Monday, 20 December 2004

It's Official: Orwell Was Out By 21 Years

For those of you with any interest in maintaining what we currently describe as freedom and privacy, the time to write a strongly worded letter to your MP is now.

With the government about to easily get past the first stages of their ludicrous and unbelievably expensive ID cards bill, New Labour (or old Nazi, whichever you prefer) are now well on their way to knowing far more about you than they have any right to.

There are many excuses being offered regarding the introduction of these stupid cards. It will combat benefit fraud they say, and most of all, it will deter terrorists.

Both arguments carry no water at all.

As others have correctly pointed out regarding benefit fraud, most people attempting it lie about their circumstances, not who they are.

As for deterring terrorists, ID cards failed to stop the Madrid bombings and failed to stop the Hamburg cell from operating. The idea that having to blag an ID card is going to put a terrorist off his (or her, lets not be sexist) stride may seem dumb reasoning on behalf of the Government, but really, this line is being trotted out simply because New Labour think we still believe them about their terrorist threat bullshit, in spite of everything and are still scared by their bogyman logic.

Why come up with skilful, reasoned arguments for a population they believe will respond perfectly well to tactics popularised by the Witch finder generals of the dark ages?

There is another reason why the government are confident of public support on this one though, and that’s their contention that it will tighten up immigration.

Again, this desired state of affairs has failed to transpire in several other countries with ID card schemes such as France, Italy and Spain but that has not stopped the government engaging in the seedy and intrinsically racist practice of implying that ID cards will mean a few less funny coloured foreigners on the streets of coastal Britain.

It is facile arguments like the ones noted above which have many Britons convinced that ID cards are a good idea, but will they think it’s so great when they have to be fingerprinted, iris scanned and DNA sampled for the privilege of paying for their card?

Will they be so happy about the idea when it becomes an offence not to carry your card?

Will they be so ready to give up their liberty when they discover that the technology to use the card as a means of tracking its carrier is almost in place?

Dear, departed David Blunkett, who has being trying to sell himself in the papers as the working class hero brought down by the arrogant rich bitch this past week, spoke in terms of ID cards creating a “perfect audit stream” for it’s users, meaning the government fully intent to use the data the card provides to observe and monitor the population in ways that it currently cannot and should not. He was also happy to let MI5 and MI6 have full access to the entire system, no questions asked.

And of course, the thing that makes my blood boil is that we are being asked to pay for this vast and complex erosion of our civil liberties, to the tune of £6 billion.

After which we have to pay again for the actual cards.

It’s like the Nazis asking soon-to-be victims of Auschwitz for train fare.

When my wife and I conceived our child the world was a pretty rough and ready place. But it wasn’t an Orwellian nightmare where a copper could stop you in the street and demand your papers like some Czech peasant in a war movie.

I think she will have some grounds for complaint if I don’t try to do something to preserve the freedoms I took and still take for granted as a UK subject.

While we may not be in “Big Brother” territory right at the moment, who is to say who will come to power in the future when this system is fully operational? I know it’s difficult to imagine a Government more sinisterly authoritarian than our current shabby band outwith the movies, but history has shown us it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

In the meantime, I am going to write my MP a letter asking him why Tony Blair needs to know where I am at any given time.

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