This is just such a joyous story for it’s got something for everything. As we, thankfully, leave the European Union we’ll need a new and different passport design. Back to that blue/black over, as already announced, but still up to date with approved sizes and electronic formats and so on. There’s much chortling at the fact that this contract for the new passports has been let out to an EU based firm:
Taxpayers will save £120m as a result of the decision to have Britain’s blue post-Brexit passports printed abroad, the Guardian has learned.
Government sources say awarding the job to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto will be £120m cheaper over the five years of the contract.
Brexiters have reacted with anger to news that the high-profile job will not go to British firm De La Rue, with the pro-Brexit former cabinet minister Priti Patel calling it “perverse”, while trade unions have warned of potential job losses. But Whitehall sources suggested the decision was a simple question of value for money.
The British firm De La Rue has lost out on the contract to make them, its chief executive confirmed on Thursday morning. It is understood that Gemalto, which is listed on the French and Dutch stock exchanges, won the race for the £490m printing job.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, the chief executive of De La Rue, Martin Sutherland, challenged the prime minister or the home secretary to “come to my factory and explain to my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon”.
Truly, this story does have something for everyone.
It comes after current British manufacturer De La Rue said the contract to manufacture the document, which Brexiteers see as a symbol of the UK’s regained independence, is set to be awarded to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto.
De La Rue boss Martin Sutherland said it was “disappointing and surprising” that his firm was “not allowed to compete” for the contact.
“Now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France,” he said.
It’s the identity which matters, not where the paper is manufactured.
But as I say, something for everyone. Remoaners, never the brightest of people, get to laugh about how we’re getting our symbol of leaving produced by an EU firm. That this isn’t a bright response is obvious – we’re saving £120 million by trading with the EU while still not being part of it. This shows we have to be members of the EU to trade usefully with them, does it?
Then there are the economic realists like myself who get to put the boot into Martin Sutherland. Sorry Marty, no, we’re not going to buy your idea that each and every one of us has to kick in an extra £2 to keep you in the style you wish to become accustomed to. Even if you are waving the flag to try and get us to do so.
But the best argument falls to us Leavers. We’ve not been saying that we don’t want to trade with Europe. Nor that we don’t like Europe or Europeans. We’re simply opposed to the political construct that is the European Union. We’re really very sure indeed that we can continue to visit Europe, cooperate with Europeans, we just don’t want to be ruled by the buggers.
That we can get our passports made by them at a savings to ourselves even as we leave rather proves all of those contentions, doesn’t it?