Got 99 problems but Phil Neville ain’t one

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The phrase First World Problems is one of those oft-used lines which was reasonably funny when it was first trotted out.

For the uninitiated, First World Problems is usually used by self-effacing folk when they complain their frappes aren’t cold enough or they can’t get Wi-Fi in church.

It is a 21st advancement on finger quote marks, but no less irritating. But there is a real example of a First World Problem which is currently exercising the nation’s elite – the passport ‘crisis’. For the past week, at a time when we are seeing some serious problems rearing their very ugly head in the world, we have been informed in increasingly shrill tones that holidays everywhere face cancellation because there is a backlog preventing passports being processed quickly enough. There has been much wailing from those who have had to cancel scuba-diving in Egypt or pony trekking in the Alps. Indeed it is an issue deemed so serious it has dominated news bulletins.

Here’s an idea – don’t book your foreign holiday until you have your passport in your hand; it isn’t a hard one to fathom.

One of our number has an invalid passport, which we intend to renew later this year, but as a consequence this summer we intend to travel to a place where you don’t require a phrase book to order pie and chips. The fact tens of thousands of people are so disorganised they risk missing a sunshine break isn’t a crisis.

A crisis is what is affecting the poor souls who are trying to survive their own personal hell in places like Syria and Iraq. Having said that it would be quite handy if Tony “It’s not my fault” Blair was to fall victim to this situation and was unable to travel anywhere he could cause more chaos.

One man who might welcome a self-imposed travel ban is Phil Neville, who was on the receiving end of a tidal wave of online abuse, mainly from over lubricated England fans who took exception to his debut as a World Cup commentator.

Nearly 500 muppets found the time to lodge a complaint about his performance during England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy. This is another example of a First World Problem – people moaning they don’t like the voice of a man who is giving his opinion on a sporting event.

It is not remotely funny that we moan about things that, in the grand scheme, are not important. It is a source of shame.