This is something that Big Dave pointed out to me today:
If you go to the post office, and buy foreign currency, with cash, they’ll happily give you it.
If you go to the post office, and buy foreign currency, with a debit card, they expect to see photo ID first.
But if you go to the post office, and give them your Link card, you can withdraw money over the counter, without ID. Even if you just hand that money straight back over the counter, in exchange for foreign currency. Even if you’re using the same card that you can’t use to buy foreign currency with, unless you’ve got ID on you.
What’s the point of that, then?
Some good political news on the way for once: whilst The Guardian is reporting that the goverment ID card scheme is behind schedule with no firm dates set, according to The Register, the scheme is definitely out the window. This is based on a cunning analysis of the various proposals so far, which demonstrates that they can’t possibly be completed by the next election, never mind 2008 as the government has promised.
It’s hopeful news, but it doesn’t mean boneheaded, stupid government decisions won’t keep going on. For one thing, the government is palming a lot of the ID Card preparatory work off onto the Passports Agency, because its position is that the Passports Agency can do pretty much anything the government likes relating to passports, without Parliament or anybody else being able to object. The ID card scheme is getting more and more bad press as time goes on. A cynic might even wonder if some government factions are encouraging anti-card publicity, to make themselves look even better when they claim responsibility for eventually abandoning the scheme. It’s no good abandoning the concept of the little plastic card, though, if the nasty database part of the scheme is still lurking in the bowels of the Passport Agency.
As I still occasionally have visitors searching for information on Christopher Edward Buckingham, I thought I should probably let you know that his real identity has been uncovered. His “real” name is Charles Albert Stopford, and he was originally from Clearwater, Florida. Given the people Clearwater is most famous for, you can see why he might want to move as far away as he could.
I say “real” in quotes, because, if he’s been Chris Buckingham for 20-something years now – half of his life, more or less – surely that has just as much claim to being his real name? It might be founded on a lie, but you can’t say that the things he’s done as Chris Buckingham, the friendships and relationships he’s made, just happened to somebody else all along. Identity is a many-layered thing.
Tonight, Christopher Edward Buckingham is a famous man. He probably doesn’t appreciate this, though, because that isn’t his real name. He’s also in prison, because it is the name on his passport. The Passport Office don’t really get the joke with that sort of thing.
Christopher Buckingham has been Christopher Buckingham for twenty-something years, since he was around 20 himself. He won’t tell anybody who he was beforehand. The police are, naturally, suspicious; the police are always suspicious about something. Why, though, do they immediately jump to the assumption that Buckingham has a dodgy past? It’s entirely legal to change your name, if you go about it the right way. So why assume that somebody is a bit shady just because they didn’t bother to fill in the paperwork? Because they show signs of being a fantasist? Why can’t we just let him go ahead being Christopher Buckingham?
Christopher Buckingham’s mother is very upset. She’s not his mother, though, she’s the other Christopher Buckingham’s mother, the one whose name he stole. She’s very upset because her Christopher died in infancy, so therefore she thinks he should apologise to her. You can’t stop somebody stealing your name, though, so long as they don’t actually pretend to be you. He hasn’t done that, so really, it’s nothing to do with her.
I’ve often wanted to run away from my life. It would be good to be able to make a really fresh start. So, you see, I can sympathise with Christopher Buckingham.