Britain will make foreigners carry RFID identity cards and will put us in a huge, Orwellian database: the rest of Britain will be next

Earlier this year, I married my British fiancee and switched my visa status from "Highly Skilled Migrant" to "Spouse." This wasn't optional: Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, had unilaterally (and on 24 hours' notice) changed the rules for Highly Skilled Migrants to require a university degree, sending hundreds of long-term, productive residents of the UK away (my immigration lawyers had a client who employed over 100 Britons, had fathered two British children, and was nonetheless forced to leave the country, leaving the 100 jobless). Smith took this decision over howls of protests from the House of Lords and Parliament, who repeatedly sued her to change the rule back, winning victory after victory, but Smith kept on appealing (at tax-payer expense) until the High Court finally ordered her to relent (too late for me, alas).

Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students and we spousal visa holders (government is looking to curtail spousal visas altogether, capping all visas at 20,000 per year, including spousal visas, denying Britons the right to bring their spouses into the country once the quota has been filled). The card will be eventually linked to all of the national databases -- credit, health, driving, spending. These are the same databases that the government has been repeatedly losing and haemmorhaging by the tens of million (literally).

My family fled the Soviet Union after the war. They were displaced people (my father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan) who destroyed their papers to protect themselves from the draconian authorities who sought to limit their travel and migration. I used to think it was ironic that my family had gone from Europe to Canada and back to Europe again in a generation, but now I don't know how long the Doctorows will be staying in Europe -- or at least in the UK. The green and pleasant land has suspended habeas corpus, instituted street searches without particularlized suspicion, encourages its citizens to spy and snitch on each other, and now has issued mandatory universal papers that will track we dirty immigrants as we move around our adopted "home," as part of a xenophobic campaign to arouse fear and resentment against migrants.

Many of my British friends act as if I'm crazy when I say that we must defeat Labour in the next election. We're all good lefties, and a vote for the LibDems is considered tantamount to handing the country over to the Tories. But what could the Tories do that would trump what Labour has made of the country? The Labour Party has made a police state with a melting economy, a place where rampant xenophobia makes foreigners less and less welcome -- where we are made to hand over our biometrics and carry papers as we conduct our lawful business. The only mainstream party to speak out against this measure is the LibDems, and they will have my vote.

To my friends, I say this: your Labour Party has taken my biometrics and will force me to carry the papers my grandparents destroyed when they fled the Soviet Union. In living memory, my family has been chased from its home by governments whose policies and justification the Labour Party has aped. Your Labour Party has made me afraid in Britain, and has made me seriously reconsider my settlement here. I am the father of a British citizen and the husband of a British citizen. I pay my tax. I am a natural-born citizen of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party ought not to treat me -- nor any other migrant -- in a way that violates our fundamental liberties. The Labour Party is unmaking Britain, turning it into the surveillance society that Britain's foremost prophet of doom, George Orwell, warned against. Labour admits that we migrants are only the first step, and that every indignity that they visit upon us will be visited upon you, too. If you want to live and thrive in a free country, you must defend us too: we must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.

"We all want to see our borders more secure, and human trafficking, organised immigration crime, illegal working and benefit fraud tackled. ID cards for foreign nationals, in locking people to one identity, will deliver in all these areas," she added.

The UK Border Agency will begin issuing the biometric cards to the two categories of foreign nationals who officials say are most at risk of abusing immigration rules - students and those on a marriage or civil partnership visa.

Foreign national ID card unveiled, Support NO2ID and oppose the surveillance state


  1. The mandatory card program is both offensive and ineffective — truly dedicated “undesireables” have always been able to produce forgeries or stolen identity documents. It may be that the best secondary weapon after the courts in a fight against this sort of Big Brother power move would be simple economics.

    If the RFID were disabled by a quick spin in the microwave and the optical code obscured by a bit of dirt or a smudge, the data would have to be tranferred by hand — slow and expensive, albeit at the risk of some officious harrassment.

    Slow and expensive multiplied by most people concerned equals both an civil disobedience and a reconsideration of the wisdom of the traffic jam and financial black hole this sort of stupid and ineffective program has produced.

    With some luck, the outright failure of a pilot program that is foisted on a vulnerable population will thwart its imposition on the public at large.

  2. I think many left-wingers are very uneasy about voting Labour in the next election. But who else is there to vote for? A vote for the Lib Dems will, in most constituencies, alas mean that the Tories will get in. And if you think Labour’s ID card proposals are bad (and how could they get any worse?), I’m reasonably sure the Tories’ would be worse.

    I might just emigrate to America instead.

  3. “We’re all good lefties,”

    Then why are you complaining? This is exactly where leftism logically leads. Leftism is statism. (of course, a big part of the right today is statist as well but at least it has a significant counter to statism in the core principles of conservatism – what used to be called liberalism in the west).

    You don’t get to pick and choose on whom statism has its effects. It is all encompassing and swallows us whole.

    The choice is between the use of force vs. the use of persuasion in how we govern ourselves. History has been the move, in fits and starts, to increase the use of persuasion in how we conduct ourselves and decrease the use of force. The left has chosen to go backwards and apply force selectively – however, once the door is opened to force, it is hard to close it and it effects more and more of our society.

    Welcome to what you have been asking for. Perhaps now you will reconsider your political stand.

  4. I was recently granted my permanent residence (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after my two years as a spouse of a British citizen. The both of us are Australian, but being a member of the Commonwealth seems to mean nothing to the UK.

    I will never quite reconcile the institutionalised distrust of Australians here in the UK, even if our currency carries a likeness of the British queen. I’ve always felt that it should count for something – afterall we have been to war with the UK, indeed we’ve often seemed to find ourselves standing pushed out in front of the British when it comes to wars, but you’re on your own if you want to return to the country your ancestors came from.

    With my new ILR, I will be lucky enough to miss the first round of these national ID cards, and will hopefully be a British citizen before all foreign nationals will be required to carry the pink card. What’s next, pink arm bands?

    I count myself lucky that I got in whilst I could, the future is looking grim. Once I’m a British citizen I’m sure all will be well, but the steps along the way are certainly not for the faint-hearted.

  5. Does being a Commonwealth citizen make any of this process easier for you? Do you plan on obtaining British citizenship?

    (My wife’s got dual US-Canadian citizenship, so I’m curious as to how Commonwealth status might affect things.)

  6. i had to carry a similar card when i was a student in the netherlands. though as far as i know, there was no biometric data on the card. at least it didn’t have that scary chip on the back. after i read this post i pulled my card out (i still have it) and scrutinized. aside from a nifty perforated portrait i’d never seen before, there was nothing overtly orwellian about the whole thing. lucky me. why is it that britain is turning into what all of it’s best authors have warned us about? moore, orwell, james, etc.

  7. ironically, i’m considering moving from london to canada – i have a 2 year old daughter, and the u.k seems to be running out of space – economically, psychologically and legally. we’re heading for a tory government, who, despite paying lip-service to libertarianism will most likely find a way to keep the ID card scheme. hoarding power is the executive’s default position. the lib-dems, as always are letting us down by being ineffectual.

    Takuan – not manifestly. it’s dog-whistle politics. the message is there to those who are tuned in.

  8. I’d like to suggest a correction:

    “The only mainstream party to speak out against this measure is the LibDems”

    The only ENGLISH mainstream party to speak out against this measure. Plaid Cymru (the Welsh independence party) have spoken against it many times; Plaid’s policy director, Simon Thomas MP in 2004, and also in 2005; Adam Price MP, Plaid’s leader in the Commons, voted strongly against introducing ID cards; and this year Welsh Assembly Member Leanne Wood vowed to go to jail rather than carry one.

    I understand that, to the London-centric, Plaid Cymru aren’t considered part of the mainstream, but in Wales they hold the second largest amount of Assembly seats (ahead of both the Lib Dems and Tories), and currently form a coalition government with Labour. That sounds pretty mainstream to me.

    While I’m not as familiar with Scottish politics, I understand that the SNP also oppose ID cards, and they’re mainstream enough to currently govern (albeit as a minority administration) in the Scottish Parliament. Shouldn’t they also get a mention?

  9. I live in the UK and I can’t wait to get out.
    This country had descended into madness at the hands of an ineffective government who can’t even cope with CDs and hard drives, let alone ALL our ID info on a little card which will do NOTHING against ‘The war on terrir’…

    As I’ve said before, Labour are stuck between a Northern Rock and a Hard Disc. Well, I thought it was funny lol.
    Thank the stars I live in Scotland, if the Tories do get in, it’s just one more push for the Republic of Scotland to come nearer :D

  10. “Does being a Commonwealth citizen make any of this process easier for you? Do you plan on obtaining British citizenship?”

    There are a few benefits to being a commonwealth citizen if you want to settle in the UK. The foremost being that you can rather easily get a “working holiday” visa which lasts 2 years and grants you working rights for 12 months of that 2 year stay. I know several Australian and Canadian expats living in the UK who started with that and then got their employers to sponsor them. After living there for 5 years or so, you can then apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.

    In general, it’s the easiest way to move to Britain if you’re a citizen outside of the EU. The next easiest way is to come to the country with a million dollars to prove that you want to do business there and won’t be a burden on the state.

  11. hmmm wasn’t it the Nazis who made the Jews wear a Star Of David on their clothes? I don’t want to go down the same slippery slope where it will be easy to identify and pick up undesireables… I’m wondering how long before they try and insist on everybody being micro-chipped…

  12. Hmm, wasn’t there another European nation who used identity cards as part of a drive to demonise ‘outsiders’ .

    Jacqui Smith is pure scum and the whole lot of them make me sick. I wish we could put the whole lot of them in the stocks for turning this country into a police state.

    Of course the Conservatives will be twice as bad, that’s where ‘New Labour’ got all their repressive authoritarian ideas from.

  13. I know this is about the ID and not the following statement, but still —

    “changed the rules for Highly Skilled Migrants to require a university degree”

    So get your degree.

    I use to be entirely against the paper…spent 15 years studying in various locations and various subjects. Friends in academia would invite me to stop in their classes while I was on the road and I would have book upon book to read while sitting on buses or planes and honestly, it was far more education than I ever received in traditional classrooms.

    I have worked ‘temporarily’ in a higher ed institution for the last several years…but it was only to pay for my tours (and flexible enough to allow me to come back when I was bored)…and doing so, I figure out easy it is to get an undergrad degree. Dead simple. Now it is just a game. Hell, I barely pay attention in my PhD program and students come to me for advice (then again, I’m also listening to psychopharm lectures on my ipod while several hundred meters on some rock wall, so there might be something to be said about this)…so even this is not that difficult.

    Don’t use this excuse. You are smart enough to get around it. I fully agree there should be entrance requirements for immigration to countries…honestly, spouse is a respectable one. I’m all for visitors to my own country, but I’m not as big about immigration…there should be rules and roadblocks. It proves you have more desire to be a citizen than the folks that are just naturally born in and aren’t there just because it was good enough. I have family dinners with immigrants most weekends…and these folks worked their asses off to be citizens. I have NOTHING but respect for people that want it that bad that they are willing to do whatever it takes. Excuses suck, and I never hear any from them.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, I just don’t like seeing tiny roadblocks thrown out as reasons to rail against the system. Can’t do this, then maybe there is something to be said.

  14. I prefer to call it a grey, unpleasant land.
    The only thing that’s given us subjects freedom in the past has been the government’s incompetence.
    Don’t feel bad about boycotting Nu Labor, they ceased to be Leftist in any sense as soon as Blair took over.

  15. Come back to Canada! You can watch the slow collapse of the US from the comfort of your front porch and not have to worry about bio-whosits ;)

  16. @ Ari B: My being a Commonwealth citizen didn’t officially change anything with my application for a spousal visa, or two years on for my Indefinite Leave to Remain. It seems being a member of the Commonwealth does not officially grant any advantage when applying for visas or citizenship.

    There may be some unofficial leniance for Commonwealth citizens whilst processing the paperwork but if there is then not a single person at any immigration desk at any airport in the UK has been told about it!

  17. almostwitty, avraamov et al – exactly what are you basing your view that the Tories would be worse on? They’ve got a concrete commitment to scrap the National Identity Register and virtually all of the ID card scheme, and one of the most senior Tory MPs just recently resigned his seat and risked his career to fight for civil liberties.

    The Lib Dems are not going to form the next UK government, and anyone who wants this to stop should vote for whoever’s best placed to get Labour out in their constituency, whether that’s the Tories, the Lib Dems, the SNP or Plaid.

  18. @#16

    It’s one thing to say that highly skilled workers now means highly educated and require a degree for proof….

    It is entirely different thing to change the rules with little to know notice and then enforce those changes without allowing an adjustment period.

    Tacky and Rude.


  19. @Clif (#16)
    I think you’ve missed the point slightly, the rules were changed to insist that all highly skilled migrants should have a degree but that is a different matter to immigrants having to carry ID. the new rules say that ALL immigrants must carry ids whether they fall into the ‘Highly Skilled’ category or not.

    Cory – I sympathise entirely and I agree with you completely, ‘New Labour’ is just Conservatism under a different guise. I have voted Lib Dem for many years now but it’s basically a protest vote – most people can’t even name the current Lib dem leader.

    I’ve supported no2id since it’s inception and last week even got the opportunity to harangue Hazel Blears face to face but unfortunately I was left with the conclusion that her party is utterly deluded – she could not comprehend why people would not want to carry id cards and have their every detail logged – she couldn’t see the comparison with being forced to wear a Star of David in WWII.

    Canada’s looking very nice from here.

  20. Clif Marsiglio, it’s nice of you to tell me what I should be doing with my time (this year, I moved continents, got married three times on two continents [to the same woman], had a baby, wrote two books, published three books, went on two book tours — when in that time do you think I should have gone off and gotten an undergrad degree?).

    But you should be reading more carefully. This rule change came in on 24 hours’ notice. Which degree-granting institution will give a degree on a day’s notice?

  21. Avraamov, wait until after our election (Oct. 14) before you make up your mind, OK? Because if we get a Tory majority it might not take us long to catch up the the UK ;>

    Cory, come home and run for prime minister. Your country needs you.

  22. *stands and applauds for a minute*

    The only thing to add are these links:

    Liberal Democrats – Get Involved

    Speaking as a LibDem supporter, and SDP supporter before that, and indeed back to the old Liberals in the ’70s, I’m not especially surprised to find that New Labour’s attempt to jettison the baggage of the past didn’t extend to the corporatist, state-control big brother stuff, any more than finding that the Tory “freedom for the individual” schtick goes out of the window when it comes to the tabloid-scare-du-jour. looking on the bright side – I’d be amazed if the ID card system ever actually comes into force for the population as a whole; hopefully the next, non-Labour, government will jettison the vile anti-immigrant, thin-end-of-the-wedge evil announced yesterday.

  23. Just leave. Take your wife, kids and taxable pounds and go somewhere else. I did and found out to much surprise that the rest of Europe is a much nicer, friendlier, child caring and supportive place.

    I still visit the UK now and again if only to remind myself what an awful place it has become. Leaving again just gets better and better.

  24. @16 – what kind of roadblocks do you think are necessary? How about the US system, where the spouse applying can’t live in the US for more than four months, and the process can take several years?

    I personally know of one marriage that didn’t survive the wait. At least they were young people with no children.

    My mother became a Canadian citizen in 1993, about 20 years after she moved to Canada. Should she have had to move back to the States after her application went in, leaving her children, husband, and job, just to show how much she “desired” to be a citizen?

    Immigration systems shouldn’t tear families apart.

  25. Having been born and brought up in the UK I’ve spent the last few years in a permanent state of horror about what’s being done to this country. I find xenophobic comments lurking everywhere, the treatment of immigrants (both legal and illegal) is atrocious. The loss of civil liberties distressing and alarming.

    My partner’s American, and we face invasive and derogatory treatment because of that. Because we’re a gay couple we also have to be assessed to make sure that we’re suitable to get a civil partnership (because no one hetrosexual would get married for the sake of keeping someone in the country, obviously). And now I find out that my poor benighted partner will have to carry around ID, and then they’ll probably loose her/our information and open us up to more identity fraud. Between that and being watched everywhere we go on CCTV I’m really loving it here.

    Despite fears of ‘a vote for conservatives’ I’m still voting Lib Dem because quite frankly I’m desperate*. I would actually love a Lib Dem government, or at least, I think I would. I am of course not so desperate as to want to stay here. Our plans involve shoving off to Canada at the first available opportunity (where I’ll even get paid for being a nurse, as opposed to here where I only have to work about 48 hours a week just to be able to both eat and pay the bills)…

    * and y’know I do wonder if all the people who said ‘I’d vote lib dem but they’ve no chance of getting in’ actually did vote lib dem whether there really isn’t a chance they’d get in…

  26. Cory, you have my sympathy and good wishes. As a UK citizen I’m quite aware that the only difference between us is that you’re closer to the front of the queue than I am.

    And the fact that I’m quite convinced that the IT for the card will be a complete failure, is cold comfort. Once these measures are in place I doubt that any party will want to buck the system.

    The only thing that we can do to stop this, AFAICS, is too little, too late. But we should do it anyway: at the next election, vote for *anyone* but Labour. Vote for the party most likely to win your seat that isn’t Labour.

    I distrust all politicians equally. But we can send a message to them that these policies are not acceptable.

  27. @16 clif

    while your self congratulatory rant was entertaining you seemed to willfully miss the point. that the requirement for a degree had been implemented with a supposed 24 hours notice. to attain a degree in that short a period would certainly be impressive, or suspicious. why should someone who IS highly skilled require a paper of certification when the most likely prove it every day they are at work. it’s a waste of time.
    the country would loose the benefits of having such people. arbitrary bureaucracy is wasteful on all sides.

    as for the rfid and biometric id scheme.. I wouldn’t be overly concerned as the technology as it is is unable to support the proposed use. it’s inherently insecure.
    as a radio device essentially broadcasts the information its programmed to on request. this is then available to anyone who cares to listen reproducible and eventually mutable

    way to give criminals a great tool

    charliebus sittibus
    on the deskonorum
    deskibus collapsibus
    charlie on the floorum

    I’m Spartacus

  28. Cory, as an expat myself (living in Germany though, whew) I know how awful it can be to deal with immigration bureauocracies. I find your situation fucking chilling.

    24 hours notice that you need a university degree to keep your immigration status? Christ. Can’t you find some other people in your situation and start some kind of a class action lawsuit?

    The people who are married to British citizens and are the parents of British citizens, but can’t stay have even more sympathy. I can’t believe the government is actively going to start breaking up families.

    Between this and the insanely high cost of living, I submit that London is going to become a soulless cultural wasteland within 10 years.

    Two suggestions:

    * Move to Berlin (I know it’s a played out town but it is still cheap, charming and international)

    * Find a university that will give you an honorary degree.

    Again, this is a terrible, terrible thing and you have my greatest sympathy.

  29. here here. i’m also a commonwealth national who’s been in london for nearly five years. i can apply for residence in a few months, but i am seriously considering why i would bother. the most attractive reason to stay is the pan-european passport; so once that’s in my hands, i’m off to somewhere warmer (both in climate and social senses).

    Fight Errorism


  30. My sympathies to you Mr Doctorow. I know many people who used to vote Labour who are currently planning to leave the country to move to pastures new in order to escape the pervasive atmosphere of fear that is being created in this country. The sad thing about it is that the same party that brought us the welfare state has turned its principles on their head and seeks to control through fear and surveillance.

    In the past few years I have gone from reviling Americans for keeping Bush in office, to envying them for their chance to turn it all around with a young, smart person who believes that change comes from the bottom up. He may not be perfect but he is better than anything we currently have. Come our next election we will have none of that. It reminds me of the late, great D.Adams writing in H2G2:
    “But you hate the lizards, why do you keep voting for them?”
    “Because if we don’t vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in”.

    @Amccann, leftist politics is not about state control of the individual. It is about individual participation in and control of the state.

  31. On the flip side (there are probably more than two sides to this issue), the technology and its application are pretty cool. I’d be willing to do it, just to help G.B. prove to the rest of the world that some SF writers are quite good at seeing the future. George ol’boy, you were so on the mark. I’m willing to bet that Doctorow is gifted in this way too.

  32. This is exactly where leftism logically leads.

    While on the other hand, conservatism has really preserved freedoms in the US. It does such a good job we’ve exported it to Iraq, and that place is like a freedom theme park these days. You sir, have nailed it. Bravo.

  33. It’s a painful situation to be in Cory,

    (and guys, the degree isn’t the issue here. even with a degree he’d still be a foreign national and still required to carry papers. the degree story is just an example of the capricious practices of the UK Government with respect to immigration)

    I left the US for not too dissimilar reasons, Cory.. the fact that they would routinely “randomly” strip-search my mother (tiny little arabic lady) when she came to visit me just drove me mad. Nothing at all to do with her country of origin on her passport. No, no, just random. Every time.

    Had they implemented something like this there, I’d have left sooner

    Ironically, I’m thinking of emigrating to Toronto. Having been an immigrant in the US this rankles like you wouldn’t believe.

    The Maya Ann Evans sham was the beginning of it for me. This might be the end.

  34. As a foreigner living in Japan I am already subject to this and have been for the last 4 years.
    I carry an Alien Registration Card, and can be stopped by police at any time and expected to show it at threat of being fined or worse.

    Not the fear of the “muslim menace”: This having come about out of good old down home xenophobia. Even worse, ethnic Koreans born in this country, who have no connection to Korea outside of ancestry, are expected to carry foreign registration. That is to say people who were born in Japan, lived their whole lives here and only speak Japanese, are required to register as aliens.

  35. ID cards, well that’ll stop terrorism in it’s tracks.

    Bloody hell this island lurches to the right more by the day.

    And although I am in no way remotely a nationalist I am coming around to the idea that Scotland and England divergeat some point in their attitudes and perhaps it is best that we disolve this Union.

    No harm , no foul, just shake hands divvy up the toy box and go our different ways.

    And the first item on the agenda for an independent scotland would be to houndthosedolts of the SNP out of office, any politcal outfit with National and Party in their name are not to be trusted.

    It’s a shame really that the UK has gone so wrong, ID cards is just the most recent manifestation of the state interfering where it shouldn’t while allowing those who actually need to be kept on a short leash to run riot.

  36. As a foreigner in the Netherlands I carry one of those cards too. “Unveil” is too grand a word for publicizing a design that’s basically copied from an existing one.

    In the Netherlands the cops have to be pulling you over for some violation or another, even if it’s just not having a bike light after sundown. In some neighborhoods, they’re also allowed random preventative frisking, but I don’t know whether they can demand ID too.

    But requiring any portion of the population show ID logically demands requiring that all show ID. A cop accosts someone on the street and demands ID. The person doesn’t have one. Absent obvious cues, is the person a native citizen or a foreigner who’s just not carrying ID?

    Basically, it makes everyone illegal unless they can prove themselves legal.

    The Tories may denounce the ID plan now, but however far it advances, they won’t roll it back. At best they’ll leave it on hold, but it’s more likely they’ll allow it to chug along slowly while purging it of Labour elements. Then they’ll use the next emergency (or fan a moral panic if there isn’t one) as an excuse to really pick up where Labour left off.

  37. @6 marcusjroberts – Au contraire, being a commonwealth citizen means that you can vote in semi-meaningful elections in the UK, unlike us bleeding foreigners from Europe. We just have the right to pay taxes. (semi-meaningful because the electoral system is so archaic and rigged^H^H^H^H^Himbalanced)

    I’ll probably end up carrying my tax return around instead of an ID card.

  38. A very visual way to protest this is for everyone who is forced to get one (and that will include me) to pin theirs to their left sleeve, yellow star style, for a week.

    I doubt it’ll change many minds in government, but it’ll make for some good photos…

  39. #44 Good idea Lucien, just a pity that it’s an incredibly sad thing to have to do to get a point across about freedom & democracy in a ‘free & democratic’ country.

    Jeebus, we can’t even protest on Westminster now without permission. Democracy at its finest…

    ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others’ – Churchill (Well, his daughter, not him apparently!)

  40. I saw this coming back in 1997 when Blair was swept into office on a wave of left wing mass-euphoria. I wish I could say it feels good to have been proven right.

  41. “We all want to see our borders more secure,

    This will not do that. This policy affects legal immigrants who are already following the existing processes. It does nothing to stop illegal immigrants, save marginalize them.

    and human trafficking,

    Again, no help here. People trafficked for sex work are either going to have false identification or be held out of sight of authorities. Unless you go house to house and even then. Those trafficked for labor would also have false id. If they are found without id they’ll simply be deported and that actual criminals, the traffickers, just keep on keeping on.

    organised immigration crime

    By targeting the lowest rung of the ladder? That’s like preventing homicide by issuing jaywalking summons. Organized crime will crack the id and make fakes almost instantly, or simply bribe their way past any stop. ID cards to stop the mob? No.

    illegal working and benefit fraud tackled.

    Finally, some honesty. It’s about money. The law enforcement benefits can only be reaped if you set up checkpoints, random searches and house to house…oh.

    ID cards for foreign nationals, in locking people to one identity, will deliver in all these areas,”

    No. You’re burdening people who are already obeying the law, making criminals out of law-abiding people and creating a identifiable second-class who can be discriminated against, harassed and (thanks to you) easily identified.

    From the Magna Carta to the RFID. Well, it was a good run.

  42. “Why would anyone leave Canada ????”

    Sigh. Have you seen who’s running Canada these days? I was ruminating on moving to the UK myself if the current Canadian government stays in power much longer.

  43. I was a New Yorker who lived in England the summer of 1968. When we returned to NYC in September all our super liberal friends wanted to move to Britain after the riots and arrests in Chicago during the ’68 Democratic Convention. Our experience in Britain, especially in Devon where factory workers from the North went to summer “camps” run like factories (whistles and schedules) for vacations, was that rich people were conservatives and poor people were ‘socialists’ or labor-party members. Back in NY liberals seemed to feel that England was socially progressive whereas living there felt to us like going back to 1935.

    This post of Cory’s is the most interesting one I’ve ever read on BoingBoing because it describes clearly how liberals become fascists, a subject few people want to deal with. Thank you.

  44. “Cory, as an expat myself (living in Germany though, whew) I know how awful it can be to deal with immigration bureauocracies. I find your situation fucking chilling.”

    An expat in Germany feeling sympathy for a friend residing in the UK… history can be ironic to the point of cruelty.

    As a Canadian, I find it distressing that two of my country’s closest allies and trading partners are undergoing a slow, sure creep into fascism. I find myself oddly gladdened that most of our WWII veterans have died before seeing this happen.

    Talk about a slap in the face…

  45. I am English, but have been Portugese resident for 20 years. I am obliged to carry my residence permit ( non biometric just an old fashioned card/photo etc ) or risk arrest until my identity is confirmed.
    I accept this restriction as one of the requirements of my chosen country of residence, where I always try to behave as a welcome guest.
    If I wasn’t happy to do so, I could always go ” home”

  46. Also, like in Japan (as mentioned by #39) the US refers to us permanent residents as “aliens”. I understand that it’s a technically correct term, but boy, it’s not very welcoming. My unique number, as listed on my Green Card, is my “Alien Number” and is required on most medical/financial paperwork. I crinkle my nose every time I see the field…

    Alien Number: ___________________

  47. There already exists a petition to downing street regarding banning the use of biometrics in the day to day lives of britons:

    Every signature helps, at present, there are only 140 and a bit of advertising never hurt.

    For those who cba going to the site, the proposal reads:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent the collection of biometric data of people making use of essential services in the U.K.

    We the undersigned believe the collection of biometric data (fingerprints, facial structure, iris pattern and so forth) by the essential services (such as airlines, airports, taxis, hospitals, etc.) is invasive, devisive and undermines our right to privacy.

    Whilst in certain circumstances the collection of biometric details may be warranted such as from those under suspicion by the police of committing a crime, the use of biometric data should not be required for the day-to-day running of an individual’s life including their freedom to travel within the borders of the United Kingdom.

  48. Best wishes, Cory. I’m a soon-to-be-expat trying to decide where to GTFO of America to, and this frightens me almost into staying, if it’s to set the pattern for other countries and future years.

    I’m planning on moving out after I finish my undergrad studies – it seems my pool of safe destinations is drying up, though.

    What’s Ireland like, with respect to immigration and civil liberties?

  49. I carried a card much like that when living in Tokyo (all foreigners must do so.) I never thought much about it and it never occurred to me to ask whether it had a RFID or not.

    I definitely had to show it to police occasionally when doing suspicious things like going to work on the train.

  50. Next they’ll be forcing you to take the Gardasil vaccine against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. A vaccine that even the CDC doesn’t recommend for immigrants.

    It isn’t mandatory for U.S. citizens. They are just testing it out on immigrants first, because after all, they are expendable.

  51. I completely agree with you. I strongly oppose ID cards, and think the plan to roll them out in stages, to foreigners first, is wrong and insidious, and said so when it was first leaked back in January (see e.g. this article: ) I oppose New Labour, vote Lib Dem, and support No2ID.

    What can we actually do to stop ID cards? Voting New Labour out won’t stop the things they’re doing this year. You say “you must defend us”, and Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, says we mustn’t “sit idly by” ( ), and I agree with you both, but please tell me how.

  52. If you don’t like it, go home? What about “First they came for the immigrants, and I said nothing, because I was not an immigrant?”

  53. I could not agree with Cory Doctorow’s point more. I used to think of Britain as calm and civilized. No longer. Britain is hyperventilating. I’m not really sure there’s any real point in arguing about Left and Right anymore. Those positions are gone. I would never call George Bush a rightist. He is something new altogether. I think ultimately we are left simply with those who want freedom of expression and those who don’t.

    If you believe in freedom of expression on a very basic level, as a foundation, you will not stop people for unreasonable searches or report them to the police for taking photographs.

    If you are against freedom of expression, you will install CCTVs everywhere, stop photographers, search people for vague security reasons, throw bombs into cafes, invade countries, request library lending lists, threaten cartoonists with beheading, put contracts out on novelists, and you will adhere fast and true to the conviction that a higher power has spoken some special words to you.

  54. You have my sympathy Cory. Someone like #16 saying

    “So get your degree.”

    clearly has no idea what’s going on. A few years ago I was living in Australia and decided to apply for permanent residence. Could I apply as an IT consultant, with 13 years’ experience? Not without a degree. (I have a first-class degree – but in philosophy!

    Now in that situation the rules were clear from the start; and I had the option to take an exam instead based on my experience. (Since this would have cost even more $$$$$ on top of the visa application, and taken months, I didn’t take up this option).

    But for the UK government to suddenly change the conditions of your residence like that, with no notice, is utterly disgusting.

    The only good thing I can say about the current UK government is that throws into relief how decent individual British people can be. Why on earth are we all putting up with these bastards?

  55. “An expat in Germany feeling sympathy for a friend residing in the UK… history can be ironic to the point of cruelty.”

    Hey Snoproblem, I’ve got more irony where that came from!

    My family has a long and proud tradition of getting the heck out of Dodge just before the countries we live in go downhill:

    *left Germany for Russia during the Reign of Katherine the Great, escaping economic problems and accepting Katherine’s bonuses for German farmers

    *left Russia at the start of the 20th century during a wave of pogroms, came to America

    *2001: I decide that student loans and Bush suck, whereas Europe and free college are pretty awesome, and go to Germany

    Draw your own conclusions!

  56. Isn’t this really the same thing as an American Green Card?

    I immigrated from Canada to the US 6 years ago and the Department of Homeland Security has all my biometrics, as do the CIA and FBI. Not only did they take my fingerprints, they took blood samples (to test for HIV), x-rayed my chest (to check for TB), examined my female parts to confirm my sex and that’s only the physically intrusive things I was required to go through.

    If it’s an outrage that this is happening in England, some might want to consider that it’s been happening in the US for some time now. Furthermore, it’s my understanding that, by law, I am required to carry my Green Card with me at all times.

    Can I see your papers? I have mine.

  57. @6, MARCUSJROBERTS (or anyone else who knows)

    Does it work the same the other way? Would a UK subject get preferential treatment in trying to emigrate to Australia because of being a Commonwealth citizen? Just wondering, I don’t know.

    Personally, I’ve been out of the UK for a year or so, and I’m damn glad of it, with this horrible authoritarian nightmare of a government, but I’m in the US which isn’t much better and I’m only here temporarily on a work visa anyway.

    Might be time to look for a more palatable alternative.

  58. Amccann – There is no inevitable connection between liberalism and a surveillance state. Crazy right-wingers are just as likely to abuse the levers of power. I hope you can reconsider your overly-simple view of liberals, it limits you.

  59. So, this is not meant to be flame bait or anything, I genuinely am curious:

    It seems to me that a lot of normal British people have no idea that this is going on – that one needs to not live in the country in question in order to better see the serious issues that are arriving.


    1. Is this the case? Or is there a big group of angry Britons that are making a fuss about surveillance, etc (that aren’t on BB) that I’m missing?

    2. I live in the US. If #1 is true (i.e., people that live in a state heading towards repression don’t notice it, the frog in boiling water argument), does it seem, to the outside world, that we’re heading towards a surveillance state?

    I realize that these questions might seem like a joke, but it does genuinely seem that Britain is worse-off than the US, when it comes to civil liberties. Am I off my rocker? Discuss.

  60. Cory, come home. Canada needs you.

    I was born in Wales and came to Canada as a kid in ’68. I consciously made it my Home when I turned 16 – it made my parent do the same.

    Bring your voice Home to help rally the people so Canada will not slide down the same slope as the US and UK.


  61. Is there some other means of distributing government services to 60 million people other than by creating a database, determining eligibility and identifying those who qualify vs those who do not?

    The root of the problem is one of the logistics of high population densities, limited government resources and highly mobile populations. There is a need to provide for the general safety as well as to enforce the borders. If you fail to provide even that base level society collapses.

    What are the options? Dictatorships solve the problem by simply making everyone equal, no one has any rights. Close the borders to keep people in. That makes things much easier. Or give everyone the same rights. Everyone can vote or access health care. Close the borders to keep people out. Still another solution would be to eliminate all government services and benefits. Maybe keep driver licenses or other essential services but toss out the expensive items. Or finally you could eliminate the people, get the population down to a more manageable level. In the past wars have served this function.

    If you don’t want war and you want to live in a free and open society and you expect the population density to remain the same or even increase significantly then it seems to me you must accept some form of social control. ID cards are good for this, they work.

    The big complaint seems to be government incompetence in administering these plans. In addition, non-democratic forces do appear to attempt to subvert the system to their own ends. That is a side problem so perhaps one needs better government or a different kind of government, or perhaps better skilled people. But you will still need the ID card. It’s simply a pragmatic solution to the problems of high population density, high mobility and differential government services.

    So here is what you need. Better people who are educated on how to deal with living in high density cities, mere literacy is not enough. You also need better government. More accountability and greater transparency and oversight in addition to basic competence. Good luck with those.

  62. Sick, sick, sick.

    Thank you for writing an articulate entry on the subject. I’m sure there are others who do not know how to express themselves, and you have helped stand for them.

    What will be required now is great courage on the part individuals, especially, UK immigrants and citizens.

    The earlier that courage is demonstrated by a vote, speaking out, or in any other way being vocal about the issue, the less will be required in the long run.

    Yet, I am thoroughly amazed at politician’s total lack of respect (even feigned) in the population they “govern”.

    Stay strong.

  63. This is so offensive, unimaginably bad – foreign spouses will soon be behaved as badly in the UK as they have been for some years now (I say to my shame, and that of my country) here in my native Denmark.

    What became of the freedom we were so proud of?

  64. @67, etc.: no, this is not the same as a green card.

    The card itself is not the problem. The problem is that the card will be the key that unlocks all the government databases that store information about you, so that effectively there will be one database logging every time you go to the doctor, open a bank account, start a new job, travel outside the UK … (actually, no-one outside the government knows the full extent of the use this system will be put to).

    These databases are the real issue, not the card. They are growing, and the government has already proved that they are incapable of keeping them secure. They lose the information. They sell the information. And even without those two, the number of people who seem to have legitimate access to it is unbelievable.

  65. Shadowfiend: Is that different from a green card? They log mine when I go to the doctor, open a bank account, start a new job or travel outside the US.
    I don’t see the difference.
    Is the central database the difference? I’d bet a fair bit that the data from the above occurrences at some point unites in one place.
    I think the UK government is doing the same thing as the US government, they just aren’t trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.

  66. Shadowfirebird: Is that different from a green card? They log mine when I go to the doctor, open a bank account, start a new job or travel outside the US.
    I don’t see the difference.
    Is the central database the difference? I’d bet a fair bit that the data from the above occurrences at some point unites in one place.
    I think the UK government is doing the same thing as the US government, they just aren’t trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.

    (Sorry about messing your name up in the first one – if you know about shadow priests in World of Warcraft you might understand why – force of habit)

  67. @Daneel: I believe that the lack of special treatment goes both way, Australia is equally as strict on people emigrating from the UK into Australia. Ironically the UK’s point system is based on Australia’s! :)

    @Kraut: Aye, that is true, I forgot that. I did vote in the last election and will continue to do so, so that is one benefit, that honestly I was surprised to get.

    Still, I feel we should get a little better treatment than certain cultures in Europe who haven’t been particularly nice to the UK over the last 100 years. Obviously citizenship to the UK means being an EU citizen so the issue is bigger than just AU-UK relations, but it doesn’t stop me wishing we were treated just a little better. I can trace relatives in Scotland back to the 1500s and it means nothing.

    But we digress from the current issue – being forced to carry an ID card, which from comments seems relatively common in many different countries. I think the issue for me is that I don’t really mind what it means here and now, but we have to trust that future governments are going to “do no evil” as such. Can we?

  68. hey Noen! Where you been?

    I suffer from depression, I needed a time out. Reading blogs only makes it worse. Watching the collapse of civilization doesn’t help any. Getting into stupid arguments and making a complete fool of yourself is just icing on that cake.

  69. “A very visual way to protest this is for everyone who is forced to get one (and that will include me) to pin theirs to their left sleeve, yellow star style, for a week.”

    An even better way to protest would be for everyone who receives a card to send it back to Number 10. Make the system unworkable – problem solved.

  70. we have to trust that future governments are going to “do no evil” as such. Can we?

    No, you can’t and you don’t have to. ID cards are necessary given high population density but it does not follow that we just give governments that kind of power. Transparency and accountability need to increase.

  71. This is indeed getting silly. The irritating thing is that there’s nothing I can do about it.

    I’m a natural British citizen (I can trace my family back to farmers in the 1700s). I don’t even bother voting, because it doesn’t matter. My borough has been Lib Dem for as long as I can remember. My MP has always voted the way I wanted on everything that matters, without me having to say anything. He voted against this. In fact, he agrees about this particular development. Nobody I can elect could do a better job. Nor could anybody do a worse job, since those votes were all lost.


  72. Boing Boing:

    …as part of a xenophobic campaign to arouse fear and resentment against migrants.

    The Labour Party has made a police state with a melting economy, a place where rampant xenophobia makes foreigners less and less welcome…

    I doubt it’s about indiscriminate xenophobia, since the British government has a raging hard-on for Muslim immigrants, and in general anything related to Islam, or at least pretends it does (anything else would be politically incorrect and thus extremely dangerous and destabilizing). Assuming the government hasn’t completely disappeared down the rabbit hole of multiculturalism, these measures might be some sort of attempt at curbing the effects of Islamic immigration, such as terrorism and Islamization, without appearing politically incorrect in the process.

    Britain is in many ways going down the toilet at a rapidly accelerating pace, so I don’t think you’d want to live there anyway.

  73. asuffield:
    The irritating thing is that there’s nothing I can do about it.

    I don’t even bother voting, because it doesn’t matter.

    Actually, you’ve gotten exactly what you deserve.

  74. I am a new user so I don’t know how to say my argument in style. But for me as a UK citizen it ends up as a very scary situation. It is exactly as our SF authors predicts, and we only know that they predict this to be a bad situation. But I have confidence in us (you know by “us” this is going to be a big argument, well at least I hope so. ;) and I decide too slowly with that too!!

  75. I don’t even bother voting, because it doesn’t matter.

    Actually, you’ve gotten exactly what you deserve.

    Please, explain. Who can I possibly vote for that would give a result that was in any way different? The representative for my district already does everything I could possibly want and it’s not enough to win on even one of the major issues. There’s nothing else left that could be any worse, and there’s no way for any candidate to be any better.

    (Or get a clue. Either way)

  76. amccann,

    Your comment history consists of the same poorly-reasoned accusations in multiple threads. Can you explain to me how that fits in with the notion of discourse? It seems more like an advertisement than an interchange of ideas.

  77. I am surprised and saddened to see so many people bringing politics into the ‘argument’. The issue has nothing to do with any form of politics. It has everything to your right of privacy and a lot to do with personal freedom. In simple words it is wrong and should not be accepted. Did I hear a microwave ding?

  78. HotPepperMan, how exactly did you reach the conclusion that this could not possibly have anything to do with politics?

  79. London is a great city – lived there myself for a bit.

    What I find interesting is that the kids in London and elsewhere around the countryside like wearing their hoodies up and thus obscuring their faces from the cameras. Meanwhile, the adults complain about the yobs and their hoodies.

    As with any fascist state, it only happens with the consent of the people; at the beginning at least.

    Canada, my home country and current toothbrush holder, is not perfect. But, considering the alternatives in the western, eastern northern and southern worlds, it is hard to argue against Canada being the best place to raise a family.

  80. I’m a UK citizen, and I’m getting married before the end of the year, and my partner is from outside the EU. So naturally what I’ve read here seriously worries me, particularly the part about a ‘quota’ in existence potentially limiting the number of spousal immigrants coming to the UK.

    I would be deeply appreciative if anyone out there can point me to any online resources relating to the possibility or even the hint of such a quota coming into existence, since I want to return to the UK with my future wife next year.

    I must say, being also a Scottish citizen, I’m increasingly in favour of Scottish recession from the UK. It has nothing to do with nationalism. It has everything to do with boarding a lifeboat and escaping what increasingly looks like a sinking ship.

  81. @#5 “Leftism is stateism”.
    Anyone (presumably American) who can say that after 8 years of neocon rule is an idiot.

    Cory: I’m very sad to hear what is happening to Britain. While, of course, it can’t last, it will cause a lot of pain until sanity resumes.

    I will literally move to unpopulated territory (without asking) before I’ll carry an RFID.

  82. big brother worries???
    ten seconds in the microwave… :) zap… no outward damage… but the chip is fried… then just carry your card in your back pocket for a few weeks… it will still be legible to the naked eye… but the scanners can not read them ;)

    But then they can just track you by your cell phone… yep yep yep… cell phones can be traced anywhere in the world even with they are turned off… isn’t technology wonderful?

  83. >Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students

    Can I apologise on behalf of the UK?

    We are currently governed by a generation of morally bankrupt, unprincipled shits.

    I don’t blame you for wanting to leave; I’d consider it myself – but currently the priority is to make damn sure that whoever replaces New Labour after the next election bloodbath restores as much sanity as we can manage.

    The thing that amazes me is that they just don’t seem to get what they have done.

    Matt Wardman

  84. One comment that I found interesting was by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, stating that one reason for the government to introduce ID cards to foreigners first was that they have no political voice.

    However, Commonwealth citizens _do_ have the vote in the UK. Also, migrants tend to cluster in the southern UK, and Labour is comparatively weak in this region. A targetted political campaign by the Liberal Democrats directed to resident non-citizen Commonwealth immigrants could have effects for Labour.

  85. @phillamb168 I definitely think so. My theory is that when you’re living in a country, you hear so much national politics that it’s hard to see the big picture, or some new laws may also just not make it big in the media, for example if some celebrity goes into rehab that day.

    In fact, I have had a disconcerting experience in the USA. I’m an EU citizen, so when my expat American boyfriend and I decided to visit his family for a couple weeks, I didn’t need to apply for a visa or anything. When getting my boarding pass, I had to sign a special document allowing the airline to give out all of my data (from bank details to what I chose for lunch on the plane) to the US government. They make it a “personal choice” to give that permission because it’s illegal in Germany. Arriving in the USA, I had to fill out some long forms revealing personal details (not so new), including profiling questions that also wouldn’t be allowed in Germany. Then, when I went through passport control, they took my photo and fingerprints. At that time it was two index finger fingerprints; I heard they have since extended it to all ten. Already it was creating huge lines and the people working there were unfriendly, despite info posters about this measure spouting about “guests” and “friendship” and “courtesy”. They have the right to infinitely store the data they collect from you, and I doubt that they delete it at some point, but yet every time you want to enter the US you have to go through the same process.

    I’ve done this twice now and every time it made me feel very unwelcome to say the least. I would definitely not go to the USA for touristy reasons, because this kind of thing spoils the entire visit and there are plenty of places that enthusiastically welcome my Euros. I’m not your average profiling victim. I’m a pretty, young, blonde girl with a common German name and excellent English. I can only imagine how they would treat somebody who actually looks suspicious.

    What’s most worrisome however, is that none of the Americans I talked to actually knew about this measure. And that includes DHS officials as well as airport security staff of non-international airports. None knew of it. Many were aghast to know that their country is doing that. A few told me to my face that foreigners entering the US are probably criminals. Well, if they keep it up, the USA won’t see many friendly visitors anymore.

  86. here is the`problem: to make a stand assures eventual defeat since`all is transitory. Your ancestors, Cory, survived to bear you since they were flexible enough to bend before irresistible force. On the obverse; “to ensure the triumph of evil, it is sufficient that good men do nothing”
    How to pick your battles? Family complicates – and is also ultimately the only reason to fight in the first place. Should Masada be ideal? Or cautionary example? There is no good tribal model, only the`species. Do what it takes to ensure tomorrow, then work backwards`from there to make it better.

    The older I get and the less attached this world I become, the more objectively I see and the more I conclude that human survival will be wholly unearned. We just are not a bright enough species to be worth keeping. We have absolutely no saving grace but a capacity for love – which of course`we value least.

    Float lightly Cory, do not let your feet become fixed or your mind will stop and you will be struck down. Fear stops the mind.

  87. asuffield @ 90
    Please, explain. Who can I possibly vote for that would give a result that was in any way different?

    “Nobody can walk all over you unless you first agree to lie down”. If you can’t be arsed to do anything I have little pity for you. You refuse to participate and yet you complain that you don’t get what you want. All while you are getting robbed blind by those who are in the game. I conclude that it must not be that bad if you can’t be bothered to get up and do something.

    Maybe ask the French? I’m sure they have a few guillotines lying around somewhere. They are an excellent way of getting the Aristocracy’s attention.

  88. A quick note to all the people talking about emigrating – the UK National Identity Register will affect UK citizens living abroad, so you’ll also have to renounce your UK citizenship.

    Frankly, for all that the Lib Dems voted against the Identity Cards Bill in Parliament, they’ve not exactly been very useful since then. Voting against Labour (or at least contacting your Labour MP or candidate and telling them you’re voting against them because of the National Identity Scheme) at the next general election may well be a good thing, but probably not worth joining over a party for.

    If you want to actually do something effective about ID cards, the database state, centralised computer health records, and all the resultant state control, expense and risk – join NO2ID.

    All new memberships and donations are currently being matched pound for pound by the Joseph Roundtree Reform Trust. NO2ID have a network of effective local grassroots campaign groups, and getting involved in these to help spread the word to the public, and lobby local government who can take steps to protect people from the Scheme.

    NO2ID is the largest active civil liberties campaign in the UK, and it’s still not enough. We need your help – if you can’t give us your time, give us your money. We’ll spend it wisely opposing the Database State.

  89. If you can’t be arsed to do anything I have little pity for you.

    Are you thick? What can I do? None of the candidates on my ballot can do anything more, nor can there ever be a candidate on my ballot who can do anything more.

    You keep blathering about how it’s all my fault for not doing anything, while avoiding the actual question: do what?

    (I can assure you that I am not able to orchestrate an armed overthrow of the UK government just because they make non-citizens carry ID cards. Thing would have to get a lot worse before anything like that became possible)

  90. Coming late to this discussion, I read with interest all the terrific points. Like a fair number of the commentators, I am a Scot, and while I was always going to vote for independence if the SNP get their referendum in 2010 (or anytime), I’m now see it as a ‘last chance’ for remaining a resident.

    So my question to the learned posters is this: if Scotland is doomed to remain forever the ‘top bit’ of the UK, where should I go to avoid the biometric bedlam? The USA seems no better than here. Canada’s a terrific country but obviously has its fair share of loonies in parliament. A few have mentioned Germany — I guess I could live with that. Shame that Italy gets a bad rep as I love the non-repressive parts of the culture.

    So, basically, where do we all go?

  91. a grass-roots, trans-national movement? No one leaves their native land but swears instead allegiance to a world-wide tribe? Business has long done this to its advantage. Organized religion still tries but is losing ground since it gives nothing back. We stay were we are and use the web to unite and focus loyalty to the Nation of Humans.
    People can endure incredible suffering if they feel they serve a higher purpose. Where is our Prophet?

  92. We stay were we are and use the web to unite and focus loyalty to the Nation of Humans.
    People can endure incredible suffering if they feel they serve a higher purpose. – TAKUAN #109

    Are you sure we can’t just go to Belgium or something?

  93. Left-wing governments usually manage to find new levels of awfulness to plumb. Their supporters hate the right-wing with such a poignant intensity that they can justify anything. 8 years from now, USians are cursing the hated Obama much as UKians currently curse Blair & Brown.

  94. @14 — Star of David…. Well we (the English) had a go at that a long time before teh Nazis.

    ‘Edward I of England’s Statute of Jewry prescribed “the form of two Tables joined, of yellow felt of the length of six inches and of the breadth of three inches’.

  95. Those of us who believe that the Tories would be worse do so because we’re old enough to remember when they were last in government; we are still living with the consequences of their misrule, after all. And don’t get me started on the sheer irony of “a senior Tory MP” fighting for civil liberties, either.

  96. First they came for the Canadians and I did not speak out. ;)

    Perhaps one of the lessons of Little Brother is that the more automated systems there are in place, the more easily the system can be subverted. But then maybe I misunderstood the sub-text.

    Mostly, on behalf of UK geeks everywhere, I’d just like to say “sorry”.

  97. @TAKUAN

    Brilliant! I hadn’t seen that one before (or don’t remember seeing it).

    “The Sprouts” does it for me.

    It occurs to me that most of the Pythons fled the UK too, though probably not because of ID cards.

  98. This isn’t something new. It’s incipient fascism, plain and simple. And with the world economy going down the tubes, it’s only going to get worse. Once there are riots in the streets due to 20% unemployment because the economy has frozen solid, then they’ll really crack down.

  99. reponse to number #54
    Im portuguese living in the uk for the past 5 years.
    yes in portugal you need and Id card but this is for every citizen,and if are stopped by police and don’t have it with could go to jail or pay a fine.its general.
    Don’t agree with this new and my family live here and work very hard and pay our taxes.we don’t take one penny from the goverment and now they want to label us depending on our capacities.this remind’s me of what nazis used to do to jews.why don’t just puts us all in line and do a mark on our bottom with a hot iron?I have to prove everyday that i’m just capable like everyone else just because my mother tongue is not english,when most of the time i have more culture that half the people i work it.
    Yes i disagree with illegals and people who came her and don’work and only live of benefits (english born people do it as well).but this new card is not going to make a diference in that area is just going to bring more discrimination and disconfort for people who just want to work and live normally.

  100. @almostwitty

    I think many left-wingers are very uneasy about voting Labour in the next election. But who else is there to vote for? A vote for the Lib Dems will, in most constituencies, alas mean that the Tories will get in. And if you think Labour’s ID card proposals are bad (and how could they get any worse?), I’m reasonably sure the Tories’ would be worse.

    I’m sure you can’t say exactly how they would be worse (say, using bullet points), it’s just a feeling you’ve got. Ask yourself who benefits from that and why you’ve believe it.

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