Wednesday, May 19, 2004

hope for us yet

According to this BBC report, while most of the public remain in favour of ID cards, a larger minority than previously thought oppose them. More significantly, a large number of people are prepared to be militant in their opposition.

Up to 5 million people (28%) would demonstrate against ID cards the survey conducted by online research firm YouGov found.

One million would be prepared to go to prison rather than register for a card.

The survey paints a different picture to the recent MORI poll which found that 80% of UK citizens were in favour of cards.

By contrast the YouGov online poll found that a smaller majority - 60% - of citizens were in favour.

With this issue it's a case of never mind the quantity, feel the depth. ID cards would require almost universal compliance to be practically workable. And those opposed would also have to play a gigantic game of chicken with the government over the proposed punishments for those who refuse to comply. If enough people said they'd be prepared to go to prison even after the government made an example of one or two, strict enforcement of the law would swampt the criminal justice system. It's really a matter of preventing refuseniks feeling isolated in the face of state coercion, which is why this is one of the few issues where demonstrations might have some practical effect.

We also need a more everyday means of recognising each other. An ID card, perhaps...