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Tail wags dog

I quite often stumble across snippets of news which touch upon so many big themes and ideas that they would easily support an entire political thesis. As it is, and as it’s blogging here, I shall confine my comments to the mere immediate and obvious.

And I suppose the most obvious conclusion to be drawn from this item is that the Home Office is not the only department of government to have embraced the desire for ID cards:

The Department of Health yesterday called for the use of identity cards to prove entitlement to free care as it acted to put an end to “health tourism” – the exploitation of NHS loopholes by visitors from abroad.

To avoid problems of racial discrimination everyone would have to show their card before they received non-emergency treatment.

In the meantime the prospect of proving identity or residency by showing a passport or a utility bill is being considered.

No surprises there really. HMG is running out of money so cutbacks in largesse are the order of the day (okay, today) and, in the first instance, that means no more free health-care for foreigners. In the fullness of time this restriction will extend to the elderly, children and, quite possibly, the sick.

We also now know (as if we didn’t already suspect) that ID cards are not just Mr.Blunkett’s obsession but a technocratic fetish that has gripped our entire governing elite. I wholly expect to see successive government departments producing their own niche raisons d’ID card’ over the coming months.

There is a damn good argument that can be used to undermine the state here but, in order to wield it effectively, our friends on the left are going to have to embrace that time-honoured (but generally despised) libertarian truism about public ‘services’ eventually becoming public ‘masters’.

‘Free’ ends up being very expensive.

1 comment to Tail wags dog

  • Mark Ellott

    I recall many years ago as a child, my father telling me that whoever you vote for is somewhat irrelevant – politicians are ephemeral. Civil servants run the country. How else does a tired idea once propounded by Michael Howard reappear a few years later from the Right Hon Blunkett?