Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 July 2002

Making Criminals Out Of Us All

HOME SECRETARY David Blunkett hopes to introduce Identity (ID) Cards which we would have to carry to gain access to public services such as health, benefits and education.

By John Reid

The card-carrying may be 'voluntary' but if you're on benefits or unemployed it will in effect be compulsory. Refusal to carry the card or even losing it may carry fines.

ID cards were abandoned in 1951 due to huge opposition including civil disobedience. Now the card is being put forward as a cure-all solution to crime, terrorism and 'illegal' asylum.

But even Peter Lilley - a former Tory minister - says that the police "almost never had problems identifying suspects, only in catching and convicting them.

"The security services explained that terrorists rarely conceal their identity". Organised criminals and terrorist organisations could anyway quite easily obtain forged documents.

All so-called 'illegal' immigrants, most of whom quite legitimately claim asylum, nonetheless have their fingerprints taken, which are stored on a central computer. They are given an identity document without which they cannot legally obtain a job or benefits.

People may say carrying a credit card identifies you, is carrying just one more bit of plastic a problem? But if you forget your credit card it's not a criminal offence. If you were stopped and didn't have your identity card it would be.

If you fail to report that you've lost it, you would commit a criminal offence; likewise if you don't notify a change of address. It would potentially criminalise thousands of law-abiding citizens, without helping catch one criminal or terrorist.

Even right-wing President Bush does not consider IDs worth introducing in the USA. So the scheme, estimated to cost 1 billion, would have little effect on reducing crime or terrorism or even so-called 'illegal' immigration, it would just alienate and criminalise large sections of the population.

ID cards would also increase the police's stop and search policies. Blacks, Asians, indeed anybody who looked 'foreign' could be stopped and searched. This would cause even more tension between the police and the population, particularly the Black and Asian communities.

If a poll was carried out now most people might favour bringing in ID cards. When an attempt was made to introduce a similar ID scheme to Australia, initially the polls showed support for the scheme, but as opposition groups explained its implications, opposition grew to 90% in the polls and the plans were abandoned.

A similar campaign needs to be waged in Britain to get the scheme ditched here. I was involved in the campaign against ID cards in 1989, when Thatcher attempted to introduce them for football fans. I am certain a successful mass campaign can be built and won.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 5 July 2002:

Change This Rotten System

WorldCom fraud: Capitalism Is A Bankrupt System

New Labour's tax-avoiding friends

Making Criminals Out Of Us All

Innocent Afghans Killed By US 'Friendly Fire'

Watergate: Rotten Apples In A Mouldy Barrel

Argentina: New Crisis As Cops Kill Protesters

Tower Hamlets by-election: Socialist Alliance Provides No Alternative

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers: Fighting For Real Equality


Home   |   The Socialist 5 July 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleBooks that inspired me: The Mother

triangleHow the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

triangleTrade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake


triangleTories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system

triangle1,600 less benefits if your job goes - while super-rich splash cash

triangleBenefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces


triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Tories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system



Capitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation


Labour Party

Labour payouts: unions must discuss political representation



NHS pay: 15% for all now



From first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures



What would socialist universities look like?



Huawei: what's behind Johnson's u-turn?



Fight for our livelihoods... Fight for our lives!



Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity



Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!


The Socialist

Getting the Socialist over the summer



Fight for the NHS



Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more


Them & Us

Them & Us



Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020