February’s Twits of the Month – The UK Passport Office

There are a number of potential twits on the list at the moment but this is one I just couldn’t ignore. While it has nothing directly to do with Cassidy, readers of this blog will realise that I believe passionately in the rights of Irish speakers. I also believe in the rights of the speakers of Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and other minority languages to use those languages without let or hindrance.

I have an Irish passport and that passport allows me to have my name spelled correctly in Irish in pride of place. I had always assumed that British passports worked the same way and that if a man from Wales called Siôn ap Rhŷs or a Scotsman called Dùghlas MacLeòid or a woman from the Six Counties called Máirín Nic Néill decided to get a British passport spelled correctly in their language, that would be no problem. Apparently I was wrong!

You are not allowed to have your name spelled correctly in Irish, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh, if that name includes a character not found in English. There’s obviously no technical problem with this, since other European countries (including the Republic) manage to allow people to spell their own names properly with whatever diacritics or accents are required. No, at some stage, these fascist arseholes simply made a random decision that they would deny people their human rights and refuse to spell their names properly. And that’s not all. When you look on their website (https://passportapplication.service.gov.uk/help/html/pages/10.05_01_name-to-appear_en.html), they explain it in these terms:

If your name has a special character or accent mark please enter your name using a normal letter eg e instead of é or a instead of ä etc.

Ah, so that’s why you’ve decided to discriminate against indigenous linguistic minorities. Because they aren’t normal! Thanks for clearing that up for us …

I sincerely hope that people will reblog this and spread it far and wide, and that someone, somewhere will take these people to the European Court of Human Rights. I will never have a British passport but I believe that people who use Celtic languages as their main language have a right to express their identity within the UK and these ignorant fascists have no right to deny people basic human rights on the basis that their decision to use a language other than English is abnormal.

9 thoughts on “February’s Twits of the Month – The UK Passport Office

    1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

      Go raibh mile maith agat as sin, a Chiara! Agus tréaslaím do shaothar leat! Is feachtas iontach é NílSéCGL. Ba cheart duit leabhar a chur le chéile de na freagraí uilig! 🙂

  1. Marconatrix

    I’m really surprised that the Welsh in particular haven’t raised all hell over this long since, and before we even begin to think about all the British Citizens with European names, not to mention those from even further afield.

    BTW that Manx passport looks really cool 🙂

    1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

      You and me both! It seems ridiculous in the extreme but when I saw the guidance about ‘normal’ letters, I really saw red! I didn’t even notice it was a Manx passport, I must say. As far as I know, Manx doesn’t have any accents! 🙂

      1. Marconatrix

        Now I look, I’m surprised the passport doesn’t say “Ellan Vannin”.

        Just dug out some Manx as I couldn’t remember if it used the odd accent or not. It doesn’t seem to. The whole language is spelled along the lines of anglicised place names in Ireland and Scotland, so you have to sort of “read it with your eyes closed” when it begins to make sense. A random sample :
        “Un oie tra v’eh dorraghey, v’eh eignit goll magh ass y thie dy yannoo red ennagh, as tra v’eh mooie cheayll eh red ennagh …”
        (One night when it was dark, he had to go out from the house to do something or other, and while he was outside he heard something …” 🙂

  2. ramendik

    Question: would the Irish Passport Office print a name like Jiří Drahoš correctly?

    This happens to be the name of a Czech Presidential candidate who lost the recent vote, but I simply took it as an example because it has three special letters (ř í š). Like the other Czechs he is an EU citizen and if he chose to, he could come into Ireland, work, and be eligible for naturalization in five years. So would he, or another Eastern European, get his special characters or are they just for Irish speakers?

    (I was naturalized too, but just did not happen to need the feature, so genuinely don’t know).

    1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

      I think that’s a fair point and you could also extend that to people whose roots lie outside Europe. It might be a tall order to provide a proper version of every world language but I think these are a special case because these are indigenous languages of the UK. Jiří Drahoš can presumably get that spelled correctly on a Czech passport. But these minorities have been there since before English arrived and these communities have a right to their name spelled correctly. After all, they have no choice in the matter. It’s a UK passport or nothing for Welsh or Gaelic speakers.


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