Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts And Other Busyness

ID Cards And The “Redneck Tendency”

Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg. 5.

It seems too many people in government want to find a way of introducing an ID card for British citizens without provoking a civil liberties backlash.

As such, the intention as it stands is to introduce ID cards for benefit claimants, on the pretext that it will cut down fraud, and a driving licence ID card, under the pretext of cutting down on car crime.

The Tory Party Conference heard calls for compulsory ID cards but government plans are to introduce the concept slowly and “voluntarily” and then engineer it so that life is made difficult if you haven’t got one.

In a London seminar given in September, Sir John Smith, ex-deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force and former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, described the push to introduce ID cards as being fuelled by the “redneck tendency”, describing it as a “dramatic over-reaction” to an “almost pathological interest in crime”.

“If that opinion held sway,” he argued, “the relationship between the police, the state and the citizen would be quite dramatically and adversely affected. For this reason leaders of the police service should continue their present opposition to it.”

He also described the growing incidence of public surveillance as leading to “civic one-up-man ship”.

“Such unwarranted concern could result in the creation of crime-free enclaves protected by the best that money could buy, yet surrounded by a sea of criminality and disorder,” he said. He argued that conducting surveillance in one area would simply displace criminals to other areas which couldn’t afford surveillance.