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Two plus two equals five

It would seem Tony Blair has finally been sold on David Blunkett’s plans to chain us into perpetual serfdom. Along with the clap-trap flummery, the knocking of the opposition, and the other accoutrements of a Big Government leader under fire, I’m still struggling to believe I heard the following:

It made sense to ask whether identity cards were no longer an affront to civil liberties but a way of protecting them

A ripple of comfortable applause accompanied this slogan, from the Blessed Leader, at today’s UK Labour Party conference. Welcome to Oceania.

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12 comments to Two plus two equals five

  • Antoine Clarke

    Ok. I’m emigrating the day that law is passed.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Where will you go?

    Do you really think there is any country you could reasonably live in, that won’t have these measures in place within ten years?

    Deam on.

  • Jacob

    Antoine,
    Didn’t you tell us that you have dual citizenship and are a proud bearer of a French Id card ?

  • Jacob: That may be why he doesn’t live there.

    Whatever may be said for my native land, Australians are certainly not going to be carrying ID cards within the next 10 years. (A government tried to bring them in 15 years ago and failed. As a consequence politicians there know they are political poison, and will not try it again any time soon. Alas, though, I fear I may have to carry one of those biometric passports before too long. The idea really does not thrill me.

  • Thwarted

    Would one of the assembled libertarians explain the big deal about ID cards?

    Credit cards show dates, times and locations, and reveal an awful lot about us, from our regular high street haunts to where and when we’re on holiday — great news for burglars. So they’re already a form of ID card, tracking where we go and what we like, and in conjunction with trespassing schemes like Air Miles have sufficient information to carry out our daily routines while we stay put in bed.

    Mobile phones are arguably much worse, the user’s position being triangulated to within a hundred metres — location-based services saying when to take a left turn for the cinema, or right for today’s sponsored grub. Then there are traffic cameras which gobble number plates, and to cut a long ramble short, probably a dozen other things we don’t even think about, either because they’re too oblique or just plain devious.

    The ID card is little more than a happy face on all this automated undercover work, complete with a confessional pawprint on the back. The only thing I baulk at is the fact that they’re being trumpeted as “anti-terrorist”, which is of course bollocks.

    So, ID cards? Been there, doing that.

  • Jonathan L

    Thwarted

    Various big brothers are already watching us that is true. But for all of these there is usually an opt out, albeit often at a cost.

    The ID card is in effect permission to be a citizen granted by the state, thus reversing a liberal tradition whereby the citizens granted the right of the government to rule over them. We are citizens because we exist, not because the government says that we are.

  • mike

    Antoine – I’m emigrating in 2 weeks – I’m not waiting around for this! To a place where I won’t have to pay income tax……

  • Andrew Duffin

    Thwarted:

    Nobody can stop me in the street and demand to see my credit cards.

    Nobody will assume I am a criminal if I don’t have a credit card or don’t have it on me.

    I am free to use a credit or not, as I wish.

    If I want I can do almost everything I need to without even possessing a credit card.

    I am pretty sure my credit card carries no hidden personal data which I wouldn’t want to share. If I’m wrong, I can dump it and get one that really doesn’t.

    Can you really not see any difference?

  • Andrew Duffin

    And of course (hit the “post” button too soon, D’Oh!) all the same arguments apply to mobile phones.

    No obligation to have one.

    Don’t want to be tracked? Turn it off!

    Etc
    etc

  • Antoine Clarke

    I have NEVER been asked for my French identification papers outside an airport or customs shed in France. Even when giving a statement in a Parisian police station.

    I have been asked to produce identification several times in London, by police officers.

    ID cards are a potential weapon for state oppression: the cards themselves are not the problem, I cheerfully carry a cheque guarrantee card issued by by bank. It is the power to stop and harrass people that is the problem.

    In London, the Metropolitan Police Service is a pack of low-life scumbags combining the enactment of political correctness to the point of nauseating absurdity and the petty tyranny of little Hitlers. They are the Droogs who’ve been signed up as cops (Clockwork Orange). I wouldn’t mind quite as much if they were remotely competent at pursuing criminals. But they are not: the mugging rate is higher in London than New York or Paris.

    I don’t care if the country I emigrate to has ID cards, but I will not pay one penny of income tax to the British State for the duration that it imposes ID cards. Call it a boycott if you will.

    The only alternative is a civil disobedience campaign where were burn our Passes at Speaker’s Corner.

  • Thwarted

    Andrew:

    You can be stopped at any time already and asked for identification. I take it you don’t hold a driver’s licence? I fail to recall the number of times that, as a youth, I would be stopped and asked not only for my ID but also to appear at the local copshop within seven days. Only the paranoid dwell on such things.

    Your credit card gives an often lengthy account of where you go and what you like — what brand of cigarette you smoke, and depending on what you use it for, even your sexual preference.

    As for not using a credit card or not using a mobile phone, I’d wager a large amount that you own both and wouldn’t/couldn’t give either of them up. So in that respect your argument is a little anaemic.

    Anyway, what I think you’re saying is that you have an inherent mistrust of the people who will ask for your ID card, rather than the ID card itself. I understand that, but you have to understand that I think you’re paranoid and silly.

    Antoine:

    Less caffeine, more exercise.

  • Thwarted wrote
    Credit cards…
    Mobile phones…

    So your credit card company or bank or mobile phone provider forced you to buy their services and told you if you did not pay £40 and hand over your fingerprints, iris scans and DNA in exchange for your little plastic card and mobile phone they would send the police round and you would be taken off to jail? It’s not the way I personally deal with my credit card provider or my mobile phone provider – I use my credit card when I choose, I do not have to present it at a police station or bank or anything like that within a couple of days if told to do so – I don’t have to use it at all – I was the one who went to the credit card company and applied for it (and they did not charge me for it or ask me to hand over any biometric data other than my signature). Employers do not insist that I present my credit card to prove ‘entitlement’ to work and I can access so-called public buildings without having to present my credit card or mobile phone to ‘officials’. My credit card company do not, to my knowledge, gather data on me about my religious beliefs, my political beliefs etc.

    I carry my mobile phone when it is convenient – usually it isn’t so it stays at home or switched off and there is nothing forcing me to subscribe to services telling me where to turn left for the cinema although location data is being gathered all the time the device is connected to the network. If you want to make it more difficult for your location to be tracked via your mobile phone’s communications it is possible to obtain pay-as-you-go mobile phones for cash – without handing over personal information – although I am led to believe the government is not very happy about this situation.

    Thwarted wrote
    So, ID cards? Been there, doing that.

    Not quite.

    Twarted also believes
    You can be stopped at any time already and asked for identification. I take it you don’t hold a driver’s licence? I fail to recall the number of times that, as a youth, I would be stopped and asked not only for my ID but also to appear at the local copshop within seven days. Only the paranoid dwell on such things.

    That’s not true. A police officer cannot stop me and ask me to produce my driver’s licence documentation, although if stopped when driving a car I could be asked to produce that documentation along with things like insurance details at a local police station within 14 days. I take it every time a police officer stopped you in your car and told you to attend a police station within a certain number of days you had committed a criminal offence or were highly suspect to have committed some kind of driving-related offence? (Afterall, we can trust the police to get the right people – ID cards just make it easier? The police don’t make mistakes so they need sweeping new powers and access to databases of personal information – we can rely on them?)

    Thwarted wrote
    As for not using a credit card or not using a mobile phone, I’d wager a large amount that you own both and wouldn’t/couldn’t give either of them up. So in that respect your argument is a little anaemic.

    I’d estimate that 80 percent of the time I do not carry my mobile phone on my person – maybe I’m just not important enough to be receiving calls all the time, who knows? I use my credit card when it is convenient for me to do so and I am prepared to have my buying logged. I do not need to use my credit card on the highstreet but it is a useful tool when making purchases via the Internet.

    Thwarted wrote
    Anyway, what I think you’re saying is that you have an inherent mistrust of the people who will ask for your ID card, rather than the ID card itself. I understand that, but you have to understand that I think you’re paranoid and silly.

    If you’re so confident about your personal security and, in the words of David Blunkett, you have ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’, why don’t you reveal your real full name and e-mail address on your posts? How about your home address? Date of birth? Why not publish your DNA data, iris scan information and fingerprints scans on the Internet to aid the police in catching criminals and fighting terrorism? What do you have to hide? Don’t worry – no one will misuse this information, it’s just so we can identify you.