I've abandoned my useless British passport – The Spectator

Jonathan Miller

‘Vous êtes anglais, je suppose?’ A question frequently posed to me in France. To which I reply: ‘C’est compliqué.’ To be honest, I’m not sure. If one passport is good, two are better. I have three. Crise d’identité.
In France, I am Irish, thanks to my grandmother, born in County Antrim. In Canada, I am Canadian, having been born there. Albeit I left aged ten months. In Britain, where I spent much of my childhood, I am British, as my parents were.
My British passport is essentially useless. It’s in a drawer somewhere. I don’t need it to fly to Britain
It’s the nationality equivalent of a multi-phasic personality disorder. I suppose I could now even get a French passport, but this seems greedy. It would theoretically permit me to be elected president, which would be to the great benefit of the Republic, but I’m not sure my neighbours would endorse my project of restoring the monarchy and driving on the left. I’ll stick to three for the moment.
My Irish passport, which I got after Brexit, is the most useful of my laissez passers, giving me unlimited access to the European Union and also to the United Kingdom. My Canadian passport is essential for getting into Canada and also allows me into the United States without a visa.
My British passport is essentially useless. It’s in a drawer somewhere. I don’t need it to fly to Britain. The Irish passport is just as good. The Canadians won’t let me into Canada with it, since I was born in Canada. And to go to America I must pay for an Electronic Travel Authorisation.
Some might accuse me of being opportunistic, even cosmopolitan. That’s probably true though I prefer to think of myself as practical. And also a trend setter. Almost everyone I know has at least two passports, or is desperate to have them.
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Jonathan Miller, who lives near Montpellier, is the author of ‘France, a Nation on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (Gibson Square). His Twitter handle is: @lefoudubaron
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