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February 09, 2006

Talk Politics.

As the details of the ID Cards Bill are digested opposition continues to grow. Talk Politics provided a thorough explanation of just why we should fear them:

Where the truth becomes a lie

One of the more interesting and illuminating books I've read in a long time is Tim Slessor's 'Lying in State' which through a range of examples, some familiar (Hutton, Belgrano, Gulf War Syndrome) and some maybe not so familiar (the Chagos Islanders, Chinook ZD576) explores the way in which Whitehall routinely lies, dissembles and obfuscates in order to limit our exposure to the truth of what our Government and the State get up to - supposedly in our name.

One of the more interesting tactics is common use is, interestingly enough, actually to tell the truth - but in such a way that even the truth fails to tell the full story and becomes, instead, misleading as in this example from Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty in written answer to Sadiq Khan MP (Tooting, Lab) -

"Since the publication of the Identity Cards Bill on 25 May 2005, 21 representations have been received from members of the public. No representations have been received from any organisations or official bodies. The representations took the form of both letters and e-mails, and they expressed concern that the Identity Card Scheme would infringe civil liberties.

The Government believe that the Identity Cards Scheme will support civil liberties and human rights. The scheme will be bound by legislation such as the Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. The Identity Cards Bill also contains a number of important safeguards such as setting limitations on the information that may be held by the scheme and its use. Only Parliament would be able to change the statutory purposes of the Register or the type of information which could be held and only via primary legislation."

To understand what's happening here let's look at two specific point where the literal truth of the Minister's answer fails to encompass the full reality of the ID cards debate.

First we have:

"21 representations have been received from members of the public. No representations have been received from any organisations or official bodies."

That may indeed be true but, as should be obvious, it fails entirely to reflect the widespread and detailed debate that is actually taking place on the subject of ID cards and the National Identity Register. If fails to acknowledge the existence of the NO2ID campaign, the LSE's analysis of ID cards which was widely reported in the media and their subsequent work on developing an alternative system which would be both substantially cheaper and far less intrusive.


February 9, 2006 in Books | Permalink


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