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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2006

ID Cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

YET ANOTHER threatened 'backbench revolt' on identity (ID) cards by Labour MPs fizzled out on 13 February after some minor concessions swayed most 'rebels'.

ID cards could now be issued within three years. They won't be compulsory until 2013 but anybody renewing their passport from 2009 will get a full 'biometric' passport combined with an ID card and their details will be recorded on a national identity database.

This backdoor legislation has been labelled 'creeping compulsion', although new legislation will need to be approved before the scheme is made compulsory,

Government ministers claim these cards are essential to beat terrorism but civil rights campaigners Liberty point out that they are not a "magic bullet against fraudsters and terrorists." New York had ID cards before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Madrid had them before the bomb attack on the rail system in March 2004.

And the cost could be enormous - the government estimate that full biometric passport/ ID cards will cost 93 for a five-year card compared to the present 51 for a ten-year passport but the fee has yet to be set and the true cost may be hidden in extra charges. When the card becomes compulsory, there will be fines for failing to have a card or for forgetting to tell the authorities if your circumstances change.

People fear these cards will not only be used to increase harassment of such groups as ethnic minorities but also to try to ration access to services such as education and health. Meanwhile private companies will make fortunes out of Europe's largest public-sector computer project, estimated officially to cost 5.8 billion.

Socialists will keep up the campaign against the threat of ID cards and fight for abolition of the legislation.

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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.
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  • 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.
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In The Socialist 16 February 2006:

Troops out of Iraq

Fight for your future

Hands off our schools!

ID cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

The real cost of BP mega-profits

Universities and the arms trade

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

Building an alternative to the profit system

New Labour attacks the sick and disabled

Keep fighting New Labour's Education Bill

Labour's pro-business policies are punished

The housing scandal

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

Striking postal workers build support

Sick of the system

Marching for jobs and services


 

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