New Labour pissing on democracy again

Democracy not doing what you want it to do? Why not cheat? (Guardian, ElReg)

More misleading the public and more stealth politics from New Labour. They can’t get the Identity Cards Bill through Parliament — partly because Blair has insisted on the early election —, so they ignore the whole damn concept of democracy and bring out the Royal prerogative. As passports are not issued under legislation, but on the (theoretical) command of the queen, no legislation is required to change the details.

And still it involves dangerous (and pointless) attacks on our liberties — a nationwide fingerprint database (bad enough in and of itself, given that fingerprint technology is deeply unreliable) that will almost certainly to be accessible to the police (which won’t help much with crime as police have little problem identifying suspects and most crimes are committed by people already known to the police, even before one gets to their dubious use in court, even if expert witnesses can manage to agree).

Of course, the problems don’t just sit with the civil liberties. In order to acquire 70 new passport offices and fund this database, it’s gonna cost us more tax money — that’s money being diverted from more important issues. The Passport Service’s funding boost equates to over 40 schools, 4 hospitals or 7,000 policemen, in the traditional currencies of political debate.

And then it won’t even serve our obligations. The ICAO, who set international standards for passports, don’t require fingerprints in new passport standards; pressure (in what is known as “policy laundering”) from the UK and the US led to a requirement merely for a digitised photo on passports.

As you might expect, I’m fucking livid. I think it’s a fair statement that we expect major changes in public policy — and requirements on the public purse — to be made transparently and openly, by democratic means. The use of the Royal prerogative for something as wide-ranging as this should have been consigned to feudal history pages. Yet New Labour’s ideal for New Britain seems to be to push failed policies through backdoor routes. And, true to form, they leak the news out on a slow news day, when Labour are trying to dissect the Tories’ spending plans and the day before they launch their own manifesto.

Yet again, New Labour are shown to be untrustworthy and deceitful. I only wish I could be surprised.

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Ymatebwch

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