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The Clarke & Burnham Show March 16, 2006

Posted by lifejacket in "Politician he speak with forked tongue", ID Cards & the Surveillance State.

Next to Home Secretary Charles Clarke, Andy Burnham has to be the most blinkered politician I have ever had the mispleasure of hearing speak.

This afternoon, as the government voted yet again to force compulsory cards on the British people when they renew their passports, Mr Burnham shouted across the House of Commons (shouted, note) that foreign travel was “voluntary”.

Really? Is it voluntary if you have to work abroad, or conduct business? If you have to visit relatives abroad? If you have to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment because the screwed up NHS can’t find you a bed for another three years?

Home Secretary Charles Clarke (whose blinkers have been publicly displayed so often that there’s no necessity to mention them again here) has already stated that “nobody has to have a passport”.

So, it’s perfectly OK by him that the millions of British citizens should be forced to remain prisoners in their own country, because they are unhappy and uncomfortable with his plans to steamroller them into submitting to full fingerprinting, iris scanning and photographing for the purposes of his National Identity Register? I would remind pro-ID readers that it’s not ID cards themselves which are the problem here, it’s the NIR. No other country in the world links its ID cards to a massive central database which the government intends to use primarily for crime-fighting purposes. Claims that it is intended for any other purpose, such as the government’s frequent claim that it will “give the citizen more control over his own identity” (!!) are utter guff. No other country, which we call “civilised”, automatically assumes all its citizens are criminals and terrorists unless those citizens can eliminate this automatic suspicion by producing a plastic licence, a permit to be alive and at liberty in their own country. The all-encompassing, all-seeing, all-enabling National Identity Register fundamentally reverses the principle that a citizen remains free, innocent and unfettered until proven guilty. Under the NIR the people will be made subject to the will of the system, rather than any system of good governance serving the people.

And Mr Clarke and Mr Burnham believe that it’s perfectly acceptable. That it’s absolutely OK that people who don’t want to submit to this Orwellian nightmare, should be prevented from travelling anywhere.

Oh! So sorry, I appear to have misunderstood: of course nobody is “prevented” from travelling anywhere, they “make the choice” not to do so. They “volunteer” not to do so.

Perhaps this political double-act (which would be a comedy one if its effect were not so tragic for the fundamental liberties of the British people) should do some homework and consider the following definitions.

1. Coerce. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.

2. Choice. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.

3. Voluntary. Acting or done willingly and without constraint or expectation of reward. [my emphasis]

(Definitions: Dictionary.com)



1. Dave Silvester - March 17, 2006

I sent this to the Nottingham Evening Post a few of days ago – with a bit of luck, it should get printed tomorrow:

Involuntary ID Cards

Home Secretary Charles Clarke would like to reassure us that ID cards will be voluntary, because you’ll only have to get one when renewing your passport, and a passport is an entirely voluntary document, apparently. “The question is one of free will” he tells us.

I’m sure Evening Post readers will find it reassuring as I do to realise that you would have about as much choice, under this scheme, of choosing not to have an ID card, as of choosing not to breathe, eat, drink or sleep – all of which are well within the scope of your “free will”.

How ironic that these blatantly coercive tactics coincide with the Home Office’s new campaign emphasising rape awareness, by introducing the definition of consent – that a person consents if s/he “agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”.

To say that we have a free choice over ID cards and the National Identity Register, when we can only choose not to take part if we decline to travel, is stretching the definition of “voluntary” to breaking point.

Furthermore, the rollout of the new biometric passports (being issued since the start of the month) gives the lie to the government’s story that we need the ID scheme to meet international requirements.

The Home Office have claimed all along that a main reason why we absolutely must have ID cards and the National Identity Register is to ensure that we comply with the new International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) passport standards, and remain in the US Visa Waiver Scheme. The new £51 biometric passports, available right now, meet those standards with a single biometric, showing once again that the intended £93 price hike apparently in the name of “meeting the ICAO standard” is nothing but a bare-faced lie by the government, to help cover the astronomical costs of it’s stealth tax on our very existence.

If ID cards are so beneficial to us, the government would give us a real choice in the matter – yet the whole element of compulsion gives away their game. When a farmer brands cows with a number, it’s not for the cow’s benefit!

What a shame most of Nottingham’s Labour MPs are too spineless to stand up to this sinister legislation, instead choosing to vote with their control-freak party, not their consciences. They could learn a few things from their friend Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, who has given his backing to our campaign for some time now.

2. Dave Silvester - March 17, 2006

Gahh “a few of days ago”… it’s late, I’m tired, I didn’t proof read my re-wording of that sentence. So sue me!

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