Monday, December 31, 2007

Lib Dems Message for 08

The Lib Dems' Nick Clegg sets the scene for '08 adequately on one hand, and very well on the other.

It's of course impossible to disagree. For me Clegg's point is undermined through being founded on the government's incompetent loss of data at Revenue & Customs. Whilst it obviously proves that no government, especially the current one, can be trusted with private, personal data which it doesn't need, that's ultimately a sub point.

What we must all remember is that the individual determines the state, not the other way around. It is the fundamental cornerstone upon which all liberal democracies are founded. The government's ID card plans would involve a complete inversion of that principle. You can argue till you're blue in the face that technology has made that irrelevant - the inversion has already taken place. Well maybe - our surveillance society has made true privacy from the state almost impossible in this country - but no technology is one way. To suggest an inevitability about a technology is not to understand the way in which it works. Google can monitor huge amounts of our internet habits, but even Facebook was forced to back down in its attempts to monitor and manipulate its users.

Do you really want some chav temping in the Passport & ID Agency to tell you that you aren't who you say you are? ID cards won't make any difference against terrorism, they won't make any discernible difference against ID fraud and there hasn't ever been a government on this planet which hasn't misused power of this magnitude over its population. And don't forget if this plan comes to pass, your power over the government (which at the moment is supposed to be absolute) will fall away. That must not be allowed to happen. A good start by the new Lib Dem leadership - using Iraq as a touchstone issue changed everything for the party - this too will retain a unique selling point for them.

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