Latest Issue

Leith on life

My new passport is a twee jigsaw of fantasy Britishness

By Sam Leith   January 2012

What do you feel when you get a new passport? Sad and excited—and also, intrigued. My old passport was nearly as old as this age of terror. It is striking how the intervening years—a decade of paranoia about migration and data insecurity—have stamped, so to speak, the replacement that plopped through the letterbox this week.

The new British passport addresses anxieties about identity in more than just the proliferation of embedded microchips, shimmering holograms and intricate, subtly-coloured, photocopier-thwarting details. A British passport is now, as for some time, a carefully prescribed variation on a standard European paradigm.

The very document…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect