Secularism

No IDea

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Tory bloggers aren’t happy at all about Michael Howards decision to support the introduction of ID cards.

In protest Peter Briffa says he is going to vote Liberal Democrat (or for ‘those wankers’ as he put it).

The blog called The England Project has set up the 1952 Committee to collect the disillusioned together. 1952 was the year in which Winston Churchill abolished war-time ID cards.

I’m obviously not losing any sleep about the Tories falling out with each other and having yet another clearly useless leader. But, if it is possible to be objective then you have to say – what an own goal.

Of course if Labour wanted to be really cunning, they could now drop the plan and leave the Tories with the option of a hilarious U-turn or being lumbered with an unpopular policy they didn’t really want. Is that called reverse triangulation?

Anyway, as for the issue at hand – I’ve lived with ID cards in various parts of Europe over the years and have never felt repressed by the state as a result of having them in my wallet so I find it hard to get excited by the alleged threat they pose.

But nor have I ever felt safer as a result of them or believed they were stopping crime or terrorism. If, like most Europeans, you have never known anything else but having an ID card then the debate in the UK seems very odd. People in Europe are frequently surprised that the British manage alright without them.

But we do manage without them and the idea of introducing them in the UK seems odd and unnecessary. There are a number of arguments against ID cards that focus on how ineffective and costly they will be but the strongest case against cards combines libertarianism with conservativism – it is that we just don’t do them, they go against the grain, against the rights of the free born Englishman and all that.

If that isn’t a natural Tory position then I don’t know what is.

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