Just in: Sheku gets new passport

Just in: Sheku gets new passport


norman lebrecht

June 17, 2021

We have just received a request to publish this statement from the Home Office:

‘We apologise to Mr Kanneh-Mason for any inconvenience caused as a result of this incident, which was due to human error. We have now issued him with a replacement passport.’

If it hadn’t been for Slipped Disc leading a media outcry, he would have been grounded for weeks or months, like the rest of us.

The Home Office is full of human error and no comprehension of the meaning of ‘inconvenience’.




  • Anon says:

    Wonderful news! With many thanks to Slipped Disc for bringing it to our attention!

  • Alexander Hall says:

    It was John Reid who, when he was Home Secretary, described his outfit as “not fit for purpose”. Nothing has changed. The appalling treatment of Sheku – a British citizen, for heaven’s sake – is one of countless instances of the inhuman treatment of foreign spouses, EU citizens and any number of people falsely identified as “undesirable”, not to mention those who were part of the Windrush generation. The irony, which presumably not a single member of the current government is aware of, is that all of this does not enhance its claim to be open and welcoming or its fatuous desire to persuade the rest of the world of its new role as Global Britain.

    • V.Lind says:

      I thought Home Office policy had been for years “hostile environment”? I assume that referred to asylum seekers, and some categories of immigrants or their descendants. But the attitude seems to permeate the place, from the top down.

    • IC225 says:

      Or possibly a passport office clerk just made a brief and swiftly-rectified administrative error.

    • M McAlpine says:

      Your wording is silly. Sheku’s treatment was not ‘appalling’ as if he was being treated as an undesirable alien. He wasn’t. There are those of us who have been subject to beaurocratic bungling like this and while it is annoying we didn’t compare ourselves to the Windrush generation. Please, put the thing in context.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        You are free to issue your strictures but I stand by my comments. Let’s start with names. With a family name like yours you would not need to fear discrimination if you applied anywhere for a job or an interview. Now try doing that if you have a foreign-sounding name, especially if it includes “Mohammed” anywhere. Presumably you are what officialese would describe as “Caucasian”. So how many times have you been told to go back to the country where you came from after any altercation or even if you had said nothing? Not at all? Then ask people of colour who were born and raised in the UK how many times they have had comments like that flung in their faces. Sheku’s treatment was appalling. Anybody who is reasonably well-informed would have come across his name by now, so there is no excuse for any kind of bureaucratic bungling. None at all. This man is already earning exports for Britain far in excess of your own efforts at his age.

        • Marfisa says:

          His sister, Asita Kanneh-Mason, got her passport back promptly and with no trouble, as the original post stated. Does she look any less black on her photo than Sheku? Is her name somehow less obviously ‘foreign-sounding’? Is she better-known than her brother? I see no evidence of racism here (though of course it sadly persists in the UK); much more likely a clerical error (who has never made or suffered from those?) in an overworked department, quickly corrected (with or probably without SD’s help).

          For your information, ‘Caucasian’ is not an official UK ethnic category.

        • Ashu says:

          [Presumably you are what officialese would describe as “Caucasian”.]

          Presumably because his name is MacAlpine? Here you really presume too much, and it makes me wonder how many real individuals you actually know from the groups you presume to champion.

  • Stephen Gould says:

    I feel obliged to note that when I sent my passport back to Blighty for renewal, it took less than three weeks from the time they received all the docs to the time I had my new one.

    • RW2013 says:

      A Heldentenor is worth more than a cellist any day

    • squagmogleur says:

      You seem impressed with that turnaround time. But, when my daughter renewed her Malaysian passport at Malaysia’s High Commission in London, she received her new passport on the same day she applied for it. Now that’s impressive.

  • SMH says:


  • christopher storey says:

    I feel obliged to note that Sheku’s sister received heroriginal back ( uncancelled! ) within 10 days with the 2nd passport following shortly afterwards . For good ness@ sake stop seeing malicious intent in every mishap

  • Petros LInardos says:

    “If it hadn’t been for Slipped Disc leading a media outcry, he would have been grounded for weeks or months, like the rest of us.”

    We should not rest on our laurels.

  • Such a straight-forward document request… how did the human manage to make such an error?

    Even in a valid case of cancelling a passport, how would that happen in such a short time, as if someone were just rubber-stamping a pile of cancellations?

  • Dave says:

    “The Home Office is full of human error…”

    No human about it.

  • Viola says:

    …” issued him with a replacement passport “ … hmm he wanted two sounds like they’ve still messed up!

  • Viola says:

    ….”issued him with a replacement passport” …. he wanted two… sounds like they’ve still messed up!

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    If it hadn’t been for Slipped Disc leading a media outcry – oh hardly. His agent probably called his MP and got it sorted. Or maybe just phoned the Passport Office and was done simply.