I am old enough to remember the run-up to the 1979 general election, and a lot of what swung that for Thatcher was the feeling that our country seemed about to descend into a state of South Americanness. This extraordinary lost data discs business is, I think, particularly wounding to the Brown regime, for it gives off that same vibe, of a government descending into anarchy, and not in a good way. The whole world is now sniggering at Britain.
However, good news for Brown comes from a commenter on this posting at Guido’s:
There are about 13million children under the age of 16, most of whom have two parents. So that gives us about 25million individuals listed. However, only about a quarter of these will have bank details listed, so the BBC’s claims that the bank details of 25million people have been lost is actually misleading. It is probably about 7million.
Oh, only seven million. That’s okay then.
This comment reminds me of an amazing peacenik meeting I once attended, almost as long ago as the 1979 election, in which the speakers on the platform all took it in turns to explain how ghastly a nuclear explosion over a built-up area would be and that therefore we should chuck away our nuclear weapons, and a particularly bonkers middle-aged woman in the audience, called Daphne if I remember it right, got up to explain that actually, if you got lucky with the prevailing wind, and if proper civil defence measures were taken, it might not be that bad. The looks on the faces of the platform speakers were truly treasurable. I got up and said that the speakers certainly had me convinced me that nuclear war would indeed be rather nasty, and how about the replacement of Soviet communism with liberal democracy, as the least implausible way to end the nastiness? But that’s another story.
Getting back to this lost discs thing, I agree with everyone else here who is, quite rightly making such a fuss of this business. Don’t collect the damn data into these huge compulsory gobs in the first place.
Whatever David Cameron, says now …
Mr Cameron said people were “desperately worried” and they would “find it frankly weird” that Mr Brown still wanted to go ahead with plans for a national ID cards scheme and register.
… his conclusion if and when he becomes Prime Minister (which this whole thing makes that much more likely) will presumably be that it will be a sufficient answer for his noble self to be in charge of the government’s compulsory databases, and that all will then be well.
But it does occur to me, just as Black Wednesday saved the pound from being swallowed up by the Euro – which it surely did, whatever you think about that – this fiasco might just have done something similar to the database state. Not abolished it, or even reversed it seriously, but at least thrown a bit of a spanner into its works. Suddenly, ID cards are looking truly scary, combining malevolence with incompetence – Soviet even – to Mr and Mrs Average. I wrote that before reading what Guy Herbert said in the previous posting but one here, and I see that he reaches an identical conclusion. If so, good. Campaign for Database Disarmament anybody?