Angela Epstein, journalist at the Manchester Evening News and ID card cheerleader has today authored a typically desperate promotion of the ID card scheme after (in her own words) ‘a shmooze with home office minister Meg Hillier’. One can only imagine what such a meeting involved but if Hillier’s webcast is anything to go by, Ms Epstein must be very impressionable indeed.
Epstein is one of 1,386 unusual individuals who have applied for the card - which is being trialled in Manchester (population 2,500,000) – and makes no effort to hide that she was ‘thrilled to be invited to be first in the queue’.
Her agonising attempt to put a mumsy feel to the benefits of the ID card scheme is wretched and her reasoning stretches no further than the standard defence that we have proven on several occasions is completely fatuous:
‘I personally can’t see what there is to lose if you’re a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide’
Time and time again Alan Johnson et al have tried to dupe the public with this feeble line but it misses the rotten principle. Everyone becomes a suspect and rather than being used as an investigative tool, a DNA database is the first port of call and ultimately it is the public who suffer.
‘But I genuinely felt proud and excited when I was finally handed my card. I loved seeing my name, face and the words British citizen on this tiny piece of plastic. That’s who I am, and why shouldn’t anyone know?’
Anyone who possesses a passport has their name on a slightly larger leather bound document but not many have a burning desire to band it around. One only has to cite the Jeremy Clarkson incident to highlight the importance of keeping your identity private.
The remainder of the article is just plain terrifying:
‘if it’s another weapon in the fight against identity fraud, illegal workers and terrorism, then that can only be for the good.’
Of course it can only be for the good. How could a titanic arsenal of surveillance possibly be a bad thing? Well there's the government's chronic record on data loss and data being stolen for a start. Or the problem of being fined if your information is found to be out of date.
To conclude, Epstein seamlessly and quite bizarrely flows into Mills and Boon mode:
‘Slipping it into my purse and slinking off into the gloom of an icy winter afternoon, I felt like I was pocketing a piece of history.’
Here, it can safely be affirmed, ID cards are beyond the realms of sensuality, even for Angela. The sooner the Epsteins of this world wake up and smell the Victory Coffee the sooner we can attempt to regain our vanishing civil liberties.
By James Stannard