FINALLY, a glimmer of sense from the Government: putting passports back up to 10 years.
It was vaguely annoying when drivers licences went from the green booklet that you had forever to this idea that the licence would actually expire. For me, that was the start of the process where a country began to get a bit more security-conscious about identification. The reasoning for the five-year passport was much the same. Five-year passports came about because of terrorist concerns. Ironically, Australia and the US stayed at 10 years, despite being obviously more fraught with security issues.
It's personally annoying to me because I have to renew my passport this year, if I want to visit my granddaughter in England, and I'm still the same thin slaphead with glasses that I was five years ago. Guys of a certain age don't change a heck of a lot, and I flatter myself I'm holding my age well. I'm even tempted to reuse some of the spare photos of me from five years ago, but I can't chance it. It seems these days if you even have a hint of a smile your photo gets rejected.
Nonetheless, I can't deny the need for a robust and thorough border control, and means of identifying people, seems greater than ever. There's a liberal part of me that feels somewhat disturbed about the idea of full-body scanners, fingerprints, facial recognition software, liquids in visible plastic bags and removing belts and shoes. I also remember being more than a little heartbroken when two bottles of Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir went into the disposal bin in Sydney because it was over the limit for liquids. But despite all these "intrusions" and possible impositions on my civil rights, the greater part of me is just grateful to fly in a plane that arrives more or less on time and is flown by a pilot who is not having a relationship crisis.
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So I applaud the move to 10-year passports, even if I'll miss it this year. In the meantime, I better get my passport sorted, and remember this time not to smile for the camera.