Blog DOB: 22 Aug, 2006
Name: Mark O'Connor
Me in the Antarctic
Really Annoying Sh##
This is my blog where I can dump all the sh## that really annoys me. It stays here, I can get on and enjoy myself. It's like therapy, and you can join too for free. Just add yourself as a blogger and get rid of all your sh##.
Home affairs committee chairman, Keith Vaz, speaking during yesterdays question time said the government are likely to press ahead with national ID cards and were going to pilot the scheme this year by issuing them to foreigners entering the country. Press ahead? Of course they are. The Identity Cards Bill received Royal Assent in March 2006, and the UK passport office became the IPS (Identity and Passport Service) on 1st April 2006. The IPS website is unequivocal in saying the "National Identity Scheme will eventually become compulsory". The scheme will be obligatory for British, Irish and foreign nationals resident in the UK.
The ID cards will contain biometric data which will also be stored on a national database with other personal details. This data is being termed our "biographical footprint" which the government will keep and track. The scheme is being packaged up as though it were for our benefit, but the benefits listed on the IPS website are really pretty lame.
|1||Help protect cardholders against identity theft and fraud||Just a sweeping, general statement with no evidence to support it. Is biometric technology even ready?|
|2||provide a reliable way of checking the identity of people in positions of trust||Why? And what's exactly wrong with the traditional way of checking references, qualifications and having a proper system of internal control?|
|3||make travelling in Europe easier||Is it difficult now?|
|4||provide a secure way of applying for financial products and making financial transactions including those made over the internet||this responsibility should be with the banks, credit card companies, and others like Microsoft - not the government.|
|5||offer a secure and convenient way of proving your age||In fairness, the only time I've ever been asked to prove my age is when I was underage and trying to buy a pint - come on!|
|6||help to confirm your eligibility for public services and benefits - and reduce fraud relating to these services and benefits||paper over built in weaknesses in existing government services rather than fixing them|
|7||help in the prevention of organised crime and terrorism||They're already in the UK. They'll have a card like everyone else.|
|8||help combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the UK||It'll continue|
|9||allow the police more quickly to identify suspects and people they arrest||Is this really an issue, they have enough powers to hold people in custody until they find out who they are through normal "policing". Aren't most suspects already "known" by the police anyway?|
The cards will cost £30 each. With a population of 60million this will raise £1.8billion which will pay for extra public sector staff to run the scheme, and another public sector IT project to build the database. Are you comfortable with this? Would you have preferred this to have been spent on the NHS? Does the government have a good track record of storing data? Do you trust them with your "biographical footprint"?
I don't! And what's coming next? A CCTV camera in every home?
32 dead horses were discovered in Amersham, Bucks at the weekend. Three other animals were in such poor condition they had to be put down, while the remaining stock of eighty were being taken to sanctuaries rather than the meat hooks they were destined for. Conditions at the site were described as "utterly horrific" with horses being tied up in small pens and standing in their own excrement.
So what's the problem? They're animals! There are plenty of starving people in Africa who'd be happy to eat them! This probably isn't a response you'd expect, but would it be more acceptable if I was talking about chickens?
They live for thirty nine days, never see natural light, constantly feed to make their commercial weight, are overcrowded, get painful lesions on their legs from sitting in their own faeces ("hock burns"), and are starved for eight hours on their last day to have a clean gut before ending up on our shelves in Tesco at two for a fiver.
This is the story Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been describing on Channel 4 this week as he tried to convert Axminster into Britain's first free range town. His experimental chicken farm contrasted differences in welfare, and in taste, between factory reared and free range. The free range chickens, he said, are "out here in the grass, doing what chickens want to do."
I would like to think, and I'm probably in the majority, the surviving horses in Amersham would have a similar fate and were free to run around a field, but when it comes to chickens people just don't seem to feel the same. They're chickens, they'll buy two for a fiver.