Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Identity Cards And All That

The last time I wrote on this blog about identity cards (December 2004) I seem to remember that I was rather indifferent. Personally, I have flipped and flopped on this issue from start to finish. When they were first mooted, days after September 11th 2001, I thought they'd be useful, but not to combat terrorism. Then I became more opposed to them; then I subsequently started to favour them again. But now, there can be no doubt: I am firmly and unequivocally opposed.

As Peter Lilley wrote in a report for the Bow Group earlier this year, they are supposed to combat terrorism, benefit fraud and illegal immigration, yet they are bound to fail in each respect. Terrorists don't conceal their identities but their intentions. Benefit fraudsters don't conceal their identities but their circumstances. And illegal immigrants can already claim asylum through a system which requires them to have an identity card.

The inspirational speech from Charles Clarke to bring we, the people, round to this authoritarian idea is yet to be given. We have not heard any reasonable justification for an identity card system, only some half-hearted rebuttal to its opponents. Let us not forget too that Mr. Clarke does have a background as a Marxist in his student days, so perhaps this disdain for liberty is not so stunning.

The Second Reading of an enabling Bill for identity cards is through (and let us not forget where we've heard the words 'Enabling Bill' before!). It can be chopped and changed, nipped and tucked through committees and the Lords, but it won't be destroyed. Now that Parliament has forgotten its duty to the people, and as the Labour MPs have been dragged like lobby fodder through the 'Aye' lobby, it is up to the people to fight back.

Identity cards are not an idea whose time has come. They are a depressing example of the new consensus of State power shared by the British Establishment. They must be destroyed.

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