In a particularly rewarding piece of news, released in a way only NuLabour seems to know how (hidden, not being honest, saying one thing and doing another), it looks as though ID cards may not happen after all. The Lib Dems actually have a campaign running against the cards, with their leader Nick Clegg promising to lead a campaign of civil disobedience if they are introduced and made compulsory for all (as promised by NuLabour). They of course made salient points, but for me the issue remains one about the individual in relation to the state.
One fundamental premise upon which modern societies are based is that the state is answerable to its individuals, that its very existence is only determined by the individual. Introducing ID cards would invert that relationship – the state would determine who you were. I’ve heard all the arguments about protecting against terrorism, protecting against ID fraud, and my own MP even argues it’s worth going along with because the technology’s already in place both in this and other scenarios (eg. Google monitoring your cookies). These arguments are either facile or are for me entirely trumped by the importance of the state keeping its place, particularly this state, with its fetish for surveillance and control and its willful misunderstanding of technology (it’s already there so why not use it – intellectual vacuity). AC Grayling makes a superb point when he says:
I couldn’t agree more.