So, the ID card shite is off the table for a bit. Which is obviously a good thing.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a bit of a cynical bastard. So, let me take you on a short journey through my thought processes at the minute.
ID Cards, as an issue, are somewhat thorny for a government. Undoubtably, they are a Good Thing from a government’s point of view. This is because they may result in a very small decrease in the crime stats, but they will make it that much easier to keep tabs on the portion of society who are law abiding.
By law abiding, I don’t mean they obey every law on the books, because that is quite frankly impossible, as there are so many laws, covering everything in life, and many of them are silly or indeed contradict other laws. I mean that they do their best to keep within the law, and would consider themselves to be law abiding. But everybody has a little something that they do that is against the law. Be it being a bit lax with speed limits, or buying smuggled cigarettes off of Dave down t’pub, or not declaring all their income. Nothing major, just the little acts of rebellion that everyone does without thinking.
ID cards will make it much, much, much easier to keep tabs on those sorts of people. You know, you, me, your mother, your aunt, your cousin Paul. It won’t stop Cletus down the road from beating his wife. It won’t stop Chardonnay from comming through Gatwick with a condom full of cocaine in her stomach. It won’t stop Paidraig from robbing the Northern Bank. It won’t stop Gordon from assraping you every March.
I.e., ID cards make it much easier to make criminals out of non-criminals, but do very little to actually prevent crime. If they came in, I’d expect a huge increase in the number of a) crimes committed, b) crimes solved and c) no noticable drop in the figures for serious crime (unless, of course, the government pulls a livingstone with the figures).
But all the new criminals who made a) and b) possible are all ‘law abiding': their assets are in the open, and they tend to turn up to courts, and obey things like bail conditions. In fact, from the point of view of the Home Office, they’re the perfect criminals: they’ll pay the fines, they’ll become poster kids for HO campaigns, and they’ll not reoffend.
Oh, and screw the ‘anti-terrorism’ shite they throw at you: ID cards are no use at all. Spain has ID cards, and that worked well, didn’t it? The Northern Ireland driving licence was used as a proxy ID card for most of the Troubles, and was stunningly successful. Hell, I see kids on a Friday night with convincing fake driving licences, and they’re only spending a tenner on them.
No, ID cards won’t secure the country, or stop serious crime. They will, however, make it that much easier to keep an eye on you and me.
Back to the point: while government statistics suggest that the majority are in favour of some kind of ID scheme, you can bet your ass that there will be no mass protests in the streets of London if nothing is brought in. It’s not the kind of issue that draws vocal, co-ordinated, passionate supporters.
It will draw a vocal, co-ordinated, passionate opposition, though. People who don’t think that Dave (smuggling a couple of cartons of B&H back from his holiday to pay for beer), or speeders, are sufficient reasons to sacrifice a large chunk of our liberty.
So, for all that a government would like to introduce such a scheme, it knows that it’s going to be in for a rough time if it does so. However, it seems mighty reasonable if it stops a scheme in it’s tracks.
Which is, to return to my original theme, my theory: they’ve been planning this for quite some time; since Howard showed his yellow belly on the issue. They’ve totally alienated a fraction of the population by seriously considering implementing compulsary ID, and that’s a lost cause. But they can now drop the issue (for a while), stab at the Tories, and seem very reasonable in the eyes of the majority of the population who don’t feel particularly strongly about the issue.
A masterstroke, if that is what happened.
Of course, it’s possible that it’s all a bit FUBAR, and I’m seeing far too much complexity. Blame the West Wing for that one.
Oh, and because I can, I’ll put in a bit of a quote and a proper rant:
He added the ID cards scheme was not due to come into force for 10 years so it was unwise and unnecessary to rush through a bill now.
Well, it’d be fucking unwise to even suggest proposing to write a bill, let alone actually writing it. It’s unwise beyond belief to actually try and pass the bill. And it’s world class unwise to try and rush such a bill.
Do you know what I want from this election? Stalemate. No clear majority held by any party. I want them to have to rely on the votes from smaller parties to get anything done. Why? Because it means that they’ll do less, and from my short time on this earth, my observation has been that the less that government do, the less harm they do. They’re like the clumsy drunk: the best you can hope from them is that they’ll sit still and shut the fuck up.
Yes, i’m fully aware that I tend to be that clumsy drunk. And what?