Next week, I have to go to some official place in Milan with some official pieces of paper to get another official piece of paper from an official person which will prove that I live here. Before I can hold the piece of paper in my sticky hand, some policemen will knock on my door to prove that I actually live where I said I did.
As an EU citizen, I have the right to live and work in Italy for as long as I like. Nevertheless, the Italian government apparently feels that it is worth spending its taxpayers money on paying the aforementioned bureaucrats and policement so that it knows exactly where I live.
Apart from the fact that it's a bit of a waste of time and other people's money, I don't mind too much. What I do mind is this:
When I first got here, I filled out the application form. The questions on the form are written in Italian, French. German and English, so I wrote my answers in English. Apparently, though, they have to be in Italian, so my work very kindly wrote some corrections on the original form, which I then have to copy on to a new form. And under the “nationality” section, where I had written “British”, they wrote “inglese”, which means “English”. One of my Scottish friends in Italy confirmed that this is what the Italian officials make you write. So I am going to have to write it, and then sign the piece of paper to say that what I've written is true.
This doesn't annoy me because I'm a raging Scottish Nationalist. It bothers me because it's wrong. Saying that a Scottish person is English is like saying that Austrians are German because both countries are in the EU and they speak the same language. I am from the UK and my nationality is British. That's what it says on my passport and that's what I write on forms. (I do feel Scottish too, but that has nothing to do with politics. And if English nationality could be officially recognised, I could have that too, but it doesn't.) If the man in the street called me English, I'd either explain politely why I'm not or smile and shrug my shoulders. But if the Italian paper-pushers want me to sign endless unnecessary documents, they should at least give me the opportunity to put the right facts on them.