Too late, too late, will be the cry…

…. when the man with your freedoms has passed you by.

And in the latest incarnation of freedom stealing that the population is just waking up to, we’re all guilty until … urm, until circumstances that are yet to be finalised have been met.

The last 24 hours have seen a flurry of news articles about the imminent arrival of the Independent Safeguarding Authority and their shiny new vetting database. The Indie reports that the scheme is likely to cost the public £170m.

On the BBC’s Today programme this morning, veteran radio inquisitor John Humphrys barbecued civil servant John O’Brien over the rationale behind the database. Was this not, he asked on several occasions, turning every adult into a suspected criminal: is this not the state deciding who is fit to have contact with children?

I like the numbers that el Reg came up with: up to 16,000,000 people will need to pass these checks before getting a job. That’s a stupidly high proportion of the working population, and it’s all going to be subject to the random fluctuations of a large and unresponsive government system.

That’s not at all scary, is it? Because any very large system is subject to very large errors, and these errors will result in people losing their livelihoods and their reputation, because of suspicions being incorrectly put against them decades ago.

Lives will be ruined. And not one child will be protected. And countless millions will be wasted.

But action will look like it’s being taken, and that’s all the government cares about…

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