Socialist Worker

Blow to ID card plan in Scotland

Issue No. 1941

The Scottish Parliament has rejected New Labour’s proposals to bring in compulsory identity cards across the country. The Scottish Green Party proposed the motion against ID cards, which was passed by 52 votes to 47 on Wednesday of last week.

The Greens’ motion received support from all parties except Labour, which backed the government, and the Liberal Democrats, who abstained. Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP behind the motion, told Socialist Worker, “The Scottish Executive has already said that Scottish citizens will not be required to use an ID card to gain access to devolved public services.

“But this vote forces them to go further. Now they will have to come up with a full statement on how the national identity database will be used.

“I’m worried about the ID cards themselves, but the real threat is the database behind them. I hope this vote will show that there are a number of ways we can campaign against ID cards at different levels across Britain. Local authorities can do this sort of thing as well.

“This ID cards bill is the latest leap into authoritarianism by New Labour. In Scotland they’re now talking about compulsory HIV testing for criminals—it’s appalling.”

Speaking in the debate on Wednesday of last week, the Scottish Socialist Party MSP Carolyn Leckie said, “Ministers should look at the example of the Australian identity card. It started off with opinion polls in support of it.

“But a mass movement arose and defeated the card after a campaign that led to the dissolution of parliament, a general election and unprecedented divisions within the Labour government. The UK government could have another poll tax on its hands.”

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Sat 5 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1941
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