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[The following may be freely reproduced in any medium provided it is credited to Guy Herbert, General Secretary, NO2ID]


The NO2ID Pledge


You might be prepared to go to gaol rather than have an ID card. But you can’t.

David Blunkett has been smugly pronouncing that there will be no ID card martyrs because the intent is to have a system of penalties – like monstrous parking fines – hard to contest in court. So further punishments would relate to failure to pay, not ID cards. That silly distinction is currently irrelevant, since powers of direct compulsion have been dropped, for now. It hasn’t stopped Mr Blunkett repeating it, though.

Subtler minds have been at work. The Home Office plans to make you to “volunteer”. It hopes almost all the population will “volunteer”, before most people have even noticed what is happening. Well before it rounds-up and force-fingerprints a few pariahs. Official documents will one by one be “designated”, so that you cannot get one without at the same time asking to be placed – for life – on the National Identity Register.

The civil servant, Sylvanus Vivian who originated this idea in 1934 – yes, that’s right, nineteen thirty-four – called it “parasitic vitality”. In other words, the scheme is a vampire. It has no life of its own, and thrives only if it feeds.

There is its weakness. We, collectively, can choose to starve the Identity and Passport Service. It only works smoothly if few are prepared to face a little inconvenience to resist. It only works at all if a large majority of the population can be hypnotised into thinking that it is just routine, no big deal. If enough of us refuse to be bled willingly, the beast will either starve or show its fangs.

Already “e-Passports” have been used as a pretext to build a chain of interrogation centres to service the ID scheme. But further growth of the parasite will be harder to hide. Which is where you come in.

Making martyrdom hard, made resistance easy too. Actually breaking the law at this stage is hard to do. There is scarcely any ID card law to break; it is designed to be brought in silently by regulations, alongside administrative changes.

So that’s why NO2ID is suggesting a new form of non-violent direct action: pre-emptive resistance. You can do something positive now. Something totally legal; that has its own life, not determined by us, but by you. Anyone can do it. Anyone can help others do it. The more who do, the easier it is.

You can resolve openly, and clearly, not to do those specific things that give the ID scheme its “parasitic vitality”:

“I solemnly and publicly promise that:

• I shall not register for a national identity card
• I shall not supply personal details or fingerprints to a National Identity Register
• I shall not apply for any document or service if joining the National Identity Register is a condition of obtaining it
• I shall not co-operate with any Identity and Passport Service interview concerning my identity

I also promise by my example to encourage others to do the same.”

In just one month of 2005, over 10,000 people pledged online not to register. Many more will take this NO2ID Pledge, and pass it on to others. Maybe the Government thinks it could force tens of thousands to submit by denying them basic services. It would be a very brave Government that tried.


© 2007 Guy Herbert


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