My driving licence expires in a week’s time.
I first got a licence back in ’66. That was just for a motor bike under 150cc which was fine as I only had a 50cc autocycle.
Then in ’71 I passed my car test and got my full licence. Wopee! The freedom of the open road in my little Mini.
For years I carried my little red plastic booklet around, dutifully renewing it every ten years. Somewhere around joining that fucking EU my licence was replaced with a little pink bit of paper with my photo on it. It didn’t feel the same. it looked cheap and shoddy. A couple of years ago I noticed that my ten year licence had been truncated and was only valid for nine years [though I still had paid for the full ten. It was because I had reached 70.
At seventy, a few things change. The first is that I have to renew every three years instead of ten. The other is that they had to scan me. This involved having to do a sixty mile round trip to get the scan. My licence had now shrunk into a little plastic card. At least it was more durable than the paper one.
My three years are up in a week or so’s time so I checked online to see what I needed to bring with me to renew the licence. They bragged that I could apply for the whole thing online so no sixty mile round trip. All I had to do was log into MyGov.
Now MyGov is one of those little websites the gubmint dreamed up a couple of years ago to make all government services available online. I stuck in my details and everything went well. I now had an ID but it wasn’t verified. To verify it I would have to go into the Welfare Office in Skobieville and show them my mobile phone to somehow prove I owned it. The logic there escaped me completely. Why not just send me a verification number like the bank does?
Yesterday I decided to try renewing my licence. Fine. All went well until it told me I had to connect via MyGov. Bugger! I had forgotten that bit. I logged into MyGov and to my surprise it said I was verified. I don’t know how that happened. Anyways I scrolled down to the “Renew a Driving Licence” bit. I clicked the button marked “Proceed”.
How could I possibly proceed when the Proceed button didn’t work?
I tried various tricks [such as looking at the source code]. Nada. Nothing. Dead button.
Then I had a brainwave. I fired up Chromium which is the Linux equivalent of Chrome. The fucking thing worked perfectly! I clicked on the Proceed button and in I went to the Licence section. I answered a few dozen questions and suddenly an image appeared showing my new licence as it will be. Even better it is free. That hasn’t happened before. I just have to wait for them to post it to me.
So the gubmint’s brilliant brainwave site does work but not in Firefox? One of the most basic rules in any web design is to make sure it works in all browsers and all platforms, yet they never tested it in Firefox? By my stats, the third most popular browser behind Chrome and Safari?
I have it on good authority [did I ever mention I have my own Deep Throat in the gubmint?] that the website cost a six figure sum and that they are paying out further six figure sums to an agency to run it.
And they can’t even design the fucking thing properly?