With the Third Reading of the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005 in the House of Lords tomorrow, and its return to the House of Commons scheduled for next Monday13th February, the likelihood is that the NuLabour public relations machinery will be in full swing again, briefing newspapers and the broadcast media.
It is an intolerable abuse of power, when powerful politicians, with unlimited resources paid for by the taxpayer, focus their spin and disinformation machinery onto a single named individual, who is not a professional politician, who happens to disagree with some detailed Government policy.
Has everyone already forgotten the death of Dr. David Kelly and the subsequent Hutton Inquiry ?
If the Government disagree with the well respected LSE Identity Project report, then they should simply publish their own detailed system architecture and their detailed cost benefit analyses, and their project risk assumptions, to justify their proposed multi-billion pound expenditure of public money, on a scheme which will literally change the relationship between the Government and every person in the United Kingdom.
"If they have nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear".
The Government should not attempt to discredit either the London School of Economics, or the hundred or so experts who have contributed to the report, which is now required reading all over the world, by everyone who is working on e-government projects
They should definitely not focus on a single named individual, who does not have the opportunity to speak out under the protection of Parliamentary privilege.
Shamefully, this is what the NuLabour government has been doing to Simon Davies, who is now considering taking legal action against individual politicians, for their repeated campaign of defamatory statements to the press and media.
Ian Brown reports: "LSE visiting fellow threatens Blair with legal action"
The text of Simon Davies' letter to the Prime Minister:
2nd February 2006
The Rt Hon Tony Blair,
10 Downing Street,
London SW1 1AA
Dear Mr Blair,
Letter before Action
I was distressed to hear your comments during Prime Minister's Questions of 18th January relating to the London School of Economics' project on identity cards. You alleged that the report is the work of one man, a leading campaigner against ID cards. It would have been clear to anyone aware of the history of this claim that you were referring to me.
This slur has been repeated by numerous ministers, both inside and outside of Parliament and it is entirely untrue. It has also been made on numerous occasions by the Home Office. The effect of these claims on me, at a personal level, has been devastating. Its effect on the LSE and on the many authors of the reports has been at the very least disruptive and embarrassing, and possibly even damaging.
The claim was first made by Charles Clarke last June on the BBC's Today programme, during which he named me and then made a number of false allegations. These claims were subsequently repeated by other ministers. Baroness Scotland named me in the Lords in December, and as recently as this morning Andy Burnham repeated the claim during a press briefing.
The Director of the LSE, Howard Davies, wrote to you on January 20th to correct the statement made by you during PMQ. He has also written to other ministers in the same vein. More than sixty academics and a further forty external experts have contributed to the LSE work. Clearly this correspondence has been ignored and government has continued what can only be interpreted as a campaign to discredit the LSE and myself.
I am no longer prepared to tolerate such systematic and malicious deception and I have sought preliminary legal advice to determine my rights. I am therefore writing to advise that if this untruth is repeated at any point in the future I will proceed without notice with legal action against the individuals involved. If the allegation is again made in Parliament I will regard it as an intentionally misleading statement to the House, and will seek at every opportunity to have the matter dealt with in the appropriate way.
Notwithstanding this condition, I reserve my right to proceed with action on the basis of the statements already made outside Parliament.
I would request that you clarify this unfortunate and damaging situation by retracting your remarks and issuing an apology on behalf of the government.
Department of Information Systems
The London School of Economics
The Hon. Charles Clarke MP
The Hon. Andy Burnham MP
The Hon. Tony McNulty MP
The Baroness Scotland
It would be an embarrassing shame for the Government to continue with its ad hominem attacks on Simon Davies, which are unfair and which threaten the time honoured tradition of academic freedom in the United Kingdom.