BBC – ID cards plans pass first hurdle: An attempt to derail the government’s controversial plans for identity cards has failed in the House of Commons. In the first Commons vote on the scheme, MPs voted by 385 to 93 to give the bill a second reading.
Here we go on the slow but steady sleep-walk to a police state…
Guardian – Voluntary scheme is prelude to compulsion: The new home secretary, Charles Clarke, warned MPs yesterday that the government would bring in compulsory identity cards once a voluntary system had been accepted by the British public.
Independent – Party leaders humiliated by ID card revolt: The huge scale of abstentions by both the Tories and Labour will be acutely embarrassing to Tony Blair and Michael Howard, who both pitched their personal authority behind the ID cards plans.
That may very well be, but – myself – I mostly see a lot of good men doing nothing.
No matter. Tony will get his ID card system, and today The Sun is there to explain why it’s so important that he does.
The Sun – Strong stance: It is good to see strong leadership from Michael Howard over ID cards. He ignored the protests of some Tory backbenchers – and the doubts of several shadow ministers – to give his party’s backing. By doing so, he spoke for the majority of Tory voters, for a poll shows that 80 per cent of them believe we should have ID cards to combat terrorism, illegal immigration and welfare fraud. Howard says the threat from terrorism is so great that it would be irresponsible to dismiss any plans put forward by the police and security services. The weak willies on both sides of the Commons should take note. New Home Secretary Charles Clarke rightly pointed out that ID cards will help to make each of us feel safer at no real cost to civil liberties. His opponents who talk about human rights forget the most important one of all: The right to live in peace. The question all the doubters must answer is this: Have you got a better way of fighting terrorists?
Yes, well you’ve got me there. We must make sacrifices in order to show terrorists that they can’t mess with our way of life.
And it’s just the terrorists, but welfare fraudsters this system is designed to defeat – so it’s no surprise to find Sun favourite Abu Hamza on the front page today, as The Sun reports he’s milking the welfare system in order to fund terrorists. Or something.
For clarity, we turn to Page 3… where Zoe (23, from London) thinks Muslim cleric Abu Hamza should not get any more handouts. She says: “He has some nerve threatening legal action. Here’s a man who is accused of very serious crimes. There would be a public uproar if he got any more cash.
1. Didn’t you know? If you’re accused of a serious crime these days, you’re more or less convicted. If you ever get a trial, that is.
2. Yes. A public uproar. Like the one in January where they managed to get just under 1% of their readership to ‘vote’ Abu Hamza out of the country.
Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Benefit fraud…
No2ID – FAQ – Will an identity card help eliminate benefit fraud?: The government has not provided evidence to support such a claim. David Blunkett went so far as to dismiss the significance of identity fraud in welfare, advising Parliament “benefit fraud is only a tiny part of the problem in the benefit system”. The majority of fraud on the benefits system is through under-reporting of income, or non-reporting of financial and family circumstances. Benefits agencies worldwide agree that false identity is not a key issue.