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10 Reasons 2 Renew

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1. The government held two public consultations that were so badly advertised they were virtually a secret. The proposals were defeated twice, by significantly more people writing to the home office in opposition than in support. The government ignored the results and went ahead anyway.

2. The London School of Economics (LSE) brought together sixty of their academic staff and a dozen professors, and wrote several lengthy reports about the project. They concluded that the ID card proposals are 'too complex, technically unsafe ... and lack a foundation of public trust and confidence'. The government has responded with vitriolic statements intended to discredit the authors of this thorough and thoughtful research.

3. The LSE staff suggested that the costs could go up to £19bn over ten years - this is over three times the government estimate. Citizens can expect that if costs are not fully covered by the card purchase value, the remainder will have to come out of substantially increased taxes.

4. Surely we can think of better ways to spend up to £19,000,000,000 over ten years? Hospitals are in a critical financial state, education can always do with a boost, there are many disadvantaged areas that desperately need a cash injection, the public would prefer to see more bobbies on the beat - and this government instead wants to go ahead with an extortionately priced project regardless of whether anyone agrees with them.

5. Much of the detail of the costs of the project are hidden behind "commercial confidentiality" clauses - making it impossible to see exactly how this government intends to spend our money. Public sector technology projects have a disastrous record of successful implementation within budget.

6. At some point after the next general election (2009 or 2010), identity cards may well become a compulsory document (unless the project is defeated first). This means that anyone who still doesn't have one will be legally compelled to get one, or they will face a fine of £2,500. People will be legally compelled to change their address details every time they move house, and should they not do so, they could face a fine of £1,000 for not "notifying the authorities".

7. The government has made a lot of noise about how ID cards will "combat terrorism", but quietly admitted several times that they would not have stopped the July bombings last year. Home Office officials are still using strong anti-terror rhetoric in the hope that this scares people into accepting identity cards.

8. The government were so confident they could bully the legislation onto the statue books, they spent £32,000,000 on the project before the Act came into law.

9. The proposals have been criticised by civil liberty groups, human rights organisations, unions, immigrant representatives, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and many of the Lords. The Information Commissioner (who oversees the use of personal data processing in the UK) has expressed public concerns about our "sleep-walking towards a surveillance society". A security professional for Microsoft UK warns that the scheme could trigger "massive identity fraud on a scale beyond anything we have seen before".

10. Although there is technically an "opt-out" for people renewing their passports before January 2010, in fact this offer is worthless. Even if an individual opts out, they will still pay full whack (£93+) and will still go on the invasive National Identity Register. They will still have their face/fingerprints/iris scans taken and recorded. They just don't get the little bit of plastic at the end (and they'll get one anyway when the scheme is made compulsory).

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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