Tag Archives: id cards

Oates and Scriven show why Britain needs the Liberal Democrats

Jonny Oates on ID cards
The Palace of Westminster is quite disorientating. There’s an escalator that goes from the bright modern Portcullis House into Westminster that I always call the Time Machine because it really feels like you go back 300 years in 30 feet. This afternoon, if you’d wandered into the House of Lords, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d gone to sleep and woken up in 2005, because here were Labour and Tory peers trying to bring back ID cards. And just like 2005 (who remembers Police, not Plastic), it was Liberal Democrat peers cutting their way throughout the authoritarian smog like Mr Muscle on a greasy kitchen worktop.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Brian Paddick writes… Chairman Mao might have backed Labour’s ID card plans, but Lib Dems won’t

In the House of Lords today, Labour tried to resurrect the National Identity Card scheme with some support from the Conservative benches. The Government Home Office minister countered that it was too expensive and ineffective in that those we would most want to carry an ID card are the least likely to carry them.

Liberal Democrats object to the compulsory carrying of identity cards on principle, as an infringement of the liberty and the right to privacy of those lawfully going about their business but there are other reasons why a national identity scheme should remain dead and buried.

Not one of the tragic deaths or horrific injuries inflicted by terrorists in recent times in the UK could have been prevented had a national identity card scheme been in place.  The identities of the bombers and would-be bombers of the London transport system in 2005 were quickly established. The identities of the murderers of Lee Rigby were never an issue.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Things to do in your lunch hour: Last chance to respond to Scottish Government’s ID Database consultation

A couple of weeks ago, James Baker told us why the proposals in Scotland to use the NHS identity database and use it effectively as a surveillance tool was wrong and dangerous:

One of the stated aims of the changes proposed is that it would make it easier to ‘trace people’, the examples given are tracing missing children or ‘health tourists’. This is a giveaway as to the increased surveillance capabilities the scheme would create. If it’s able to trace children through civic transactions recorded on the system then it will be able to trace political campaigners, people’s whose library books are overdue, potentially anyone who comes to the attention of the authorities.

The consultation is alarmingly lacking in detail as to how the new database system would work, and what safeguards would be put in place.  If implemented as suggested it would almost certainly raise the possibility of a legal challenge over the breach of people’s right to privacy, and additional  compliance issues with data protection laws. At the very least such a major change in people’s relationship to the state  should be the subject of a public debate, not rushed through by officials using changes in obscure regulations. If these changes are to occur they need to be done through the use of primary legislation not a change in regulations. This seems a request it would seem hard for any reasonable Scottish Parliamentarian to deny.

The Scottish Government is consulting on this and today is your last chance to make your views known. You can do so here. It is worth a few minutes of your time to ask the Scottish Government to think twice before introducing such a step.

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Opinion: Why Scots should worry about their national identity scheme

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 16.45.55One of the first things Liberal Democrats in government did was to scrap the UK wide National Identity Scheme. It would have been all to easy then for NO2ID to pack up, say job done and go home. Thankfully that didn’t happen and the remnants of the campaign instead carried on keeping watchful eye on developments of what has been coined the database state. The database state is the term we now use to describe the tendency of governments to try and use computers to manage and control society.  Another attribute of this database state is function creep. This is the phenomenon whereby a system setup for one discreet purpose starts to grow out of control expanding to be used for ever more administrative functions.

A perfect illustration of function creep can be seen with the Scottish National Entitlement Card (NEC). This card started off as a replacement to pensioners bus passes in cities like Edinburgh but quickly developed into a system for accessing Council services such as libraries. Now it has about 30 uses including proof of age,  paying for school lunches cashlessly and accessing leisure services. In all but name it is a National Identity Card.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Is watching football a crime?

London police. Photo courtesy of Louis Kreusel on FlickrBack in March I wrote about the draconian policing methods being employed against Hull City fans. It’s more than a little depressing that, just a few weeks later, another set of football fans have had their civil liberties attacked.

This time it’s Brighton and Hove Albion supporters who were the target of unnecessary and heavy handed restrictions that should send a shudder down the spine of any liberal.

Brighton fans who attended the Play-off match against Crystal Palace were required to carry a separate document which confirmed their identity, and agree to hand over their ticket and identity document for examination by a police officer or steward at the stadium or en route to or from the stadium.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes… A landmark achievement in fight for our civil liberties

Today the Protection of Freedoms Bill became an Act: a landmark for the campaign to roll back Labour’s surveillance state. Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for this piece of legislation, proposing a “Freedom Bill” more than five years ago when Nick Clegg was the party’s Home Affairs Spokesman.

The Act will protect millions of people from unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives, building on some of the things we’ve already achieved like the ending of ID cards and the destruction of the National Identity Register.

I just want to highlight a couple of things that will now happen. …

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Gareth Epps writes: Don’t fix the conference accreditation process – break it!

I am writing this from the position of having – after two false starts – finally been ‘processed’
or ‘accredited’ by the police in order to exercise my right as a member of this proud and democratic party. This has come after delay, rejection of my form, and increasingly agitated discussion with various people wasting vast amounts of time. Suffice to say that in my 11 years on Conference Committee, I would never have accepted the imposition of such a system. I am possibly luckier, too, than some Conference-goers in knowing how Conference is organised, and who has the ultimate responsibility …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Clarence Henry Willcock

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

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ID cards to be scrapped at midnight tonight

From midnight tonight, ID cards may no longer be used to prove identity or to travel in Europe.

The documents are to be scrapped by the government under the Identity Documents Act 2010.

Tom Brake MP, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities told Lib Dem Voice,

After yesterday’s annoucement of the cut from 28 to 14 days pre-charge detention, this is the second really big step in restoring the balance between civil liberties and security concerns.

This delivers yet another Lib Dem commitment in Government.

All personal information supplied during the process of applying for an …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

LibLink: the full shambles of the ID card trial in Greater Manchester

The Manchester Evening News has been investigating Labour’s ID Card trial in Greater Manchester last November. Only 13,200 signed up from a population of over two million.

The MEN reveals how:

* Senior Whitehall officials were urged to email friends and relatives encouraging them to buy cards because of fears about the level of demand
* UK and overseas border guards refused to recognise the cards – with one traveller chased through an Italian airport after trying to use one as ID
* The Home Office discovered the cards could stop some credit

Posted in LibLink | 8 Comments

Meanwhile, in other news…

Today Royal Assent was given to the Act scrapping Labour’s ID cards. Good news.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

How ID card data ended up in the wrong places

The Coalition Government’s detailed planning to destroy most of the IT infrastructure and data for ID cards, following the decision to axe Labour’s ID cards plans, has revealed disturbing news about how data was mishandled.

As the BBC reports, equipment is having to be destroyed because it looks like data was wrongly stored on it:

Destruction of equipment might have been avoided if the data it collected had been stored centrally as it was meant to be. But there is evidence that some was accidentally stored locally, the document reveals, so off to the dump it must go…

However, other data …

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Happy ID carders nearly all government employees

Back in the old days, before we had a government that cared about civil liberties, Labour were busy telling us how wonderful ID cards were. No-one was quite sure what they were useful for (beating terrorism? tackling benefit fraud? getting a drink in the pub? travelling to France without a passport?) but whatever it was, they were really good at it.

Now, thanks to some persistent questioning from No2ID National Co-ordinator Phil Booth, we know that of the nine people who featured in the glossy advertising telling us how ID cards had transformed their lives and possibly cured …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 28 May 2010

As Big Ben chimes seven, it’s time to celebrate the day 151 years ago, that the famous bell was drawn on a carriage pulled by 16 horses from Whitechapel Bell Foundry to the Palace of Westminster.

To show that cuts in Westminster are nothing new, the cost of the bell was reduced by recycling the metal from the previous, faulty bell:

George Mears, then the master bellfounder and owner of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, undertook the casting. According to foundry records, Mears originally quoted a price of £2401 for casting the bell, but this was offset to the sum of £1829 by the metal he was able to reclaim from the first bell so that the actual invoice tendered, on 28th May 1858, was in the sum of £572.

If you’d like to know what Big Ben itself has to say today, you can follow it on Twitter: @big_ben_clock.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Norman Lamb: “A Queen’s Speech of which Liberal Democrats can be proud”

It is worth spending a moment reflecting on just how remarkable today’s Queen’s Speech is from a Liberal Democrat perspective.

We have become conditioned to believe that the policies we develop will never be implemented. A good intellectual exercise but nothing more. Yet here we have a programme for government of which we can be proud. It contains an extraordinary list of Liberal Democrat commitments on which we fought the general election.

Right from the start the speech grabs attention:

My Government’s legislative programme will be based upon the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility.

Who would have dreamt of those words introducing the Queen’s speech just a few weeks ago?

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 36 Comments

Opinion: Securing civil liberties

Along with other civil libertarians I’ve dedicated my time to fighting off Labour’s encroachments on our freedoms and liberty. This struggle has found me working with traditional Labour members, Greens, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives; everyone from anti-corporate Libertarian Socialist to Euro-sceptic UKIP activists. People of all tribal loyalties and ideological outlooks have come together in non-partisan campaigns like NO2ID, and events like the convention on modern liberty. Not because they have sought to make their ideological explanation of why our liberties have been encroached the dominant one, but because they realised achieving a shared goal required finding the common ground …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

LibLink: Steve Webb – There has been no rightward shift by the Liberal Democrats

At Comment is Free today, Steve Webb MP reiterates the Liberal Democrats’ focus on redistributive policies and fairness.

He’s replying to Tim Horton’s suggestion that the Liberal Democrats have seen a “rightward shift” under Nick Clegg, at the expense of the party’s progressive credentials.

Webb responds with the £10,000 tax allowance, smarter public spending (including introducing the pupil premium and scrapping ID cards) and the Lib Dems’ fairness in politics agenda:

We have argued for an effective cap on political donations, so that no political party in Britain can be bought by sectional interests: the two old parties have, not surprisingly,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Opposition to I.D. cards grows (if people reminded about costs)

More than half the public (53%) think ID cards are a bad or very bad idea when reminded that “The government has proposed the introduction of identity cards that, in combination with your passport, will cost around £93”. This compares to 37% saying they are a good or very good idea.

Opposition to ID cards has grown since 2006 when only 33% opposed the idea.

You can read more about the Liberal Democrat opposition to ID cards over on the Freedom Bill website.

The results are from the State of the Nation Survey 2010, a new poll of 2,288  people aged 18+

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 5 February 2010

Happy birthday to Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire!

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Biometric data
  • How many people have had theirs taken under the Terrorism Act 2000, and how successful have they been at getting the samples destroyed? Lord Eric Avebury has put down a Parliamentary Question.

  • Will libertarian bloggers ever grow up?
  • Jonathan Calder wants libertarian bloggers to widen their repertoire beyond “Get out of my room Mom!”

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Liberal Democrat MEP celebrates French equality win

Since August 2007, French couples in a Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PAC) have enjoyed the same rights in relation to tax and inheritance laws which had previously only applied to married couples. However, due to a legal anomaly, British civil partnerships were not recognised under French law, meaning couples living in France were liable for a 60% inheritance tax and were treated like any other unmarried couple.

Graham Watson pointed out the ridiculous situation that many people faced: “Up until now, the practicality of French law has meant that British civil partners living in France would have to dissolve their partnership and enter into a PAC in order to secure the same rights as French couples. This violated the idea of European citizenship and equality, and something had to be done.”

Watson asked the European Commission to press the French Government on the issue.
Ministers have now announced that British civil partnerships are recognised as equal to PACs, and reimbursements will be made to individuals who have made undue tax payments since August 2007.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

ID cards trial failure

Hot on the tails of the news that P&O refused to recognise an ID card as a European travel document comes this investigation from the Manchester Evening News:

THE national identity card scheme was in chaos last night as an M.E.N investigation revealed some of the country’s biggest travel companies are telling customers that they can not be used instead of passports.

Some 1,736 people in Greater Manchester have bought the £30 cards after the Home Office promised they could be used to travel in Europe.

But customer service staff at nine major travel companies – including British Airways, Eurostar and

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 13 December 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. It’s time for feline table tennis, but first the blogs and news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Huhne: scrap ID cards and put 10,000 bobbies on the beat. Three reasons why he’s wrong

Amother day, another nail in the coffin of Labour’s increeasingly half-hearted attempts to force the British people to carry ID cards and enrtust their personal details to a national government database. The BBC reports:

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has dropped plans to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports. The cards were due to be trialled there – sparking trade union anger. … But Mr Johnson said the ID card scheme was still very much alive – despite Tory and Lib Dem calls to scrap it. He said the national roll-out of

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 14 June 2009

Welcome to the Sunday outing for The Voice’s Daily View series. As it’s a Sunday, today it comes with a bonus complaint and the easiest quiz question of the week.

2 Big Stories

Could Alan Johnson scrap ID cards?

Gordon Brown’s weakness means there is a set of senior Cabinet members who are now unsackable. If any of them were to take it upon themselves to indulge in a very un-Brownian desire to do something dramatic and decisive, it would be extremely hard for Gordon Brown to stop them.

Step forward then possibly, perhaps, just maybe Alan Johnson. (He is, after all, one of those who hasn’t acted dramatically or decisively to get Gordon Brown ousted.) The Sunday Times reports:

ALAN JOHNSON, the home secretary, has launched an urgent review of the £6 billion identity card (ID) scheme, paving the way for a possible U-turn on one of Labour’s flagship policies.

Johnson, who was promoted in Gordon Brown’s latest cabinet reshuffle, is understood to be “sympathetic” to critics who claim identity cards will undermine civil liberties.

The home secretary told officials that he wanted a “first principles” rethink of the plan, which was launched by Tony Blair following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and has since been championed by Brown as a way of fighting terrorism.

“Alan is more sympathetic to the civil liberties arguments than previous home secretaries,” said an insider.

The Iranian elections

Although Lebanon’s recent elections saw a decisive victory for moderates, the official results from Iran show a landslide for the hardliners. These results have been disputed, but as so often the mainstream media coverage amounts to little more than “X says the elections were rigged, Y says they weren’t”, with little evidence presented to let you make a decision about who you think is telling the truth.

Step forward the online world, where there is much detailed argument available, including this blog post which – combined with the comments posted to it – gives a good flavour of the cases for and against the election results having been rigged.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

If David Cameron believes in first past the post, he should quit his job
From Mark Reckons:

David Cameron has spent a lot of time in the last few weeks talking about how great the First Past the Post electoral system is. He will not countenance any change from this even though MPs can end up elected with often much less than 50% of the vote in their own constituency.

What I find fascinating about this is that if you follow his line of reasoning to its logical conclusion then David Cameron should not be leader of the Conservative party at all. Instead it should be David Davis … if this had been a First Past the Post election then David Davis would have been elected leader.

Twitter and politics
Euro-candidate and journalist Jonathan Fryer muses over the impact of Twitter:

Though a comparatively late convert to the practice (despite the proselytising of my friend, Stephen Fry), I’ve been finding it hugely useful in recent weeks and have noted how one can enter into dialogue with politicians of other parties as well as with journalists and bloggers of all persuasions, who are quite happy to ‘follow’ one on Twitter, but who might not wish to ask or accept to be one’s Facebook ‘friend’, in case that were seen to be some kind of endorsement.

Sunday Bonus

Don’t these US movie moguls have any respect for our heritage?

The latest Star Trek movie just isn’t right:

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Chris Huhne wins quote of the day

Ahh, ID cards. Time was the Lib Dems were alone in campaigning for this new invasion of our privacy by the state to be abandoned. Then that nice Mr Cameron’s Tories decided they were, after all, probably not such a good thing. And now it seems that even David Blunkett – perhaps Labour’s most authoritarian home secretary, and against some stiff opposition, too – has decided that, really, they’re maybe unnecessary.

The Lib Dems’ shadow home secretary Chris Huhne’s response is delightfully withering:

When even the father of ID cards spurns them, the idea is truly an abandoned orphan.”

He continues, equally …

Posted in Big mad database, LDV campaigns and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Cameron / Clegg yawn

The lovely Iain Dale interviewed David Cameron the other day, and has posted extracts of the interview on his blog.

He’s also, depending on your point of view, EITHER courteously pointed out to the LDV team that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is mentioned in passing, OR has engaged in a massive blog link whoring project to stir it within the Lib Dems who will hate what Cameron had to say.

Here’s what their dear leader had to say about our dear leader:

ID: Do you think Nick Clegg is in the wrong party? ?

DC: I don’t really know him well

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

The next six groups to get ID cards?

The Government continues to (micro)chip away with its incremental plan to introduce ID cards to all.

The Home Office has formally applied to widen the scope of ID cards for foreign nationals granted further leave to remain in the UK.

Regulations laid before Parliament last week mean that six more categories of applicant would have to provide their biometrics (fingerprints and photo) from 31 March 2009:

• Academic visitors granted leave for a period exceeding six months
• Visitors for private medical treatment
• Domestic workers in a private household
• United Kingdom ancestry (Covers people who are Commonwealth citizens, have a British grandparent …

Posted in Big mad database and News | 4 Comments

Enough is enough

Anyone from any political persuasion can list things this Government has done that annoy them.

Personally, I was annoyed enough to join millions of others on the march against the war in Iraq – now it’s time to hold them to account.

I’m not so sure how I will react if and when I get the orders from the Government to present myself at the interrogation centre in nearby Derby and hand over more personal information than is currently demanded from sex offenders.  I’m not certain I’m ready to join Simon Hughes in jail for refusing an ID card.

I’ve never …

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

My political video moment of the year

You may think that this was just another political YouTube film, this one happening to feature Nick Clegg talking about ID cards.

But watch carefully 30 seconds in for the man entering stage left with a piece of string and a banana, eaten. Ten months on, I still have no idea why he would have been doing that:

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Leak of precautions against leaks

Here’s another so-terrifying-it’s-funny twist in the ID cards saga. No government likes leaks – as if we need reminding – and it seems our current lords and masters believe that leaks surrounding the ID cards scheme could be especially damaging. A fresh leak has revealed that they are taking precautionary measures against possible leaks (o! the irony) from the five companies currently involved in bidding for work on the ID cards scheme.

The Times has the story:

Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has suffered fresh embarrassment from a new Whitehall leak disclosing that ministers are

Posted in News | 2 Comments

David Howarth: ID cards are bad news for Cambridge

From this week, the Home Office has announced, compulsory ID cards will be issued to foreign nationals including students and those granted a visa because they are married to a British Citizen.

Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge David Howarth has pointed out the ID card scheme’s implications for the University city:

I am worried about the effect of this move on the economy of Cambridge, which relies on a stream of highly-qualified scientists, engineers and academics from all over the world.

Treating highly-qualified people as potential criminals rather than as welcome guests is not going to put us at the top of their

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment
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