Keeping Us Safe

Ever since the result of the referendum, we've known that for the Home Office Brexit means "we hate foreigners." That this was petty and vindictive wasn't a surprise, but this week's Guardian correspondance column produced a little gem of its kind.

Sheila Hale is American, but married to a Brit, and has lived in the UK for fifty years. She has American and UK passports, but last year the UK one was due to expire, so she tried to renew it. "Ah," said the hawkeyed HO officials, "it's in the name of Sheila Hale. But your US passport is in the name of Sheila Hayes Hale. How do we know they're the same person?" Her simply saying so wasn't enough. She needed a recent utility bill or bank statement, in the US name which she hasn't used for twenty years. She tried explaining why this wouldn't be possible, but got nowhere. Until she had a brainwave. Her husband was a knight, so that meant she had to be Lady Hale, not Lady Hayes Hale. Well of course, they said. She got her new passport next day.