Spies ‘R’ Us
NO2ID NEWSLETTER Supporter’s Newsletter No.34 – 8th December 2005
++ Celebrity Appeal
With the government pushing ahead with its dangerous ID card scheme, NO2ID are looking at all opportunities to increase public awareness. Several nationally-recognised figures have recently expressed their opposition to compulsory ID cards, and the media can regard celebrities as highly newsworthy. Just imagine the headlines if a whole group of them expressed their opposition all at the same time…
There are four things that you can do to help us:
1. Some of you may be closely acquainted with a nationally-recognised figure – maybe as a relative or a neighbour. If know them to be on our side, please ask them tactfully to contact NO2ID direct to offer their public support (please get them to call Phil Booth on 07974 230 839 or Michael Parker on 07773 376 166 or to e-mail mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that we respect their privacy as much as we do yours, and are NOT asking you to pass on private information.
2. If you have any cuttings of nationally-recognised figures speaking out against ID cards, please send a copy to the office at: NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5AP. They should be clearly marked with the publication name and date. Please include your contact details so we can follow up.
3. Similarly, if you know of any websites reporting a nationally-recognised figure speaking out, please send the URL (’webpage address’) to mailto:email@example.com
4. Otherwise, NO2ID will be contacting some well-known names for their support. If you have any strong evidence* as to those who might support us, please don’t duplicate effort by contacting them directly, but let us know (on mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) why they’re worth contacting. N.B. We are particularly keen to have more support from figures outside politics.
Many thanks for your help,
*For example, ‘I heard Stephen Fry tell Radio Norwich that the ID scheme is “just another fatuous-but-oppressive exercise in corporate jobbery, one which I will resist till the last breath is squeezed from me by the homunculi of the Home Office”.’ – Great. ‘That Stephen Fry seems nice, he must be on our side.” – Really doesn’t help and, in fact, wastes time.
++ WHAT’S NEXT?
+ 12th December Identity Cards Bill Committee Stage, Lords
On Monday 12th the Identity Cards Bill will continue its committee stage in the House of Lords. Another session is also expected on Wednesday 14th December. Webcasts of the debates can be viewed at www.parliamentlive.tv and transcripts are available from www.parliament.uk/hansard/hansard2.cfm
+ NO2ID Charles Clarke Christmas cards
We now have NO2ID Christmas cards featuring Charles Clark as Santa (available for a donation). The card contains the adapted lyrics to ‘Santa Clause is coming to town’ (”He knows if you’ve been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake..”). Get your stock from the office now.
+ Sweatshirts, Banners and Smart Lapel Badges
There are still some sweatshirts available from mailto:email@example.com with all proceeds going to campaign funds. NO2ID Banners and small metal lapel badges (suitable for smart clothing) are on order. Interested people/groups should contact the office.
+ Lewisham NO2ID meetings now on Thursdays
NO2ID Lewisham have decided to switch their regular meeting day from Wednesday to Thursday night. Mark Bennett of the Lewisham group said: “Our recent social generated some lively debate on a number of subjects some of which were related to ID Cards.” Their last scheduled leaflet delivery for 2005 will start from the Jolly Farmers (354 Lewisham High St SE13 6LE) on Thursday 15th December. The aim is to set off at 8pm sharp, so Mark says please be a little early (and don’t buy a full pint unless you can down it in one). For further information contact Mark Bennett on 07770 451201 or visit our website www.lewisham-no2id.org.uk
++ WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
+ Simon Hughes MP signs NO2ID’s pledge
Liberal Democrat president Simon Hughes has signed up to our refuse2 pledge. Hughes is the first high profile MP to join thousands of NO2ID campaigners in refusing to register for an ID card should the scheme become law. Mr. Hughes said: “For me, it is a matter of fundamental principle, I was born in this country and regard myself as a free man. I do not believe that I should have to identify myself as a matter of course.” Matthew Taylor, MP for Truro & St Austell, has now also signed the pledge.
+ Brigton ID cards debate – “If you don’t like ID cards, vote us out!”
Andy Burnham kept close to the Home Office script, denying ever having made huge claims for the cards, asserting without evidence that a state-issued ID card and a government register will “give the citizen more control of their identity” and help in all sorts of ways. He also claimed that we shouldn’t worry as they have all of our information already, they just want to fingerprint and number us so they can link it all together!
Peter Tatchell made a powerful case laying out how history shows why we should be very cautious in giving the State such far-reaching powers, especially in times of uncertainty. He highlighted what an utter disaster for race relations the scheme would be and challenging Burnham on how the scheme would actually work in practice.
During questions, the minister – who, unlike most of his colleagues, should be congratulated for turning up for a NO2ID grilling – let slip that the National Identity Register will be made “the bedrock for CRB checks as soon as possible”. So it’s not just renewing passports that they will use to force people onto the Register during the so-called ‘voluntary’ phase, it will be every teacher, social worker, foster parent, nursery school assistant and anyone whose job requires a ‘police check’. And what of the hundreds of thousands of civil servants with access to our data on systems across government?
Significantly, Mr Burnham repeatedly refused to rule out charging citizens for changing their details. It’s hard to see how we own or are in control of our identities when the Home Office levy a fee every time we have to update our records, and fine us if we don’t. Mr Burnham wasn’t too happy talking about penalties either, and seemed to think that people wouldn’t mind being thrown into prison for failing to pay £2500 because the original offence would be ‘civil’ rather than ‘criminal’. More evidence of delusionary thinking at the Home Office.
At the end of the debate the minister threw down the gauntlet: “if people don’t like ID cards”, he said, “they should vote New Labour out”. With public opposition to the scheme climbing past 50%, and trust in the government at an all-time low, his suggestion may come to haunt him as soon as the local elections next May.
+ Edinburgh students against ID cards
Last Tuesday (November 29th) a group of Edinburgh University students made satirical ‘ID Card’ body placards and demonstrated around the university campus whilst distributing flyers. This followed the Edinburgh University Students’ Association passing a motion in support of NO2ID and against ID Cards. Sara Bodle-McAlpine, the Student Coordinator of the Scotland NO2ID Campaign said: “We are a part of the local Edinburgh group, so please encourage people to come along to our next meeting since we have many more ideas up our sleeve!”
+ University of Sussex Students union backs NO2ID
A motion against ID cards and supporting NO2ID was passed by the University of Sussex Students union at their AGM (November 24th). The motion stated that “the government should be accountable to the people, not the other way round”, and that “ID cards and the National Identity Register are both huge and unnecessary invasions of privacy, making a mockery of the right to private life”. The motion also called upon the NUS to adopt the similar policies.
++ “ID” In the News
+ Working together to stop ID cards
+ Campaigners up the ante in ID card battle
+ A pan-European ID card will make a bad idea even worse
+ US – Next Stop: Big Brother
+ DVLA selling drivers’ personal details to firms run by crooks
+ Spy cameras to spot drivers’ every move
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
++ WHAT YOU CAN DO
+ 1. LOBBY A LORD
How to address Lords: www.parliament.uk/directories/house_of_lords_information_office/address.cfm
+ 2. SIGN OUR NEW ‘REFUSE 2' PLEDGE
+ 3. HELP US BY JOINING NO2ID / DONATING
* We also maintain a list of things you can do on our website at www.no2id.net/getInvolved/other.php
Publication details: © NO2ID 2005 – This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID.
NO2ID, Box No.412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP
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