This is really not quite getting the point of Brexit at all. The idea being that since we’re leaving the European Union, gaining new and blue passports, we should therefore have an identity card system with biometric data and all that.
Yes, err, what?
Which is where the new passports come in. While arguing over what the new post-Brexit documents will look like and who will produce them, let us also seize the opportunity to bring in ID cards, complete with biometric data.
The threat of terrorism, the scourge of welfare fraud, above all the burden of illegal immigration all cry out for what is an overdue move. The most populous countries of Europe — Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and France — have some form of ID card. If migrants thinking of coming to Britain illegally knew that without an ID card they could never get a job, or on to a housing list, or find school places for their children, they would think twice.
The point of our leaving is that we get to not do what the Europeans do, isn’t it?
And one of the things we don’t do and they do do is that appalling event of “papers please.” It’s just not British.
But there’s much more to it than this. It’s an entire and complete change in the relationship between us and the state. Something that astonishes foreigners is that the British police cannot – OK, breached in certain ways but those very breaches still showing that the basic relationship is – stop you in the street and demand to know what you’re doing. “Going about my lawful business” is still a pure and complete response to such impertinence. They, whoever we call they they, the state, the police, them, do not have a right to know what we’re doing. We do have a right to go about as we wish without explaining ourselves. That’s the right, the relationship, which would change with the requirement to have ID. Because it is that very change itself.
The British settlement is that we the people call the state and it’s minions into being in order to help and aid us when we so desire. Other than that they can bugger off. The rather more continental one is that the people are the cattle to be managed by the state. And let’s not change that just because we’re leaving the European Union, eh?
As I said the last time ID cards were seriously suggested it’s such an appalling idea that I’d move back to Britain just so I could be jailed for refusing to have or present one.