Friday, February 17, 2006

Dear Sir,

I’m still addicted to writing to newspapers. Today the Guardian has kindly included one of mine but unfortunately they’ve put it in with this cluster which is mainly about ID cards. My swipe at Chris Huhne’s article and the LibDems was really directed at their opposition to the terrorism bill. And it's always good to have a pop at Simon Jenkins.

I don’t buy the “Slice by tiny slice, we are waking up in a society where our traditional freedoms are draining away” line that Mr Huhne was peddling. Or the assertion in his title that “Our freedom is at stake”. There is no evidence to support the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ theory that is often trotted out when the police or secret services are given some more powers. There is no evidence that Britain is becoming anything remotely like a police state.

The ID card furore also leaves me cold. The Government, Tesco and my insurance company to name but a few already hold enough information on me and pretty well everyone else for a mythical future “military dictatorship” to use against its citizens if it so wished. And I don’t think much of the line of reasoning that goes ‘it won’t solve every problem so let’s not solve any’. Having an ID card would have made it easier to sign up for Jobseekers allowance and to become a member of Gloucestershire Ambulance Trust’s PPI Forum – now don’t tell me you’ve never heard of that? And I want a passport that will let me into the USA…...


At 19:16, Blogger Aidan Brack said...

The issue of ID cards is one I find myself divided on.

I don't think an ID card in and of itself is necessarily a bad thing (I don't like the idea of people being forced to produce it, but I do like the idea of biometric checks on debit and credit cards). I do however think there have to be incredibly strong checks to protect our information now that it will all be gathered in the one place (whilst Tesco and your insurance company do have some of your details, they do not have a complete set).

I remain unconvinced of the value-for-money of the proposal and I think the argument that this will prevent terrorism is somewhat of a nonsense, although it may make it easier to assertain exactly how something was done retrospectively. The identity theft argument is the more compelling one.

At 08:26, Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

I used to be against ID cards but when I came to Belgium of course I had to get one. I'm now wholeheartedly in support. There's no kerfuffle over your rights or identity, service providers can see all the necessary data on you and thus don't waste your time with the whole name-and-address business, and you can use it for intra-EU passenger travel quite often. And I do think it cuts down on benefit and identity scams.

At 19:58, Anonymous Camden Lady said...

I'm with Aidan on this one. Don't really mind, but can't see why the government is wasting our money on it. After all, its not like they have a great track record of implementing IT project on time and to budget.

And I am tired of hearing that they'll help prevent terrorism. All those 7 July bombers had ID on them. They wanted to be identified. How would ID cards have prevented that.


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