Bureaucrats in Action

Sir,

Having been resident in Italy for most of the last twelve years, I am used to the authorities using my birth date, place of birth and occasionally my parents' names as vital statistics. When I received my new-style British driving licence, I was amused to see that we are permitted to remove the offending corner of the licence that mentions our birth date. However, if I am not mistaken, my driver number, which must be quoted on all correspondence, contains a jumbled version of my birth date. The first and sixth digits give the year, second and third give the month and fourth and fifth the day of birth. Why then the charade about removing the birth date?

Getting away from bureaucrats, I must say that driving in Roman traffic still gives one considerable pleasure. Where else in the world are there no speed limits in town, drivers with excellent reflexes and a good sense of anticipation and police using reasonableness rather than the letter of the law to regulate?

Rome GEORGE V. SIMPSON