power for at least a three day event, but with all the fuss in England over WiFi use and the Anti Terrorism craziness the government and media are pushing makes me think I could be shot at for ‘looking like a threat’ with antennas PCs and wires! The NeTrike project has been pushed to the back burner for a bit more thought.. I am also keeping my passport handy, I have a growing feeling that ,like so many before me, my talents would be put to much better use elsewhere in Europe.
    I don`t really want to leave the land of my birth, It makes me feel like a rat, with a growing urge to escape a sinking ship, especially when discovering it was the The Chief Rats that drilled holes in the hull..
    All the best,
    Lang May Yer Lum Reek.

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