The campaign to bring back the blue passport, pushed by the Sun and a number of the hardest Brexit supporters, is very reminiscent of the referendum debate itself. It is an argument powered my nostalgia and emotion but without offering any tangible benefits. It represents a backwards step and a reduction, instead of an increase, in opportunity.
The current UK passport gives its holder the right to live, work and travel across any of the other 27 member states in the EU. It grants you the right to work in Dublin or Berlin, study in the Holland, spend a long summer in Paris or retire to Spain. It broadens horizons and multiplies possibilities, especially for young people. The new blue passport, if it is introduced post Brexit, will represent nothing more than the sad loss of this privilege for millions of UK citizens.
We hope that any money saved by no longer paying into the EU budget will be spent on things that offer real benefit to the people of the North East. This could be an increase in NHS spending, investment in education, training, transport or any number of other worthwhile causes. Instead of spending £500 million on the empty and purely symbolic gesture of changing the colour of UK passports.