The Father of Conservatism

My photo
Herein lies the Ghost in the political machine of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke. Much like Max Weber arguing with the Ghost of Marx, this blog seeks to make relevant and where appropriate support or reject Burke's 'Reflections' against the backdrop of the disastrous New Labour experiment.

Friday, 8 May 2009

ID cards are much more philosphical than they are economic failures

The great ID card debate, yet again triggered by the trial run in Manchester this week, is being fought by the Conservatives on the wrong premise - that of ‘cost’ to the tax payer.

Yes, the scheme will costs billions and is a complete waste of public money in the current climate, but the very notion of compulsory ID cards is far more philosophical and ideological than they currently make out.

The arguments used by Jackboot Jacqui that ID cards will help combat cyber crime, fraud and illegal immigration is tosh. I say this on firstly a very practical level that anyone and everything can be cracked, copied, stolen, forged - nothing is fully proof. If humans designed it then it is bound to have faults. If anything, ID cards will trigger a black market for people’s biological and physiological data.

On to the ideological, however and we begin to see how at odds this Labour Government is with individual autonomy and personal regulation. For starters, ID cards are not the same as passports because we as individuals exercise our right, granted by our Monarch, of safe passage to a foreign land. Passports, therefore act as a way of external control; in short - a freedom to leave this nation and frequent another. Again, this is your own choice, I am not compelled to leave these lands with a passport.

ID cards work on the completely opposing vision, they are to keep people in and to control them. By making them compulsory, it will be illegal for you not to have one, you have no choice/freedom in the matter. For you to have free movement in your own country you would have to have this ID card, when surely your birth right should be free and unhindered passage in the land of your birth. So it is not a case of needing an identification to leave (a passport) but identification to move within your own boarders.

This corralling and controlling device is utterly against British Liberty and it beggars belief that a British political party is even considering this totalitarian endeavour.

The same principle is applied to a driving license, we only have one if we want to drive a car, those who do not, shouldn’t be forced to get one - you have a choice. While having a driving license is sensible, having an ID card with biometric data is not, as any choice in the matter is strangled at birth. Imagine ID tagging babies the moment they come out of the womb, it would be like Auschwitz - Hair/eyes/blood/finger prints - it’s a complete invasion of human dignity not to mention liberty.

Taking finger prints should be if you are found guilty of a crime, so when we hear stories of the police storing finger prints of innocent people and will continue to keep this information for years to come, it undermines the fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty. This appears against the backdrop of allowing criminals the vote on the grounds of their human rights. What about UK citizens and their rights to a free and non-coerced life in their homeland?

There are also schools which have taken to finger printing their pupils in cases of stolen library books, with a more widespread agenda to roll this out for the register and school meals. We will make our children feel like barcodes not young citizens.

In addition, the underhand ‘co-opting’ of new students to be imposed with an ID card scheme in return for a student bank account smacks of blatant blackmail as it looks to dictate to impressionable young people who may not know their full rights as citizens.

Jackboot’s rationality is that: "We want to be able to prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain.” How about for a start not letting a flood of people to enter the UK every day. We could tighten our boarder police force; make it more difficult for unqualified migrants to enter the UK; and abandon this failed multicultural mission.

This lunacy is compounded by people who clearly hate this country and wish to see it destroyed being found not guilty in our biased-liberal courts system. Or if they are found guilty, but complain on the grounds of their human rights at the EU court they are as a result set free.

Without going too populist with headlines such as ‘Big Brother State’ and ‘CCTV capital of the world’, the UK does have large philosophical issues to discuss; if the ruling elite really does think that a free and democratic citizen needs to be compelled to receive an ID card at their own expense, then we really do need a revival of civic debate on such a constitutional and intrinsic position.


Vespasian6979 said...

Well, let's have a debate based on the ID card scheme we have, rather than the one you seem to think we have. First, it's voluntary for the vast majority of people, not compulsory. Second, Manchester is the starting location of the national rollout, not a trial or pilot. Third, lets debate if a biometric plus biographic system of idenity verification is better than the existing biographic only system.

Rt. Hon. E.B. said...

Hi there, thanks for commenting. Addressing your points, I concede that the issue of Manchester is a ‘roll out’ not a trial run, in my haste I phrased it like this; however if the application uptake is extremely low in Manchester then I doubt there will much impetus for this scheme to be spread out across the UK. So in a sense Manchester is the first ‘live test’ subject.

As for the ‘voluntary for the vast majority of people,’ granted at present it is voluntary, but surely this wont be a practical scheme if it doesn’t become compulsory in the long term, as then all the people thinking of committing certain acts will not get one, so therefore only law-abiding people will be using them.

In addition, this ‘compulsory’ element is creeping in, just like everything this Labour Government does, for example pilots who want to go airside are unable to do so unless they have an ID card, so therefore they are in effect involuntary told get one. It’s that or stop being a pilot. I do not wish to see people not being allowed to go for certain jobs simply because they object to the issue of ID cards, this is underhand and certainly not an act of freedom by a government.

Thirdly my position, as stated on the original post, is philosophical, not so much addressing the practical at this stage. I object to the introduction of ID cards on the notion that I shouldn’t have to give the State my biometric data against my will; unless I have committed a certain crime.

Again, I refer to my example of passports acting as an external and voluntary act of free movement verses a use of an ID card to keep people within a nation - it is internal regulation which watches over movement. Yes this can be done present to varying degrees with your credit card purchases or your oyster card (the latter is rather harrowing though) however having finger prints, iris and DNA data tagged on is for me starting to become highly objectionable.