Listen: I know everybody hates their own passport photograph, but mine is really awful.

And soon that could be important.

If I really looked like that, you would be told not to approach me, because I look like I just escaped from somewhere.

No wonder I seem to take longer than normal people to get through border controls.

Especially if I come up against one of those confounded automatic passport barriers.

Each time one of them tells me to look into the camera, it beeps and tells me to seek help.

At first I assumed this was a judgement on the awfulness of my picture, because they say if you feel like you look in your passport, you probably aren’t fit to travel.

Then I realised that the machine just didn’t believe that the terrifying specimen in the picture was the fit, handsome guy I am in real life, so I always have to join a queue to be checked by an old-fashioned human being.

I am telling you all this because – in the unlikely event that you are thinking of voting in the upcoming local elections – it is important that you look like your photo ID.

I say ‘unlikely’ because the average turnout in Swindon last year was only one in three voters, and a pitiful one in four in some wards.

And while you might think a democratic country would do whatever it could to get more people to exercise their voting rights, photo ID will surely do the opposite.

The Electoral Reform Society says it is ‘an expensive distraction’, and the younger or more disadvantaged you are, the more likely you are to not have any photo ID, so won’t bother to go and vote.

They also say change is unnecessary, because there were only 33 cases of alleged impersonation in UK elections in 2019. That’s 0.0000006 per cent of those eligible to vote.

I have been going on about my passport picture because – strange as it may seem – it is currently the only photo ID I have.

It is therefore the only valid ID I can offer at the polling station, and if the clerk checking the details isn’t happy that I look enough like the monster in the picture, I could be turned away.

As hi-tech as the system might seem, the bottom line really is all about whether somebody thinks you look like the person in your photo.

As luck would have it, I will have to apply for a postal vote, anyway, because when the local elections take place this year, on May 4, I will be out of the country.

That’s assuming I can get through the border, obviously.

But who knows what will happen the next time I turn up at the polling station.

There is only thing worse than being told you can’t vote because you don’t look like the person in your passport… and that is being told you do.