Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Thursday, December 16, 2004  

Why is she referring to Europe?

Fiona Mactaggart, the excuse for a "Minister for Racvial Equality", a newspeak title if I eveer heard one has written in defence of her departments anti-liberal "thought crime" legislation. In her letter to the Telegraph today she claims that, "there will be important safeguards built into the law". Interestingly those safeguards include "articles IX and X in the European Convention on Human Rights".

Now hold on there Fiona, and where do these articles have any purchase in UK law?. Don't you remember that the Convention has "no more legal standing than the Beano". Oh but that has changed hasn't it?
Because the Convention on Human Rights is an integral part of the European Constitution. What seems to have slipped the Minister's excuse for a mind is that Britain has not signed the Constitution. Indeed it is unlikely to if the polls are correct.

So why is she lying? Oh I forgot she is a member of Blairs government and in particular his neo-facist Interior Ministry, of course she is lying.

What is sad of course is that this woman used to be the Chairman of Liberty.
An organisation which tells us it is
"Liberty is opposed to the proposal to introduce a national identity scheme".
However she seems to have had a 'road to Buchenwald' moment in the Guardian a while back where she renounced freedom for a permanent job in government. Her successor at Liberty, Rita Chakribati had this to say in response, (I quote in full)

As director of Liberty could I reassure Fiona Mactaggart (comment, Nov 13) that she will hear no sneers from my direction. She did valuable work as our chairwoman, especially the guidance she gave us on the arguments that Ministers would deploy in favour of ID cards.

Just over a year ago she warned of the ‘linguistic sophistry’ Ministers would marshal to claim ID cards are being introduced for the benefit of the most poor and vulnerable in society.

She was absolutely right. Here is Fionna Mactaggart writing in her capacity as a Home Office Minister on the consequences of not having an ID card if you are poor: ‘You will find it more difficult to vouch for your veracity when opening a bank account or registering at a GP.’ That sounds more of a threat than a benefit.

Fiona explains her change of mind in one word, ‘biometrics.’ But absolutely nothing has changed in the 15 months since she contributed to a pamphlet we produced on ID cards. Biometrics were then and are now, ‘hi-tech identifiers of your unique personal characteristics.’ But that doesn’t mean they can’t be copied. You would have to very naive to believe that any technology is infallible.

Fifteen months ago Fiona was convinced that compulsory ID cards would lead, as they have done in Europe, to a worsening of race relations. Try telling Turkish guest workers in Germany, or young Algerian men in France, that cards ‘do not have an unfair impact on ethnic minorities.’

As for her current claim ‘that there will be no new powers for the police to demand ID cards’ one can only wonder how she knows that. It will take 10 years to get the system working and we have no idea to what use the Government of the day will put ID cards.

Fiona now tells us that we need compulsory cards to stamp out ‘entitlement fraud.’ That’s what Mr Blunkett was saying 15 months ago and our former chairwoman had this to say :‘The Department for work and Pensions has made clear that that identity fraud is a fairly minor part of benefit fraud.’

She is entitled to change her mind but I think readers also have the right to know what she previously believed. They can do so in Liberty's ID Card Pamphlet:

posted by Eliab | 10:10 am
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