Home Secretary Charles Clarke in his Commons Third Reading speech on the Identity Cards Bill, managed to repeat, yet again, some of the discredited arguments which he has used before.
I believe that it will not remove civil liberties but will give an individual greater control over his identity.
Some have alleged that the Bill will create a Big Brother state. I do not believe that. I believe that it will help to control that state.
Readers of this blog should not be surprised if we agree with Charles Clarke that "this Bill will not create a Big Brother state".
It can be argued that NuLabour have already put enough legislation on the Statute Books to create the legal basis for a Police State at the drop of a hat e.g. the Terrorism Act 2000, the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, the forthcoming Terrorism Bill 2005 etc.
It is just NuLabour's lack of a clear ideological vision of anything except hanging on to power, and their self delusion that they are doing this all for the public good, combined with the silent resistance, or perhaps just inertia, of the judiciary, the civil service, the police and the military which has prevented the worst and most blatant form of a Police State being inflicted on us. The lack of a current major economic or public health disaster has also contributed to preserving the status quo, for now.
We totally disgree that "it will help to control that state."
The alleged safeguards and oversight in this Bill are totally inadequate.
He went on to say:
"Let me reassert the benefits of the scheme. First, ID cards will help to tackle identity fraud, which now costs the UK economy and society more than £1.3 billion a year.
We are fed up with calling this claim "misleading", the constant repetition makes it a downright lie, which has been exposed several times
e.g. Evening Standard: Andrew Gilligan demolishes the £1.3 billion identity fraud hype.
Secondly, a secure identity system will help to prevent terrorist activity, more than a third of which makes use of false identities.
This is yet another often repeated falsehood
Are these false British identities being used by terrorists ? How about the two thirds who presumably use their real identities ?
This is a repetition of disgraced former Home Secretary David Blunkett's misleading spin before the Home Affairs Committee about false or multiple identitiies which has been repeated over and over by Blunkett, Brown, Clarke, McNulty and Burnham ever since.
Thirdly, identity cards will make it far easier to control immigration and illegal working,
The Metropolitan Police's Operation Maxim seized thousands of falsely applied for and fake identity documents used by illegal immigrants, serious criminals like human traffickers etc. The vast majority of these, over 93%, were foreign documents , not British ones. Even a perfect UK ID Card scheme will therefore have almost no effect on terrorists or serious criminals or on illegal immigrants.
and British citizens will be able to use their identity cards instead of a passport to travel in Europe.
What is the supposed advantage to the individual of an ID card over a Passport for this purpose ?
Fourthly, ID cards will secure the more efficient and effective provision of public services"
How ? None of the other Government Departments are willing to dip into their own budgets to pay for this, are they ? Most of the integration needed for "joined up e-government" e.g. sorting out common name and address records, can be done without a mandatory centralised biometric database. See the Treasury's "plan B" Citizen Information Project