Friday, September 30, 2005

News from elsewhere

One of the most worrying stories of the week was the expulsion from the Labour conference. Not the story in and of itself you understand, we've come to expect this sort of behaviour from the nanny-staters. It was the bit when I looked at the newspapers and fond myself agreeing 100% with a front page Daily Mail headline. Consider Phlebas has a nice little round up. He also gives us a nice link here to the Virtual Stoa. I always liked Locke myself, although I prefer Mill. However, Nosemonkey wins the best title award for the news summary of the event.

The identity of ID cards

ID Cards are currently my hot issue. It bothers me greatly that such an invasion of individual privacy and individual rights is being pushed through largely on false information and by playing on public fear. These are all valid reasons and they're reasons which are being talked about elsewhere.

What interests me though, is the actual issue at hand here; identity. What is an 'identity' card anyway? Why identity on a piece of card? Something I find quite intriguing is that for all the arguments I've heard against ID cards, the best comes from a Conservative acquaintance of mine. He said a while back 'I am English, and as such I don't have to prove my identity to anyone.' That got me thinking, because it brings to bear a whole new issue of ownership of identity. Can identity really be controlled or managed by any organisation, state or otherwise, and even if it can, should it be?

The fundamental point for me is that no-ones identity is anyone's but their own. An identity cannot be encapsulated on a piece of plastic because it is a thing immanent to the person themselves, gained and granted by simple deign of being alive. The idea that one's identity can be included or even really expressed on a plastic card is, to me, quite ludicrous. No matter how much information is contained on the card it does not even scratch the surface of a person's identity. Any attempt to make a person reliant on such a device to confirm their identity is merely an attempt to reduce people to the facts and statistics of everyday life. We all deserve more than that, but instead of discussing the identity of identity cards, we're focussing on all the practical uses and not the reasons behind the cards themselves. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with being able to identify yourself via an ID card, but it should never be a necessity and it should certainly never subsume that which it is trying to represent.

Your identity is important and it's up for grabs. Don't let fear and misinformation take it away from you. I doubt you'll be allowed it back.

Reclaiming the nation for the liberal majority

Great Britain, not little England

That's what the nation state I belong to is, Great Britain. Yet it's under threat, not from some foreign menace, not from an overseas power, and not even from those who intentionally wish to break up the Union. It's under threat from it's own Government, which is determined to destroy the civil liberties and open minded ideals that made Britain great. It's under threat from small minded 'nationalists', who want to stop the world and get off, abandon our position as a great trading nation and blame Brussels for everything they dislike in the world. It's also under threat from reactionaries who want to set the constitution in aspic and refuse to reform or adapt. Let us remake Britain for the 21st Century.

An increasingly centralised, Westminster run society is losing touch with it's roots, and attempts to reform are either ridiculed or watered down so badly that they become counter productive. England has a democratic deficit, but those campaigning to fix it with a Parliament of its own would destabilise the Union in a much more damaging manner than this Government could ever manage. We support reforms to the constitution of this nation that decentralise and it's elected institutions and give them real power. The Scottish and Welsh devolutions are the first step, but we must ensure that future devolutions have genuine powers and do not threaten the existence of the state.

We reject ID cards, we reject attacks on our freedoms of speech, we defend the rights of an Englishman to live in his own castle. Voltaire was right, freedom of speech is an absolute. The reprehensible views of racists cannot be censored, they must be answered. Reason can, and must win through, to arrest someone for "glorifying" an act is to assualt the basic principles of this nation.

Great Britain was founded in 1707, nearly three hundred years ago. The anniversary approaches. Are we doing anything about it? Let's be proud to be British, and remember that we are also English, Welsh, Scottish or whatever. Let us look to the future and be proud of our heritage, not look to the past and try to bolt the doors.

I'm a Devonshire, Westcountry, English, British European. I can be, and am, proud to be all of these things. Maybe it's because I've actually read a few history books?