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Dear Minister....

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    Dear Minister....

    Dear Minister,

    I'm in the process of renewing my passport but I am a total loss to understand or believe the hoops I am being asked to jump through.

    How is it that Bert Smith of T.V. Rentals Basingstoke has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a satellite dish from them back in 1994, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date?

    How come that nice West African immigrant chappy who comes round every Thursday night with his DVD rentals van can tell me every film or video I have had out since he started his business up eleven years ago, yet you still want me to remind you of my last three jobs, two of which were with contractors working for the government?

    How come the T.V. detector van can tell if my T.V. is on, what channel I am watching and whether I have paid my licence or not, and yet if I win the government run lottery they have no idea I have won or where I am and will keep the bloody money to themselves if I fail to claim in good time.

    Do you people do this by hand?

    You have my birth date on numerous files you hold on me, including the one with all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30-odd years. It's on my health insurance card, my driver's licence, on the last four passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes and boats over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done every ten years and the electoral registration forms I have to complete, by law, every time our lords and masters are up for re-election.

    Would somebody please take note, once and for all, I was born in Maidenhead on the 4th of March 1957, my mother's name is Mary, her maiden name was Reynolds, my father's name is Robert, and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and the day I die!

    I apologize Minister. I'm obviously not myself this morning. But between you and me, I have simply had enough! You mail the application to my house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthals working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to activate the Fifth Reich for God's sake! I just want to go and park my weary backside on a sunny, sandy beach for a couple of week's well-earned rest away from all this crap.

    Well, I have to go now, because I have to go to back to Salisbury and get another copy of my birth certificate because you lost the last one. AND to the tune of 60 quid! What a racket THAT is!! Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day? But nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some tosser to confirm that it's really me on the goddamn picture - you know... the one where we're not allowed to smile in in case we look as if we are enjoying the process!

    Hey, you know why we can't smile? 'Cause we're totally jacked off!

    I served in the armed forces for more than 25 years including over ten years at the Ministry of Defence in London. I have had security clearances which allowed me to sit in the Cabinet Office, five seats away from the Prime Minister while he was being briefed on the first Gulf War and I have been doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross ever since I left the Services. However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am -- you know, someone like my doctor...
    who, before he got his medical degree 6 months ago WAS LIVING IN PAKISTAN...

    Yours sincerely,
    An Irate British Citizen.
    Bazza gets caught
    Socrates - "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

    CUK University Challenge Champions 2010

    "Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch." - Orson Welles

    Norrahe's blog


      Nice one!

      Apart from the TV detector van stuff - it's an address crosscheck from TV Licensing on their database if you've bought any receiving equipment such as TVs from retailers. The vans they have are empty - PR exercise designed to encourage people pay.

      Although the technology does exist to detect the IF from your TV set you need quite sensitive equipment.

      The TV Licensing staff are quite good at tricking people into revealing that they watch TV - a good one is the survey they carry out, often asking them their favourite TV program and how many hours they watch.

      Nobody has been prosecuted via a TV detection van. All have been through admission or signature on a "confession form". It's very difficult to raise a search warrant as well. The TVL staff are commissioned based, hence familiarity with some of the dodgier recruitment agency type tactics.

      More here and other sites on google.
      If you think my attitude stinks, you should smell my fingers.


        Can't recall giving my name and address when buying a TV so how does that work? Or are they demanding details from manufacturers when you fill in the guarantee form now?

        In my experience they just enquire at any address that does not have a licence on the assumption they have a TV.
        Last edited by xoggoth; 12 August 2009, 18:17.

        If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
        John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


          That's interesting xoggoth, I've even been asked when buying a tuner card from PC World as well as buying plasmas etc.

          I guess it's down to the retailer. And the fact that I may like a dodgy geezer.
          If you think my attitude stinks, you should smell my fingers.


            Originally posted by xoggoth View Post
            Can't recall giving my name and address when buying a TV so how does that work?
            Did you pay cash? If not, then they know where you live.
            My all-time favourite Dilbert cartoon, this is: BTW, a Dumpster is a brand of skip, I think.


              Excellent rant. You should send this to the newspapers.