wyliecoyoteuk wrote: my wife, who doesn't drive, has never been in the armed forces, and didn't have a current passport at the time, was stuck.
considering [some banks] send us loads of junk mail which used to come with the paper bill
Was a national ID card such a bad idea?
I am one of an apparently tiny minority who favoured ID cards. Cameron ridiculed it with his "Show ze papers pleez" in a Gestapo accent, but having no ID card system does not stop everyone asking for your papers anyway, in fact you need to produce more.
My sister-in-law, like your wife, had no passport or driving licence, and all the utility bills were in her husband's name. To open a bank account she had (among several other kludges too complex to explain) to obtain a provisional driving licence, although she will never drive in her life. This is a ridiculous situation, brought about by people who cannot imagine anyone living a life style different from their own (drive everywhere, jet everywhere, holiday in the Med, live on Twitter and Facebook) or that if they do, they shouldn't, and are somehow disreputable.
Regarding the greenwash about paper, I was annoyed when I bought an expensive SLR camera to find its instruction book was of paper so thin and poor (but "recycled" they boasted) that I would hesitate to employ it in the toilet. Yet every day I receive junk mail (for wine clubs, cruises, hearing aids, insurance) printed on high quality glossy stuff; right now my waste bin is stuffed with it.