Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards

Wrong In Principle

On these pages you'll read a lot of solid, practical arguments against the Government's plans for ID Cards and the National Identity Register (NIR). These plans will be extremely expensive, intrusive and inconvenient. They will achieve little if anything that is claimed for them. On a practical, common-sense level ID Cards and the NIR are clearly a foolish waste of money.

But that's not my main objection. I object to ID Cards on principle.

Britain has a proud tradition as a free country. It is a country where the state exists to serve the people. The state is subservient to the individual, not the other way round.

So long as I don't break the law I can go anywhere, say anything and do anything without having to identify or explain myself to anyone. The State knows about me only what is absolutely necessary for it to serve our interests. As far as is practical, the State stays out of my life.

We are entitled to our privacy - it is a right not a privilege.

ID Cards and the NIR will change all that. British citizens will no longer have a natural-born right to their country - instead we will exist by virtue of a state-issued licence. We will all be scanned, numbered and indexed like so much cattle.

ID Cards and the NIR will change completely the nature of British society, will wipe out centuries of hard won freedoms and will destroy our privacy. They are first and foremost a social control mechanism supported by bureaucrats who want us all neatly filed and by centralising, authoritarian governments.

Some people, once they have tasted power, become reluctant to give it up. They start to think that they have some God-given right to rule over the rest of us. Politicians need to be reminded that they are elected to serve us, to run the country not rule it. They work for us.

ID Cards and the NIR will change completely the relationship between the citizen and the State. They will make the State the master and the individual the servant.

ID Cards and the National Identity Register are wrong in principle and incompatible with the traditional British freedoms and way of life.

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