+One of the questions now taxing Johnson’s enormous brain is whether we should be issued with Covid vaccination ‘passports.’ I’m all in favour of the idea (hopefully whatever emerges can’t be forged). But immediately I can sense an eruption of civil liberties arguments, since if everybody had to carry such a ‘passport’ to access certain services, there would inevitably be those who feared it would involve tracing their movements, and others would feel left out if they hadn’t, for whatever reason been inoculated. These days, such objections are a bit behind the times. Everybody who owns a mobile phone, shops with a credit card (a vastly increasing number given the hygiene issues surrounding cash handling), possesses a driving licence and basically has any interaction at all with the modern world will be ’tracked and traced’ whether they like it or not. Personally, I wouldn’t object to having what essentially amounts to an ID card. If I possessed such a thing, and if it came with utterly ID-theft defeating technology, it could come in very handy proving who I am. One hears too many stories of people whose identity has been stolen being forced into all sorts of arduous remedies to try to reclaim their legal status in disputes. Of course there are downsides. The prospect has to be thoroughly tested and safeguards built in. But I suspect whether we like it or not, a new form of ‘passport’ is on its way and we have to anticipate its dangers and benefits. I was in Parliament when Labour first considered introducing ID cards. Naturally, the idea was seen as an extension of New Labour’s authoritarian tendencies. At the time I was willing to consider it, if it could be combined with an application related to proposals I was also proposing at the time for individual carbon rationing. At this point, it all gets rather complicated so I’ll shut up.
+Talking of authoritarian tendencies, we here in North Yorkshire are being denied county council elections this year, since the government is carrying out a review of our local councils’ structure. This has yet to report, so voting has been delayed until next year. The Secretary of State justifies the delay on the grounds that electors may be confused this year as to what they’re voting for. In other words, he thinks we are too thick. I would suggest that the minority of people who do vote in local elections are probably better informed than he gives us credit for. It’s a great shame, I was due to be a candidate (albeit of the ‘paper’ variety).
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