+ IMPORTANT NEWS +The fight to halt the accelerating erosion of our rights to privacy and democratic freedoms by our government of corrupt, utterly dishonest, quasi-Soviet Statists is very much alive.
** The ID scheme has NOT been shelved, cancelled, or even significantly changed **
Once more government spin has triumphed and much of the media has got it wrong. The new Home Secretary Alan Johnson has not made any significant changes to the scheme. Compulsion by stealth is still the order of the day, just as it always was. Someone joining the ID scheme 'voluntarily' will still be placing control of their identity in the hands of the IPS for life.
The Home Office line remains the same. No compulsion (as the Home Office defines it) was going to be applied until almost everyone had 'volunteered' and then it was only a matter of rounding up a minority of resisters and marginalised people.
The Home Office's idea of "voluntary" is not the same as yours and mine. Since 2004 the scheme was (and it still is) to proceed by "designating" one-by-one under the Identity Cards Act 2006 other documents issued by official bodies -- in the first place passports.
Once a document has been designated, you won't be able to apply for one without also applying to be entered, for life, on the national identity register. If you don't agree to be registered it won't be that you are refused (say) a passport; you'd have voluntarily decided not to apply. There's no compulsion to have a passport. It is useful for travelling. But you aren't compelled to travel.
Or (say) to drive. Or to work as a security guard. Or with children. Or in healthcare. To get parole from prison. To practice as a lawyer. ... Any official licence, registration certificate or permit can be designated, and -- in the home office's skewed logic -- handing control of your identity to the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service will still be entirely voluntary.
That they were due for a confrontation with the airside worker's unions over designating new passes at Manchester and City Airports is an illustration of just how voluntary "voluntary" really is. But the fact they have now ducked that fight for political convenience suggests saying no does work - if you say it loudly enough.
--- It is still not too late for MPs to derail the scheme by repudiating the regulations due to be debated next week and detailed in the last newsletter. Only one of those statutory instruments has been dropped.
If you have not done so already, please contact your MP: http://www.writetothem.com (NO2ID's lobbying guide, written for us by the former assistant of a very distinguished retired minister, is brusque but absolutely to the point: http://www.no2id.net/
Peers will also have a vote on this; so if you happen to know one (or be one), then it would be a good idea to alert friends in the Lords now that the matter is soon to come up.
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