National Identity Rape
(Lifts megaphone to lips.) REMEMBER ID CARDS? REMEMBER THE NATIONAL IDENTITY REGISTER? REMEMBER POLITICS?
WAKE back up, children. Developments to date:
1939 The National Registration Act is passed, introducing compulsory identity cards; the cards were seen as a way of protecting the nation from Nazi spies.
1952 Winston Churchill's government scraps ID cards on the grounds that they were not needed during peacetime.
1995 The Conservative government, led by John Major, issues a consultation paper on the idea of ID cards. The idea is later dropped.
1998 Jack Straw, then Home Secretary of the Labour government, raises the idea of a national ID card scheme. He is later persuaded against the idea and instead uses the money to finance extra policing.
2001 David Blunket, the current Home Secretary, first presents his ideas for an ID/entitlement card scheme as a means of tackling terrorism, immigration, identity fraud and access to public services.
2002 The Cabinet Office concludes that the creation of a single document could be beneficial in replacing the current documents used to establish identity, provided the system was accompanied by a secure process for the issue and use of ID cards.
The Government begins a public debate on its proposals to introduce a national identity cards scheme. The debate started with the publication of: Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud: A Consultation Paper, which sought the views of the public on 'Entitlement Cards'.
2003 The Government publishes the results of research into public attitudes towards an ID cards scheme. The consultation process demonstrates strong support for the idea; responding to findings from the consultation the term 'entitlement card' is replaced by 'identity card'.
The government publishes Identity Cards: The Next Steps, which outlines details of the Government's plans to introduce a national identity card scheme.
04/2004 Government publishes a draft Identity Cards Bill and consultation paper. The Home Affairs Select Committee carries out pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill and a report is published in July.
Government carries out further research among the general public to establish attitudes towards proposals for identity cards. This asks more specific questions about the details of the Government's proposals and the results show the public to be a lot less supportive of the idea than in 2003.
10/2004 Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee report and public consultation the Government publishes revised proposals for the introduction of ID cards.
2005 ID Cards Bill consistently marginally rejected.
03/2006 Act passed to make ID card and biometric registration compulsory with every passport application from 30th May 2006.
(Thanks to the Citizenship Foundation for details 1939-2004)
So. What do we do? Hm?
Any adult who applies for a UK passport prior to the end of May this year is therefore exempt from the current ID card and biometric registration legislation until such time as hir passport expires - i.e. for ten years. It's not a solution, but it's certainly a start. Get on it now, kids. Now.
One of the things that concerns me most about the UK's Orwell-god scheme is that, if it works, the EU and USA are more than likely to follow suit. My escape plan from any UK dystopia-quest has always been to renounce my British citzenship and retain my American nationality - or vice versa, vice versa. Unsatisfactory, but effective. I do not want my backdoors barred.