Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Police and the National Identity Register

My apologies for not blogging much recently, this citizen has been rather busy. Thankfully the petition to objecting to ID cards coming to an end has given me some material to work with.

With the end of the petition, the Prime Minister sent an email reply to the 27,000 signatories. Within the email was a rather controversial paragraph relating to police access to the National Identity Register.
"They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register."
This has caused some alarm, the police should not simply be allowed to casually look up anyone's details in an attempt to match fingerprints to people.

Hopefully this is not the case, although it's hard to tell from what people are saying.

Blair's spokesman:
"If the police ask for fingerprints to be cross-checked, that has always been part of the intention of the bill."
So the NIR would simply be used for checks, but who exactly will be cross checked?

Joan Ryan:
"There won't be any fishing expeditions. That is complete nonsense. That is not what can happen. We've always said one of the real advantages of identity cards would be the fight against crime and protecting the public."

"If police want to check fingerprints found at the scene of the crime that they can't find on their own databases then they will work with IPS staff."

"And surely no-one would suggest that we should put obstacles in the way of police investigating crime and bringing offenders to justice?"
Joan doesn't shed any more light on the matter, will the police simply be able to run through the National Identity Register looking for a match or will it require a specific person? To my mind, it would be acceptable to perform a check on a specific person if they had reasonable grounds for suspicion. I hope that's also the Home Office's view.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

Sunday, February 11, 2007

John McDonnell in Norwich

On Friday night, this citizen attended a speech in Norwich by leadership candidate John McDonnell. Attendance was a little on the low side although in fairness it was a pretty miserable night. Earlier in the day he had given a speech to a much larger group of students over at the UEA.

The gist of his speech was that leading up to 1997 we had built a broad coalition of supporters and over the next 10 years proceeded to alienate each section of that coalition. Public sector cuts have driven away union support, Iraq has driven away those who were anti war, and so on. He then went over what exactly he thought the current government had done wrong and what he thought a Labour government should do. He finished off answering a few questions, sadly this citizen didn't get the chance to ask any of his.

My Thoughts
While John quite clearly managed to express his disatisfaction with the status quo, his ability to put forward an alternative vision was not quite so clear. On questions of actual policy he was quite vague. For example, on the subject of taxation he didn't want to commit to any plans to change income tax.

Also missing from his speech was any mention of any wars other than Iraq, no mention was made of Afganistan or Kosovo, making it hard to determine where he stood on the subject of international politics.

A curious subject that was touched upon was the fact that there had been no media coverage of John's campaign

I have to say that I wasn't convinced by John's speech. Admittedly my own political beliefs lie somewhat to the right of John's, but I feel that a good politician should be able to win over people who don't entirely share the same beliefs. The meeting felt more like John preaching to the crowd than John trying to convince new followers. In conclusion then, John McDonnell will have to seriously up his game if he hopes to beat the big clunking fist of Gordon Brown.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh how things change..

It was a mere two years ago in December 2004, there was a Conservative backing for ID cards.

Two years and one lost election later and the Tories have hopped back on the fence, got off the other site and jumped on the anti ID card bandwagon. ID cards are now "Labours Bad Idea", as shown in this fine example of a Tory U turn.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk