Host: OK, let’s go to Derby1. Hello Alex.
Alex: Oh, hi Nick, yeah, it’s … I’m just calling about these … these bloody ID cards.
Alex: Er … well, it’s that … that bloke half an hour ago – he was saying that ID cards would have prevented the, um, the Windrush scandal.
Alex: I mean that’s … what … that’s a load of rubbish!
Host: Right, well, he was saying that if we’d all had ID cards in the 50s, when all those people came over from the Caribbean on the Windrush, they could all have been legally registered as resident in the UK, and their children wouldn’t have been deported. I think that was the gist of his argument. That’s what’s wound you up2, is it?
Alex: Er … well it’s … yeah, it’s not exactly that. It’s just that … you know, I don’t … I don’t deny anybody’s right to live in this country, you know, so long as they … they work and pay tax.
Host: Right, but …?
Alex: You know, but I, these … yeah … no, it’s these … these ID cards are ridiculous. They’re an infringement of our human rights.
Host: (laughs) Classic! It’s that old line! “An infringement of your human rights”. How does having a card with your name on it infringe your human rights?
Alex: Um, well, you know, we have … we’ve got these data protection laws for a reason. Um … you know, it’s … it’s immoral for an organisation to keep personal information about me and to use it for … you know, for, for … for whatever … whatever dodgy stuff3 they … they wanna use it for.
Host: Right, OK. Such as what?
Alex: Alright, er … well, let’s say, er … let’s say I’ve got a criminal record and it would be listed somewhere that I’ve been in prison and then … er, you know, if I’m travelling, I might … I might get to … get to the border … get to some country and they … they might not let me in.
Host: Yeah, well they wouldn’t let you in because of the crime you committed, not because it’s been entered into a computer somewhere. Let me read you this text that’s just come in from Simon: “Hi Nick, what’s this idiot on about? If you’ve got nothing to hide, there’s no reason not to have an ID card.” That’s a point that a lot of people make.
Alex: Alright, so … right, so, so … I mean, what are we gonna achieve with these ID cards? We’ve already got a way to identify ourselves and that’s the, er, the HMRC4; we’ve got a tax code, we’ve got a national insurance number; and, you know, if you’re going to the doctor’s, they’ve got your NHS4 number. So, what can other … what can countries with ID cards … what can they do that we can’t?
Host: Well, how about the track and trace system … that might have worked better for a start.
Alex: OK, and how would … how would that have worked?
Host: Well, an ID card is one number for everything – as you just said, we’ve got more than one number. So, if you tested positive for Covid5 and the NHS told you to self-isolate, then that information would be passed to all the other institutions that need it to implement the public health policy.
Alex: No, it’s … see, it’s all this sharing of information that I d-… I just think … I think it’s morally wrong.
Host: Yeah, you keep going on about morals and human rights. I’m still not clear what you’re trying to say though: how would an ID card inconvenience you personally in real terms Alex?
Alex: Well, it’s like, you know … the politicians, they’re talking now about these vaccine passports, and, you know, I just think … if you have to show a passport to get into a restaurant … you know, the next thing it’s like you have to show a passport to … you know, to buy a sandwich … and it’s … it’s a slippery slope. It’s … we’re going into, you know, it’s Big Brother6, it’s like a … we’re going into 19846 surveillance society. If … if, if we say that, for example, only people with ID cards can do this, and then other people can’t do it, then what’s to stop them next year saying, well “only people with ID cards and a clean bill of health and no criminal record can come into the pub” … you know, where’s it gonna end?
Host: Well if you think Big Brother is watching you, I’m sure he’s listening as well, and he’ll be round to cart you off any minute now. I’d better let you go. Thanks for the hypothesis … I’m still not sure you’ve mentioned a tangible way in which your human rights are infringed by having an ID card, but nice try, thanks for the call Alex. Would you like to join the discussion? 0845 300 1234 …