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ID Cards still very much on this Government’s agenda

By Angela Harbutt
March 19th, 2010 at 11:34 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Personal Freedom, UK Politics

no2id_badge_new_600dpiSome of us, myself included, have a tendency to think that we, and NO2ID, have won the ID card battle. We should all be under no such illusion. The fight is still very much on.

Earlier this week there was a little-reported matter of  Meg Hillier, the Home Office Minister, suggesting that Gordon Brown’s government may ask U.K. banks – specifically Govt “owned ones” – Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc – to subsidize its national identity-card program, paying for documents for poorer customers to attract business… “attract business” yeah right. And rather curious given that I was sure that the Government was leaving the banks to run their own business’. Apparently not.

Prior to that there was the little matter of Ms Hillier writing in Progress online (a New Labour Pressure Group) that ID cards are a “service” that will empower the country’s citizens – and specifically help fight social exclusion. Hmm – the Labour use of the word “service” is about as twisted as its concept of  term “choice” – don’t these people own a dictionary? Or are they just writing their own?

Now we hear that Pensioners could be forced to carry identity cards to qualify for free bus travel.

Well, we learned a long time ago not to believe a single word (or indeed number) this Government comes out with. But its a timely reminder to us – not to let the ID cards issue fall off our agenda – its certainly not fallen off the Government’s.

UPDATE: I am reminded that you can keep abreast of Government sneaky action on id cards at NO2ID’s newsblog.

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Roy Jenkins: You’re too liberal!

By Tom Papworth
February 15th, 2010 at 1:06 pm | 10 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Over the weekend I watch the first episode of the BBC’s series on the Great Offices of State, which focussed on The Home Office. At one point they had footage of Roy Jenkins visiting the wreckage of the Birmingham pub bombings. As he walked past the angry crowds, a voice (or it may have been two voices) shouted out “Bring back hanging!” “Your’re too liberal!”

At the time I just chuckled a bit. “You’re too liberal” isn’t a common critique in the UK, where (unlike the United States) liberalism is not conflated with socialism, and people tend to be practical rather than philosophical.

Indeed, for my mind, Roy Jenkins wasn’t liberal enough, in that it was his and our tragedy that he reached the zenith of his political career at around the time that the Liberal Paty was in its nadir.

Yet this morning I was suddenly struck by something that I had overlooked at the time. The woman who was accusing Jenkins of being too liberal was doing so in the context of the Birmingham bombings. Those same Birmingham bombings that led to the wrongful conviction of six people.

Too liberal? Thank heavens Roy Jenkins was liberal. Thank heavens he was Home Secretary after the abolishion of capital punishment, and so was not faced with the onerous duty of overseeing the execution of six men. Thank heavens that we didn’t determine, 17 years too late, that we – too – had killed the innocent.

In fact it wasn’t Jenkins who abolished capital punishment, but James Callaghan. Still, it seems like a very long time since we have been confronted with the prospect of a Home Secreaty who could in any way, shape or form be call liberal.

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