Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Give me liberty or give me ID!

I decided to look at the Times Online.
What a good idea!

First this comment by Guy Herbert of NO2ID.
I had an argument about this at work. All the overseas staff and graduate students wanted to know what I was talking about - how could anyone object to ID cards?
Half the UK staff agreed. The other half stopped to think when I reminded them of the number of mistakes they've encountered when dealing with bureaucracy. Then they came fully 'round when I reminded them how long it took the Nazis to take over in Germany.
Tyranny is only ever a few steps away and if the tyrants can track and identify you at will you're in big trouble. The only good news is that the technology is awful. Or rather OK if you want it to confirm that someone is who they say they are, and truly useless (think 25% success rate) when you want to ask "who is this?"

And then there was this rather classy article by Daniel Finkelstein, in which he discusses the imminent release of Sir Hayden Phillips' interim report on the funding of political parties. And, as he says, it's not going to matter a damn.
Well, that's not quite true, since it's probably going to give rise to unpopular political parties ripping us off even more than before but, and here's the point at which Finkelstein failed to pursue his own logic, with everyone pursuing their own agenda and releasing their own party political broadcasts on You Tube, parties will disappear!
I think that's a wonderful idea. Parties are the killers of principle: they render the pursuit of power for its own sake the sole goal of politics. They encourage the dissipation of principle, the dilution of enterprise and the supression of brilliance in favour of stultifying conformity.

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