1984-2007

I have long been an opponent of the introduction of ID cards in the UK. Although we are allegedly in a state of war at the moment, the antagonists in this country are genuine UK citizens for the most part and as such would not be caught if a police officer asked to see their papers before they blew themselves up. Assuming we believe the reasons the government are giving us for the introduction of these cards, then I would say that this plan is based on mistaken assumptions.

Conversely, due to my belief in the necessity of proper enforcement of our immigration laws, I believe that biometric passports are a reasonably sensible idea. It does, however, disturb me that the collection of this kind of data would be made mandatory as part of the ID card system. To add insult to injury, the government want the public to pay a fee for these cards…

So imagine my horror at reading this report on the BBC News site. Oh yes, the illustrious Blair government want to fingerprint children as a matter of course. So now our biometric data is not our own. A database would necessarily have to be created for this data to be useful and, of course, such a database would be open to abuse. The idea of using the database to correlate finger prints with those stored for unsolved crimes has already been mooted. I never believed that the UK was turning into a police state but this whole thing is starting to give me Orwellian shivers. The way we discipline our children is regulated. The way we eat is being increasingly regulated. The amount of toilet paper we use when we take a shit is coming up for a debate in Parliament next Tuesday.

CCTV on every street corner makes me feel safe. The context of monitoring crime makes the odd camera innocuous as far as I’m concerned. But what happens when the definition of what a crime is changes? In a society where we tread a fine line every time we beat our kids, it’s no wonder that youngsters are out of control. It’s true that these days you are constantly in danger of prosecution if you work with children. Child protection laws weigh too heavily in favour of juvenile delinquents. In the meantime a behaviour that was once regarded as safe and normal is a criminal act. My point here is twofold: when innocent behaviours become crimes the CCTV camera becomes a dangerous breach of civil liberties and society gets divided into those who play the system and those who get raped by it.

The next parliament will be hung. I doubt Labour will win enough votes at the next election to form their own government and the regenerated Tories do not have enough support as yet. But Brown’s leadership will still get the chance to send us up shit creek, by the looks of things.

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~ by Scary Rob on 4 March, 2007.

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