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Category Archives: ID Cards

No IDea

What is the biggest issue with the ID cards, the design of which was unveiled by Jacqui Smith this week?

Was it the growth of the single database recording everyone’s highly sensitive details in one place, especially given the Government’s impressive track record (cough) in protecting confidential data?

Was it the prinicple of the State holding such a quantity of data in the first place – knowing that once such a system is in place, it will be very tough to dismantle it?

Was it the irony that in a so-called free country, one shoudl not be able to walk out of one’s own house without a government-issued piece of plastic in the back pocket? (And please don’t start with the “it’s only voluntary” line – the card will be useless unless possession and presentation become compulsory.)

Was it the flimsiness of the “if you have nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” justification? After all, if I’ve nothing to hide, why should I have to prove it if I’m not a suspect of a specific crime? And anyway, who decides what’s worth hiding?

No, all these concerns are all lower down the list of searching and urgent questions to be asked of the ID card scheme – according to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 today – than the one key question;

Does the new design sufficiently represent the UK and all its constituent “nations”?

Yep. In the weird and wacky world of the BBC, it is the critical issue of whether all the Celtic fringes get their fair crack of the whip on the card design.

The conclusions? The English contributor (Rod Liddle) though it too European (fair point), the Scot was happy, as was the Welshman, and the Ulsterman thought it would start another argument between Unionists and Nationalists.

Nanny Knows Best … Who To Give Your Private Details To

Surely I’m not the only one who finds this somewhat sinister?

Data on people with low incomes could be shared with energy companies to help people pay their fuel bills.

The government wants to share details so extra cash from suppliers, as well as existing grants, can be better targeted at the elderly and vulnerable.

This could see information about who is on certain benefits shared with the suppliers, although new legislation would be needed to do this.

Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said that the sharing of data was “controversial, but justified”.

Nanny not only knows best, but knows to pass your confidential financial details onto a third party who has no business knowing what your income level is without your permission.

This is the government that wants us to believe that not only are our details in safe hands in the form of HMRC, but that all the eggs that will be held in the basket of the National Identity Database will be equally immune from danger. Yet, with the irrepressible and naïve belief in the benign benevolence of the state that only socialists can muster, they then propose handing over thousands of people’s highly personal financial details to the energy companies.

“Oh, but they can opt out” comes the usual refrain … yes, but presuming that this scheme seems to be aimed at those who cannot use a price comparison website (though see below), then what value is an opt-out provision?

In any case, two other points come out of this:

1) If the increase in “fuel poverty” is being fuelled (sorry) by the rise in energy prices, and the government is making significantly more from fuel taxes as a result, then surely the good socialist wealth-redistributing way of doing things would be to increase the winter fuel allowance?

2) In the case of some of the older generation, they don’t like to claim special circumstances or “plead poverty” – they are too proud … or simply unaware. That being the case, will they be at all impressed that their personal financial circumstances are being officially leaked to the “gas board”? And isn’t there an underlying and insulting assumption at play here that the elderly are too thick to work it out for themselves if you just pointed them in the right direction?