The government is pressing ahead with the piloting of the ID cards scheme in Manchester, despite Manchester’s complete and utter indifference:
96% of respondents in a recent Manchester Evening News online poll opposed the scheme. Fewer than 2,000 people in the north-west have “expressed interest” in the ID cards, and that number includes opponents like myself.
Despite lack of interest, the government is still pushing ahead with the scheme, spending £230,000 every day to bring it about. Its current claims are that it is a cheap, convenient way to prove your identity.
An ID card costs £30 initially, compared with £77.50 for your first adult passport – but for now you need a passport to apply for an ID card. Regardless, the ID card scheme costs every taxpayer about £300. It would save money if the government instead gave everyone a free adult passport when they turn 16. The passport cost has also increased from £42 in 2005, only £8 of which can be justified for meeting international standards for the insecure “e-Passports”.
I don’t need to carry about vast quantities of paperwork with me on a daily basis to prove my identity or address. I rarely need anything more than my bank card to talk to my bank. A card that lives in my wallet is something I’m more likely to lose – and risk the fine for not reporting a lost ID card..
Clearly, I don’t want an ID card and shouldn’t register. But why am I protesting against it? It’s a voluntary scheme, and people can take it or leave it, right?
Well yes. It depends though on whether or not you want ever to leave the country on holiday or on business again. It’ll depend on whether or not you want to end up at university. And with function creep already driving the Independent Safeguarding Authority’s Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS), that’ll only be the tip of the iceberg. Voluntary yes, but compulsory by stealth. It strikes me that Manchester though has already moved beyond those arguments – the city both doesn’t know the pilot is taking place and doesn’t see the need for it. And why should they? As Home Office minister Meg Hillier said to them:
“But another real benefit is that once you have registered no-one can steal your identity” and “the databases will be very secure – think Police National Computer. No-one will be able to download information and it will not be on PCs on people’s desks.”
Except haven’t I read they’ve already been cloned? And since when are government databases secure? People’s information won’t be safe on ID cards, and given that abundantly clearly innocent people are being accused of terrorism merely for taking pictures of sunsets or high streets, how can anyone have any faith in why the government needs this scheme to succeed? Of course the reason why they need it to succeed is quite sinister: they want to recast the entire nature of identity for the 21st century. ID cards are a vital component for how these people see people’s relationship with government in the future, and they will use any argument, threaten every punishment, conceal every truth in order to make it happen. It must be resisted at all costs, not just ignored. Hillier went on to say:
“The penalty charges are really an encouragement to keep info up to date – this only actually affects your address. The main beneficiary of up to date address is the card holder so we don’t envisage many people not complying.”
See? ‘We’ll punish you for your own good.’ It’s authoritarian and quite quite despicable.