Home Secretary Alan Johnson has created ‘identity rights’! Rejoice! He will continue to introduce ID cards by stealth, but worry not – your ‘identity rights’ will be guaranteed!
The union flag has been left off the final design of the national identity card unveiled today in order to recognise the “identity rights” of Irish nationals living in Northern Ireland.
Instead the ID card design unveiled by the home secretary, Alan Johnson, features a tasteful floral pattern made up of the shamrock, daffodil, thistle and rose alongside the Royal Coat of Arms.
A Home Office spokesperson said today this was because “the card represents all the nations of the United Kingdom and the design reflects themes of Britishness and aspects of UK history”.
The Home Office say that they are clear that the ID card scheme must work in a way that “fully recognises the identity rights of the people of Northern Ireland as laid out in the Belfast Agreement”.
The assessment says that while some symbols have been included within the card’s design to indicate that the document has been issued by the British government they have “sought to design features which can reflect all parts of the United Kingdom, such as the inclusion of the shamrock to represent Ireland within the tactile feature, and we have sought to avoid symbols such as flags”.
The decision means that Irish nationals living in Northern Ireland will be issued with an “identification card” which is a version of the identity card which will differ from that issued to British citizens.
‘Identity rights’? What are these supposed to be? Are they somehow supposed to be more important than human rights (which ID cards are in breach of)? Are we supposed to be grateful that our various ‘identity rights’ are secured by ID cards when our liberty is not? Chris Grayling, most likely to be Tory Home Secretary next year suggests that it’s a smokescreen, that Johnson is desperately trying to come up with a sales pitch for a scheme which he can’t afford and which none of us wants:
what use will the scheme be? How can the police use it when only a few will have the cards? Why should the NHS spend millions on card readers when not everyone has one?
And why on earth will people who are already short of cash rush out to spend their 30 quid at the ID card shop rather than on a Chinese takeaway for Friday night? Or a couple of bottles of scotch? Or a cheap seats ticket at Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon?
It wasn’t Alan’s idea. He probably didn’t want it. But he’s the poor sap with the job in the sales department who has to go out and persuade you to part with your hard earned cash.
I would argue the point a little differently. Johnson clearly doesn’t intend ID cards to remain voluntary – his ‘Safeguarding (there’s that buzzword again, notice) Identity’ paper, the policies belonging to which he is clearly pursuing vigorously, at its core depends on ID cards for all. But rather than deliver with a frontal assault, he’ll make it impossible to get a passport without forcible inclusion on the National Identity Register, he’ll make student loans impossible to obtain without ID cards, and he may have stepped back from an unwinnable battle with airside aviation workers, but he’s bound to impose them on another vulnerable, minority group and then another, and then another…
Most people don’t want them, so don’t buy the cuddly new Home Secretary’s soft soap. ID cards must be stopped completely.