I’ve long known that identity is something that comes from you, not from the state. I’ve known it without knowing that I knew it; it’s probably only since I watch The Prisoner that I became aware of it. And it’s only since I became a tad more educated by smart folk that I’ve been able to explain it concisely.
But now that I know what I know, and now that I can explain it, I should state that I’m pretty fucked off that the Identity & Passport Service is so openly acting like this.
For years I’ve been saying that an national ID card represents a fundamental shift in the balance of ownership of the country. As it is, we are individuals who make up a country. We choose who we are, and the state deals with that. If we have an Identity service then the state decides who we can be, and we have less say in it.
From that article:
Eileen De Bont, 37, a receptionist, legally adopted the name of the BBC appeal’s mascot and updated her documents.
However, when she sought a new passport in the name of Pudsey Bear her application was turned down.
Mrs Bear, a mother-of-two daughters aged 10 and 13, changed her name legally through the UK Deed Poll Service and sent off her driver’s licence, bank cards, credit cards and tax forms to have them altered.
The Identity & Passport Service, which addressed her as ‘Mrs Bear’, told her in a letter: “It is deemed to be a frivolous change of name, which would bring IPS into disrepute. It could also pose problems for you at border control in some countries.
“IPS is not questioning the validity of the deed poll, however, it is not prepared to issue a passport in a frivolous name which could compromise our mission statement ‘safeguarding your identity’.”
Please note that last paragraph. The IPS is willing to accept that you are who you say you are, but it is not willing to issue you with a passport if it doesn’t like the name you have. Where the fuck do they get off? They are there to issue UK citizens with passports; that is their entire reason d’être. They are not there to safeguard your identity, they are not there to pass judgement on your choice of identity, they are not there to enforce anything other than anti-forgery standards. They are there to check that you are who you say you are and issue a passport in support of that.
Also: the ‘Identity’ at the start of their new title is swiftly bringing the UK state into disrepute, and their methods of operation bring themselves into disrepute. So their claim that they’re doing this to save their reputation is laughable.
But it’s a telling way of showing that the IPS is firm about doing what I’ve said all along that they would do: they’re not “guarding your identity” – they’re taking control of it. And if they have control of it, then you have no control.