Identity Cards Bill Update
NO2ID NEWSLETTER - Supporter's Newsletter No.21 - 31st May/1st June 2005
For a fortnightly newsletter to be nearly two weeks late is embarrassing, and it's all my fault. (Not the regular editor's.) I held it up initially to get the details of the Queen's Speech in, but since then a lot has happened, as I hope you have noticed. The question of ID control is now top of the agenda. It has made us rather busy.
Nevertheless, my apologies - Guy Herbert, General Secretary NO2ID
+ BLAIR MAKES ID-BILL "VIRILITY TEST"
Of all the dozens of Bills announced for the coming session, the Government has made it clear that the Identity Cards Bill will be the flagship. It is the most "modernizing", the one that is most Tony Blair's personal project. Which means that the Prime Minister has a great deal invested in getting it through. It is really hard to guess how this will play politically: Will uneasy government supporters be pushed back into line in order not to embarrass the administration? Or will those in the Labour Party who don't care about ID but don't much care for Mr Blair take the chance to weaken him?
+ THE SAME AGAIN -- OR IS IT?
The "new" Bill was published on 25th May. It is to be found here:
The changes are trivial. As ever, the Home Office is ignoring its critics. It has not even had the decency to change what the House of Lords Constitution Committee called its "misleading" title. However, NO2ID has been well prepared for the battle this time. We wrote a letter to every MP immediately after the election, tailored to each member's individual circumstances and providing a summary analysis of the issues. We are in touch with a lot of new people. We are gaining momentum, and the Government seems to be losing some. The demonstration on the morning of the Queen's Speech that we mounted in association with Liberty did not itself get huge coverage. But it was the springboard for yet more access to the media. Thank you to everyone who took part.
+THE MOOD HAS CHANGED
Our continual efforts to educate the press and public are paying off. Last September when NO2ID was getting established, there was no public interest. The introduction of the Bill in November was eventful only for the confusion in Tory policy. By the eve of the election everybody but the Government agreed the proposals were "controversial", but few were quite sure why. Now the press and opposition parties are united in their condemnation of the project. (All plausible Conservative leadership candidates are bitter opponents of the scheme, and the party's opposition to big government now looks coherent again.) It can only be pushed through by the Government machine with passive public acquiescence. The announcement of an increased estimate of the cost "of the card"-really of a registration-seems to broken the threshold of public consciousness. Now people are interested. That has been the trigger for the media to start carrying stories about the database, which they only rarely did before.
+ WHAT YOU CAN DO
You too, are a key player in the education process. As we always say to journalists and parliamentarians, state ID management would change our way of life fundamentally, so it ought to be discussed at every table and every bar. So engage your friends and acquaintances. Write to the local press. There's a list of thongs you can do here:http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/other.php But for the parliamentary battle that is to happen shortly, there is one thing above all others...
+ CONTACT YOUR (LABOUR) MP NOW
Almost all the parties are now committed to oppose the Government's legislation when it is brought forward again. But we need Labour backbenchers to rebel or Labour ministers to think better if it is to be stopped in the House of Commons. This is now a real possibility. So if you are in the majority of the population whose Member of Parliament is on the Government benches, then get in touch with them and tell them what you think of "Labour's Poll Tax". MPs do listen to their constituents. Even though a party loyalist may write the standard, approved, letter back, he or she will take notice, and might be influenced, if not to vote against, to find something very important to do elsewhere on the day of the debate. If you are a Labour Party member, or Labour voter, or former Labour voter, as many of our supporters are, so much the better. Do let them know how this legislation contradicts the interests and principles that you share. You can contact your MP without leaving the computer: http://www.writetothem.com/. What are you waiting for?
+PETITION PUSH WEEKEND
Our recent request to supporters to get friends and acquaintances to sign the petition resulted in nearly 2000 new supporters for the campaign in a week. Now we have nearly 15,000 supporters, we are taking the campaign off the web and on to the streets. Next weekend, 3rd/4th June, NO2ID local groups will be making a coordinated effort across the country to collect names and addresses ofopponents of the legislation across the country. Do help if you can: http://www.no2id.net/localGroups/index.php. Our target is to double in size: 15,000 new supporters is easily possible. It will show the Government the depth of opposition yet to be mobilised. It isn't necessary to have a recognised NO2ID Group to collect signatures. Every day's post brings , the petition and supporters forms that (sometimes unknown) individuals have taken round their acquaintances or collected on a street corner. So please have a go this weekend.
+ NO2ID LOCAL GROUPS
We now have 70 local groups. The latest ones are in Bedford, Fulham, and Swindon. Oxford, Leeds, and Sheffield are growing. Liverpool has lots of activity, and should soon have a group. Still there's a bit of a gap in the East Midlands, but there seems no particular reason why. If you'd like to become a local contact for your town, you should be a member and be prepared to be contacted by supporters and local journalists. We'll give you advice, some starter materials and a no2id.net email alias, but it will be your show. It is quite easy to make a big impact. This is a topic that people care about. Read our campaign guide at: http://www.no2id.net/downloads/index.php to see how it is done.
++ "ID" In the News
The Queen's Speech: I.D.IOTIC - Daily Mirror
"The battle for British liberties began yesterday following the announcement of a compulsory ID card scheme"
Price of ID card soars - Daily Mail
When the eyes don't have it - New Statesman & Observer
"This card will open the door to disaster"
+ US Congress Passes REAL-ID Act
Analysis from the Register
+ Dutch biometric passports to be introduced in 2006 - EU
Government Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold says biometric passports will come in in 2006.
Government in ID card talks with firms before Bill passed - The Times
More ID News at:
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter - Editor: email@example.com)
Publication details: (c) NO2ID 2005 - This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID.
NO2ID, Box No.412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP
I apologise for advocating action when I intend to take none myself; my mitigation is that I will be completely unable to partake of demonstrations, local campaign groups, et cetera, due to currently being employed overseas. As far as talking to the local press in Albion is concerned, The Rhexis has a team of writers and societal commentators, many from my local area, who are more than capable of doing so in my stead.
I have, of course, taken the minimum action and "signed" the online petition. I have also emailed my local MP (Dominic Grieves, Con-Beaconsfield), and I suspect (or rather hope) that Withiel has too (Paul Goodman, Con-Wycombe).
Get busy, lady and gentlemen.