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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 9:46 AM
  
NO2ID Supporter’s Newsletter No.36 – 5th January 2006
 

++ Happy New Year

 As we launch into 2006, I want to extend my sincere thanks to all of NO2ID’s supporters and volunteers for your fantastic efforts over the last 12 months.

 By engaging with the public through local group activities, meetings, debates and the media we’ve seen support in the country for ID cards crash by a third, with half the population now opposing the government’s plans. Elements of New Labour’s surveillance state continue to be exposed – the ballooning DNA database, plans to track the movements of every car on the road and register every child (NIR by the back door) – so this year should see that opposition grow even further.

 The tragic bombings in July revealed just how hollow the government’s anti-terror claims for ID cards really are. Their attempts since to spin them as a solution to identity theft would be laughable if they weren’t being taken so seriously by some. The public are being sold an anti-crime measure that won’t begin to come into effect until well into the next decade – and one that even the head of the ID programme admits will allow fraudsters to accumulate two or three ‘identities’, or more!

 NO2ID still has a lot of work to do but we should be encouraged that, provided with accurate information, the British public are waking up.

 Over 12,000 people have now pledged their refusal to register before the legislation has even made it through Parliament, and the bill faces one of its toughest challenges to date when it reaches Report stage in the Lords later this month (on the 16th & 23rd Jan). Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to lobby your MP or write to a peer*. Government attempts to downplay the strength of public feeling have looked more and more ridiculous as time has gone on, and NO2ID are doing all we can to precipitate the downfall of this draconian legislation.

 With growing opposition in the Lords and a Prime Minister who has finally suffered a defeat in the Commons, we may have a shot – but a defeat on ID cards would be so humiliating that we must expect the government to throw everything they have at getting the bill passed.

 We’ve got a busy few months ahead, and plenty more in the pipeline should the government manage to steamroller an ID cards Act onto the statute books.

 But, for now, I’d like to wish you all a happy and hopefully ID card-free New Year and thank you again for your support.

 Phil Booth
National Coordinator, NO2ID

 *now is the time to write to your MP (again), as the Bill will come back to the Commons for MPs to vote on every amendment that the Lords make. Use mps.no2id.net/ to make your feelings known.  

 + Extra note from the Editor

 Many thanks to all readers that took the time to respond to our request for comments regarding the newsletter format. All very gratefully received.

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 ++ What’s next?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 + 16th January Identity Cards Bill Report Stage, Lords

 On Monday 16th and 23rd January the House of Lords will vote on amendments to the ID cards bill. Webcasts of the proceedings can be viewed at
www.parliamentlive.tv and transcripts are available from www.parliament.uk/hansard/hansard2.cfm

 + Identity Cards Bill – Lobbying Lords

 It is generally believed the strategy that Conservative and Lib Dem Lords will take in the Report Stage of the ID cards bill will be to amend the bill to remove compulsion. It is unlikely they will vote against the bill completely as it was in New Labour’s manifesto at the last election. With this in mind, here are a few key points to bear in mind when lobbying members of the House of Lords:

– encourage peers to take part in the vote by stressing the constitutional importance of the bill

– encourage peers to vote to curtail the register powers

– encourage peers to vote against compulsion (in the government’s manifesto they promised a voluntary introduction so those applying for passports or other documents should not be forced to have an ID card)

– encourage peers to contact NO2ID (give the
mailto:office@no2id.net), Liberty, The Freedom Association, Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants, The Law Society, Justice, National Assembly Against Racism, and other organisations who can provide them with more information about the bill.
Further details of lobbying Lords can be found at the end of this newsletter in the ‘What you can do’ section.

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 ++ What just happened?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 + ID Cards and Drivers’ Licenses – Update

In the last newsletter (number 35), we reported the government’s proposals under the Road Safety Bill to give the state powers to require the surrender of old driving licenses should a new format be introduced. During the Report Stage of the bill on 29th November, the Lords removed this power from the bill, spotting the government’s intentions of forcing drivers to register for an ID card. The Road Safety Bill will get its 3rd Reading in the Lords on 10th January, after which it will go back to the House of Commons where MPs will to accept or reject the Lord’s amendments.
For transcript of the Lords debate see:
tinyurl.co.uk/n1r3

More news is available from the NO2Id newsblog at
www.no2id.net/news/newsblog/

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 ++ “ID” in the news
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 + Tories ambush Blair on identity cards
Tory and Liberal Democrat peers are preparing a New Year ambush for Tony Blair’s flagship identity card scheme that could seriously undermine the legislation. They are confident of watering down the Government’s plans by making it voluntary rather than effectively compulsory to register on a new national database which will include biometric data such as iris scans, facial images and fingerprints.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/
12/27/nid27.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/12/27/ixportaltop.html

 + Ireland : ID card for non-nationals outside EU considered
A new credit card-sized identity and residency card for non-nationals which would contain biometric information is being examined by senior Irish government officials involved in drafting new immigration laws.

www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2005/1227/3763988462HM1IDENTITYCARD.html

 + The ways in which we can be watched
The government’s plan to keep number plate details for up to two years marks the latest stage in the development of what has been called Britain’s “surveillance society”.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/23/
nspycam123.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/12/23/ixnewstop.html

 + Thumbs down to child index
A fortnight ago the government confirmed its intention to press ahead with creating a national electronic child database. The announcement received little attention – which is a shame, because the plan has far-reaching implications for England’s 11 million children, their families and childcare services.

society.guardian.co.uk/children/comment/0,1074,1672686,00.html?gusrc=rss

 + New Children’s Database Announced
The government announced shortly before Christmas that it is creating a database for all children in the UK, to be up and running by 2008.

www.no2id.net/news/newsblog/?p=333

 (Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor(
mailto:newsletter@no2id.net
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 ++ What you can do
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As the id card bill approaches its final stages in the Lords you can help us by:

 + 1. Lobbying a Lord
Ideally you should write to any Lords with whom you may have a connection. A list of Lords with e-mail addresses can be found at
www.parliament-square.org.uk/lobby.htm#email
Lords can also be written to by post at the House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. All male peers (except Dukes and Archbishops) should be addressed as “My Lord”, all female peers simply as “Dear Lady [surname]”. Dukes and Archbishops should be addressed as “Your Grace”.
Lords Lobbying Tips:
resource.nusonline.co.uk/v1/pdf/3913.pdf
How to address Lords:
www.parliament.uk/directories/house_of_lords_information_office/address.cfm

 + 2. Joining NO2ID / donating
Please join NO2ID, if you are not already a paid-up member.
(There’s a membership form at
www.no2id.net/downloads/membForm.pdf
OR
Donate some money towards campaign expenses.
NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP

 + 3. Getting involved with local groups
Organise leafleting, a stall or a public meeting to educate the public about the database that lies behind the proposed ID card scheme.
See
www.no2id.net/localGroups

 * We also maintain a list of things you can do on our website at
www.no2id.net/getInvolved/other.php
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 Publication details: NO2ID 2005 – This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID.

 NO2ID, Box No.412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP

     
 
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