The abrupt end to the parliamentary wrangling over what we must now get used to calling the Identity Cards Act 2006 has taken many people by surprise. (Not least the parliamentary draftsmen, who find themselves with internal references to the Identity Cards Act 2005 in places.) I still can’t quite figure out what happened, but am starting to think the timing is a matter of Tory electoral and media strategy.
For those benighted souls who are not yet subscribers to NO2ID‘s newsletter, here is our declaration of intent.
The Bill has passed – now the real fight begins.
One of our key tasks is to make the ID scheme politically unsupportable BY ANYONE. We have to make running on a platform that supports (in fact, that does not actively oppose) compulsory registration, a National Identity Register and ID cards political suicide for any party or politician going into any sort of election.
This is a long term goal, but one that is absolutely achievable in stages. We are already winning hearts and minds – a 30% shift in public opinion to date – and will continue to do so.
The Government knows that it has to win people over, too – it can’t simply bully its way to its goal, like it did in parliament. But it’ll be hampered by the scheme’s costs spiralling out of control (with the attendant blast of bad publicity every 6 months), the technology failing (predictably or spectacularly), having to background-check and fingerprint perfectly law-abiding citizens, screwing up 1 in 10 (or more) people’s details, issuing a card that is basically no use for anything much but scraping ice off your windscreen until 2013 (except maybe ‘travel within Europe’ – but then you’re getting the thing alongside a proper passport…), etc., etc., etc. PLUS all the stuff we’re going to do!
In May, there are local elections.
We ask that, before the elections, every NO2ID supporter and ID opponent in the country asks every single one of their potential representatives their position on ID cards, and makes it clear to them (especially those who defend the ID scheme) that they will NEVER vote for a supporter of compulsory registration or ID cards. This is not (yet) a ‘decapitation’ strategy, nor are we proposing tactical voting in May – but if enough people do this, the aspiring political class will begin to sit up and take notice.
How many letters, e-mails or meetings will this take? We cannot say. But if you get no response, send another letter – always keep copies – and start writing to your local paper, too: “This candidate refuses to engage with the genuine concerns of a potential constituent, how fit for office can (s)he be?”. Turn up at hustings and wave copies of your unanswered letters. At some point you’ll get a response – and the longer it takes, the worse the candidate looks. If you do get an interesting response, e.g. vehement opposition to the scheme by a Labour candidate, do let us know [send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org].
None of this is hard to do. It just requires that enough of us get organised and DO it.
Please start this weekend – find out who your candidates will be. Get their addresses. Write the first letter, construct a questionnaire, see if any of them will respond to e-mail (but don’t rely exclusively on it). And follow through.
In the next five weeks you could sow the seeds of defeat for the ID scheme in your area, but you’ll never know unless you try.
National Coordinator, NO2ID
What did you do in the war for freedom, Daddy?
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