this is yet another irrelevant blog from my little life in the UK. Brits, stop reading, you'r not gonna like it. US of Americans will neither like it.
I cannot believe how backward this country is wrt identity management. Yes, this UK show-off monarchy thing, Great Britain, whatever you call it. It is just a dreary little island off to the west of Europe but still believes it is the center of the world. Ha, told you that you would not like it.
My was-to-be future bank let me know that I need a utility bill as proof of address. Please what? Yes. In the UK you prove that you actually exist through a utility bill. Utilities are the folks who give you water and take away your shit, right? Well, makes sense, everybody has to shit and it is not allowed in the woods anymore. So having a bill with them sort of proves that you are somewhere. Sort of. Fine. But I have no utility bill because gas, water, shit removal is graciously part of my rent. But my rental agreement is no go. I have no bank account in the UK because I don't need one. I have a bank. In Germany. And money is mostly bit in a wire anyway. So what the fuck do you want? But even if I would want to get a bank account in the UK I would not get it because:
- I have no bank account to "prove" that I live in the UK.
- I have no utility bill to "prove" that I live in the UK.
This appear to be an unresolvable deadlock and yes - it is. So they suggested I prove my address in Germany. Easy. I have an ID card. In Germany we have a registration office where you have to register yourself when you move to another address. You get stuck in prison if you don't. Not nice but effective. It's been like this since around 2000 years - not in Germany but in other developed places for example in Bethlehem. It is part of the legacy of the largest and oldest corporation of the world and documented in it's bylaws (the Bible). But no, the UK bank will not accept my German ID card. Please what? You don't trust a government issued ID card but do trust a shit remover?
Excuse my strong language but it is just not acceptable that the UK does not have an official registration. Not at all. Never. We live in 2012 and have digital identity management since 30(!) years. We live in Europe and there are international registers maintained by insurance companies, the police, the military, the secret service and what not else and here - in the UK - you would rather trust - a utility bill? Can you hear the incredulity in my voice? I will raise a petition to remove the UK from Europe (they'll go bankrupt soon anyway and we have enough to pay for Greece, Portugal, Spain and the likes - but they are at least nice holiday destinations).
But my utilities provider in Germany was very helpful and they sent me a paper bill (I have been doing this online since six years but they do still have a printer somewhere). I get an annual bill. Since 15 years that I live there. The last one is from April 2012. Which is more than 6 months ago. Therefore the bank does not accept it, it may not be older than 6 months. So I get no bank account in the UK. And by now I don't want one anymore because I am moving on anyway.
Freedom and Independence
Why can't the Brits get around to setting up a registry? Because they declare that they want to be independent and uncontrolled and have their "freedom". They abhor control by the government. Come off it, the Isles are the most paranoid place you can image. Control. Everywhere. Every car number plate is identified on every road every day. There are CCTVs everywhere. But still, if it is the government that wants to provide an identity service - it is rejected. I can understand when this happens in the USA where they still believe that shooting each other is a great way of solving problems. And where you identify with a credit card and a driving license. Please! Come on. I thought that Greatish Britain was a bit more advanced than their hunchbacked cousins in the US of A. Wrong. They are their ancestors.
I can see it coming, people will eventually authenticate through Google and Facebook to get a bank account and buy a house or shoot someone. Altogether nice. I'm lovin' it.
Ah, another one now that I am already rambling: My MasterCard works everywhere in the world but in the UK where it will not be accepted in half the shops and fuel stations I have tested so far. And I really mean it when I say that I use it everywhere, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and yes, I travel all the time.
Living on an island is a big hardship, really. Be it the UK or the USA. You all have my compassion. You know what your problem is? You don't have borders. Edges is where things happen. Joining different thinking makes you smart. You know what happens to frogs that sit in a pot and you slowly raise the temperature? They will smugly sit in their bath until they are too hot and weak to hop out. They die. Well then, we will all die eventually, so what's the point? Don't be smug and hop out every now and then. Out there is a great world to explore. And through Facebook you only see the Polaroid version of it. Ugh, I am getting old. Who knows what a Polaroid is...