But the lessons of history are of little use to the wilful and obsessive, which brings us to the latest wizard wheeze from chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings and his band of dubiously talented freeloaders. There they are, libertarians all, knowing that doing away with identity cards heralded a major advance in civil liberties, and what are they proposing to impose upon the public at large? Yes, more identity cards.
At least the Mail has noted the potential for infringement of personal liberty, telling readers “People will get an online identity that can be used for daily activities such as proving ones age, registering with a GP and buying properties from a different location. It comes after issues emerged in identifying people during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as during the self-employment income support scheme”, but also cautioning “despite privacy fears”.
In any case, we already have National Insurance numbers, so the idea that ID cards will make it easier to identify people is questionable at the very least. Also, the sales pitch sounds remarkably like that of the post-war Attlee Government, who “maintained that the identity card was a key that could be used to access all the benefits of the state, from rationing to voting to NHS services”. How very late 1940s of the Polecat and his pals.
Your online ID is invalid, Number 9. You know the penalty for failure
The contradictions inherent in Dom’s Brave New Digital World are obvious: “Minister for digital infrastructure Matt Warman told … he was excited to 'work with partners in the private sector’. Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez added: 'There is a need and an expectation for the government to make it easier for people to use digital identities quickly, safely and securely, and we are committed to enabling this.’”
Work with the private sector. Jobs for the boys and girls. Potential for data breaches and hacking on a scale previously unimaginable. And a “need and expectation” that no-one outside the megalomaniac command and control world of Dominic Cummings asked for. But at least Dom is being sort of consistent: “Boris Johnson's chief adviser Mr Cummings has been a vocal critic of privacy laws in the past”. Cos they were foreign.
“He branded the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation 'a legal and bureaucratic nightmare' on his blog two years ago”. So the great libertarians in Downing Street are going to swallow their reservations whole and back this further waste of money.
Moreover, no-one has yet stopped and thought who may miss out, even though it is staring them in the face. Those not online - the poorest and oldest - are likely to be effectively disenfranchised, remaindered from society, made into outsiders, un-persons.
Megalomaniac wackos are no longer confined to Bond films. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at