At a time when Labour is fighting a rearguard action trying two stave off losing the next election, the Prime Minister comes out with a proposal in stages to ultimately give us all identity cards, a subject which I believe is a total anathema to the whole nation. The strangest part of it is that the Tories have stated categorically that if they come to power, they will do away with the proposal that we should ultimately all require to have a card. Labour proposes to bring it in, in stages, with immigrants being the first to require a card. This is a sop to those who feel that there are too many immigrants here without permission. I realise that in the next few days everybody with a blog will be bleating, some writing in the newspapers, or talking on television or the radio, and condemning that this proposal should be taken much further than the first stage, although the government is intending that the next stage includes students. I am writing because not only do I think the general scheme is wrong, too expensive and totally unnecessary in the wider context, but I am worried that we are opening a door to enable the world’s criminal elements to obtain all our vital information.
When I was a student I was told that it was possible to duplicate someone’s fingerprints on to an article by using something like Sellotape, and that was 50+ years ago. If you study crime at all, you will find that from the dawn of time every scheme to thwart the thief was ultimately bypassed by the thieves. The greatest example of this is the level of criminality being perpetrated on the Internet, being cancelled year-on-year and bypassed year-on-year. The government seems to be making these cards too sophisticated for everyday need, with the result that they will cost a fortune to design, for the machinery to implement them and check their validity, with all that means in centres throughout the country, and with stop and such etc. At the end of the day more records are probably going to have to be kept by the various authorities, insurance companies, and employers, opening up more opportunities for fraud, and wasting the time of all those people keeping these records.
The most heinous part of this proposal is that the government itself cannot keep control of the information, so why should we give it to them to hand out again, either by theft, negligence, or just plain pure stupidity? All I can say is that I’m grateful that I am so old I am unlikely to qualify for any more identity cards, discs or even secret handshakes, I’m just sorry that those coming behind may not be so lucky.