Saturday, 2 May 2009

Stand Up If You Like ID Cards

I am really trying hard to appreciate the benefits of ID cards. I have listened to people who support them. It would safeguard our borders from illegal immigrants. It would mean that criminals would have to identify themselves. ID cards were not a problem during World War II when we had to carry these cards.

On the first point, you have probably seen the lengths that some immigrants will go to in order to get into this country. The need for a card will either be meaningless to these people who will still risk life and limb to get here, or they would find a black market that would give them an identity card. I can't see an advantage to the second point that criminals could be identified. If someone is arrested then the appropriate measures can be taken to make sure they are brought to justice. No card is needed. Thirdly, there are many restrictions on freedom that are acceptable during wars that are not acceptable during peacetime.

Since the idea of ID cards was first raised in 2001 by David Blunkett, I have always felt that compulsory ID cards were a waste of money and could make criminals of us all. Forget your compulsory card and you would be a criminal. If you were not a criminal then the whole idea was a waste of time. Also take the idea of illegal immigrants. If you policed people who looked like immigrants and checked on their ID, what is the difference between this vigilance and obvious racism? One common defence of restrictions of our liberty is to say 'you have nothing to fear if you are innocent'. Well what if you accidentally forget your card? You become guilty.

I read today (29th April) that Mr Blunkett has called for ID cards to be scrapped. Stand up those who are still in favour of ID cards.

Change the world

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