Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 26 April 2004

Draft legislation for ID cards published today

Home Secretary David Blunkett today published his draft Bill to provide for ID cards in the UK. The Bill contains provisions for registration to be made compulsory, but Parliament has until 2013 to decide - I am curious to know the details of this aspect and will have to read the draft Bill in due course so I understand precisely what is intended. There are many questions left unanswered in this report, which by its nature can only be a brief summary of what will undoubtedly be a very complex piece of legislation. For example, the GBP2,500- fine it mentions will presumably apply to non-registration only after this becomes compuslory, if this ever happens. However, it also mentions that the carrying of false papers will become a criminal offence and presumably this aspect will become effective immediately cards become available for issue, although what is not clear from the report are the circumstances in which sight of this form of ID may be requested (pre-2013) or demanded (post-2013). Of course, I magine that Parliament could decide subsequent to this date, at any time, to introduce legislation to make it compuslory.

I suspect that one 'tactic' that will be adopted to increase the level of take-up during the non-compuslory phase will be to make non-possession increasingly inconvenient and the fact that a much higher proportion of the UK population is now in receipt of some kind of 'benefit' from the government (as a result of policies enacted by the Labour party since it came to power in 1997) will ensure that it has the mechanism to prevail upon/coerce (take your pick) a very significant part of the population to take the easy option and pay for a card during the non-compulsory phase. For the next dozen or so years, at the very least, I will not be in receipt of any form of benefit/bribe/pension (take your pick) from the government, but presumably once I reach state pension age (currently 65 for men and 60 for women) there will be no escape if compulsory registration has happened by then. The predictions of Eric Blair (the real name of George Orwell) for the future of the UK may yet turn out to be eerily accurate ...

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