Opposition is mounting to the government’s ID card scheme. One reader’s story demonstrates perfectly why it should not go ahead.
Last Saturday marked the day in 1952 when the wartime ID card was abandoned by the British State after Harry Willcock, a dry cleaner from North London, was stopped for a traffic offence and asked by a policeman for his card. He refused on the grounds that it was an affront to his personal liberty.
The case went to appeal where Lord Chief Justice Goddard said: “From what we have been told it is obvious that the police now, as a matter of routine, demand the production of a national registration card whenever they stop or interrogate a motorist for whatever cause. This act was passed for security purposes: it was never intended for the purposes for which it is now being used.”
That is very much the point that has been made all along by NO2ID, one of the most brilliantly organised campaigns to emerge in Britain in the past 50 years. Owing to its grasp of the issues and unstinting scrutiny, opposition to the card is mounting. The TUC has passed a motion against the card; airline pilots, many of whom say they would rather lose their job than be forced to carry a card as an “airside worker” are taking legal action; Worcestershire county council has announced that it will oppose the scheme wherever it is lawful; and most devastatingly the Scottish government has called for the cancellation of the scheme.
“In the midst of a deep recession, with more job losses announced nearly every day, it simply beggars belief that the UK government is pressing ahead with its costly National Identity Scheme,” said Fergus Ewing the Scottish minister for community safety.
The ID card is not dead in the water yet but here is another story – from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous – which demonstrates why it should be. (Incidentally, it is a sign of things to come that people are so afraid of the Home Office and UK Borders agency that they will not allow their names to be used.)
She writes: “I’m a barrister, one of 15% from a state school background, dedicated to public interest work. In that spirit I volunteered for the United Nations mission in Nepal in 2007. There I met my now husband who had worked for the UN in his own country, Sierra Leone, since 2003 and then in Nepal where he will complete his contract.