Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards (ID Cards)


To Combat Election Fraud

During the 2005 General Election campaign David Blunkett came out with what is probably the worst excuse yet for the imposition of ID Cards: to prevent electoral fraud. He made the suggestion on the BBC's Question Time programme whilst discussing the recent postal voting scandal in Birmingham.

Blunkett's suggestion was met with gasps of shock from the audience.

The first thing to note is that the subject under discussion was postal voting. Clearly ID Cards can do nothing to prevent "voter not present" fraud. ID Cards would be irrelevant to postal voting fraud.

Of course, Blunkett wasn't really talking about postal voting. He was simply using this as the latest in a long line of excuses for imposing on us his expensive, intrusive and unpopular National Identity Register. Blunkett's big idea is that unless we have an ID card - which means that we are tagged and filed in the database - then we will be denied our right to vote.

This is a dangerous and unacceptable proposal. In a democracy, voting is a right - not a privilege. ID Cards will be a government issued licence to exist - and what the government gives it can also take away. Blunkett's original Bill suggested that the Secretary of State could revoke an ID card simply because it "appeared to him" that the rules had been broken. No need for evidence, judicial involvement or even balance of probabilities. If Blunkett gets his way then revoking your ID card will also mean revoking your right to vote.

There's also a mundane, practical implication. ID Cards will not be free, we'll have to pay for them. So under Blunkett's plan we'll need the cards to vote and we'll have to pay to get the cards. That would mean that ID Cards would literally become Labour's Poll Tax.

UK ID Cards - Introduction

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