Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Are all bad laws European?


ID Cards seem like a bad idea overall, and they haven't been imposed on us by Europe. Quite apart from the civil liberties issue, which should concern all liberals of whatever hue, this government has a rotten record on introducing ICT into any of its departments. The BBC reports today that the civil servant charged with introducing this dreadful policy has been saying how important it is that we have ID cards in order to safeguard civil liberties. I did wonder about his truly Orwellian logic, but gave up the ghost on his defence when I reached this comment - that 'the general public supports the scheme and are frustrated that it is taking so long"!! Oh yeah, we're all out there begging for ID cards and an increase in government control. Anyone want to join the next march asking for the suspension of individual liberties?

3 comments:

Lestaki said...

"Creative" restatement of fact at best, there. I can't remember the last time I heard from anyone who actually approved of the idea, though I haven't done any surverys. Is Connor ready to fill that void?

On a serious note, that kind of comment is a very good example of one case for more referenda, and also the dangers of government control of referenda. Without one, it's dubious at best to make such a sweeping statement, and there has been none because, I suspect, that the government fancies it would come out the worse from one. A perfect example of the government manipulating referenda, or rather the lack thereof, to suit its own agenda. I'm not suggesting we roll out referenda for every such occasion, but on such a contentious issue it would certainly provide some decisive closure either way- or at the very least, give someone any basis for such a comment. All I can say is that I want to see his "evidence". Might make for some fun light reading.

-M Pester

Anonymous said...

Forget your ideological rubbish Marshall. Think about the practicalities. Having lived in countries where these cards are compulsory, I fail to see what the problem is.

For young people they are a great idea. Recent restrictions by publicans on acceptable forms of I.D. have resulted in many a passport being lost/stolen/mangled after a night on the lash. Surely having a portable, laminated, and most importantly, universally accepted form of identification will be much less hassle. The same goes for setting up a new bank account; open the wallet and out it comes! No digging around the house trying to remember where you put the passport.

The outburst over an erosion of individual liberties from some areas does seem a little ridiculous. As Europe's most 'spied upon' nation, one would think that this more significant 'outrage' would force the masses out onto the streets in protest. It hasn't though, has it? It strikes me that as with a lot of things in this country, the odious presence of a right-wing (by that I mean Tory) minority is pushing an issue that has surely been answered by the silence of the majority. We'll give it a go and see how it pans out, just don't make us do anything - the glory of apathy.

Having to carry one of these cards is hardly going to see the police suddenly start stopping everyone in the street, nor will the men in dark sunglasses suddenly going to come knocking on your door. They will be useful when you need identification in the Post Office or when applying for jobs (as I found they were when I was abroad). Also they may well stop those who 'forget' their driving license when pulled over for driving without insurance. And it might mean that the pikey kids pestering me to buy them cigarettes outside the off-license will get a call home from the filth. I doubt it though. Apart from the ideological standpoint, where's the issue?*

*Unless I have to pay £300 for one. Talk about liberties!

C H Daly said...

I have to agree with Lord Milky.

The ID cards have some fantastic benefits to do with: jobs, observing age limits on some substances and other otherwise tedious bureaucratic issues. There are certainly issues with costs: but only as there are with any other national initiative. I am extremely doubtful over some of the financial Conservative scaremongering over costs to the taxpayer. We have seen the Tories pluck figures from the air before and I wouldn’t read too much into some of their maths.

If you are going to take the civil libertarian stance then that’s fine: but you have to take it all guns blazing on our CCTV nation, police not destroying innocent citizen’s DNA following false conviction etc. I am naturally wary of anything that even has the faintest whiff of smelling like a step towards ‘Big Brother’ society but I think this issue is being overblown. As long as we don’t sleepwalk into a spying culture then I think this is fine: I think that is also crucial to keep an eye on the Police as (as proved by the anti-Terrorism legislation etc), they will use any new powers they are given even if the original laws were not designed in that way.

I am all for the ID cards as long as we remain cautious and do not surrender ourselves to potential further infringements of 'state spying' as it were.