Sunday, 10 July 2011

pedantry alert: signing silly declarations

I've just submitted yet another research funding proposal. As part of the bureaucracy surrounding this process, I have to sign a declaration, one clause of which states that I "confirm that I have no personal, financial or other interest in this project". I know what it means, of course, but it still feels silly to sign that I've no interest in this piece of work that has consumed the several months effort, and which, if my application is successful, will consume the next several years of my life.
"pedant": A man who likes his statements to be true.
--- Bertrand Russell. The Good Citizen's Alphabet. 1953
It's not just men, btw...

UK passport
I've also recently renewed my passport, which process required me to submit my old passport. I had to sign a declaration that said, in part (I forget the exact wording) "If I find my lost passport, I will return it immediately to the office". But I haven't lost my passport -- it's here, with this very form I'm signing -- so I don't have a lost passport to find. You might wish to argue, well, it's a joint form covering both renewal and replacement of lost passports, so if I do subsequently lose my passport, I'm saying I will return it. But I only need to return it if I've reported it missing, presumably by applying for a replacement, on a new form, where I could sign an accurate declaration.

And to cap it all, when a note was pushed through the front door saying that they had tried to deliver my new passport but I was out (they only deliver 9am-5pm Monday to Friday -- when most people are, of course, out), it said I would have to provide some ID when I went to collect it. One form of ID suggested was, you've guessed it, my passport.

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