King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, December 14

Inequality is alive and well in the land of the single parent.

This Wednesday will see John and I heading for the land of the small green men and thick black alcohol. It'll be the first time I've flown in 4 and a half years, and it'll be the first time I've ever travelled with John alone. It has also highlighted some interesting points to me about what's allowed and what isn't, and quite frankly, it's despicable (said in a stern Daily Mail voice).
First of all, I needed a passport for us both. Mine went off without a hitch, returning less then two weeks later, with added scary picture. John's however, didn't return with mine. A few days later I got a letter from a passport office official asking for a letter from his mother confirming he could have a passport. I thought to myself "I bet if it was the other way round it wouldn't matter," so I phoned them up. Sure enough, the mother applying doesn't need the father's permission. This is primarily because legally in this country, the father is not recognised on the birth certificate in the case of unmarried couples, even if he's named. Meaning that I wasn't his father. This is not a good thing. The passport official asked if John lived with me, and I confirmed he did, and he then asked if I had anything legal to prove it? "Is a court order showing parental responsibility and a residence order enough?" I asked. "More then enough," he replied, and so I faxed it direct to him and sure enough, less then a week later I got John's sparkly new passport.
Then my friend Merle pointed something out. "Make sure you have the court order with you on the flight, or they might not let you on." Abduction is something unfortunate, and I can understand that steps need to be taken. But I also wanted to make sure this was the case, so I phoned Bristol Airport and asked if it would be needed. Again, they said yes, and so I shall have to carry an additional piece of paperwork on Wednesday. But whilst I had them on the phone, I asked if the same applied to the mother. Believe it or not, it doesn't. So, the rules put in place to protect a child from being abducted are basically there because it's only the father that ever abducts a child? I can't believe that for a second. I know John's Mum would never abduct him and take him abroad, but I'm sure there are cases out there of it being done, and this very rule made to protect the child is what's going to be highlighted in years to come. It is this biased bureaucracy that made furious and irate fathers set up the fathers 4 justice organisation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big supporter of this cause. Their methods can be a bit extreme, and a bit counter productive, but I certainly understand why they came about. In the meantime, I will be the exception to the rule. A single father, with his child, travelling on a plane? How unusual (!)