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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…

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