Labour manifesto: More ID cards, less NHS IT
New Labour, mostly old policies
The most remarkable thing about the Labour Party manifesto - A future fair for all (pdf) - is how unconcerned it appears to be with civil liberties or the unintended consequences of its actions when it comes to individual liberty. All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds - trust in the state to provide, and it will do so.
On the economic front, the big issue is securing the recovery – which, the manifesto explains, would inevitably be at risk if the Tories were elected.
Businesses have had VAT cuts and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme to help them access loans, as well as increased capital tax allowances in 2009/10. For the future, there will be a number of different support measures, such as reduced business rates for start-up.
However, the focus will be on nurturing and growing "the industries of the future", defined as low carbon, biotechnology, advanced bioscience and cutting edge advanced manufacturing. This "cannot be simply left to the market". So government intends to intervene and support where possible. There will be a new UK Life Sciences Super Cluster, and encouragement for businesses to benefit from the introduction of the "Patent Box", a reduced rate of corporation tax applied to income from patents taken out in the UK.
Digital support is crucial, and the market can’t deliver this, either. Labour remains determined to ensure that all homes have access to a line capable of delivering two megabits per second by 2012, and are following this with investment to achieve 90 per cent access to superfast next-generation broadband by 2017.
There will be a new Institute of Web Science, which will work with the government and British business to realise the social and economic benefits of advances in the web, headed by world wide web founder Sir Tim Berners Lee.
Their next administration will liberalise the mobile phone spectrum to enhance 3G coverage and accelerate the rollout of next generation mobile services. They will also make more public services available online to more people.
All nationally broadcast radio stations will be digital from the end of 2015, freeing up bandwidth for small-scale, not-for-profit community radio stations.
A hint of censorship to come is wrapped up in the need to protect our creative artists - there will be stronger protections for intellectual property and measures against illegal file sharing. Broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, will have a new duty to reduce illegal file sharing and online copyright infringement significantly by introducing two specific obligations. These are notification of unlawful activity and, for serial infringers, collation of data to allow rights holders to obtain court orders to force the release of personal details, enabling legal action to be taken against them.
Labour will also provide technical measures for serial infringers, such as bandwidth reduction, if other measures prove insufficient.
In pursuit of a "greener Britain", Labour will create a Green Investment Bank to support private investment in low-carbon infrastructure projects. High-speed rail and off-shore wind farms are part of the programme.
There will be an Innovation Investment Fund, government support for "centres of excellence in emerging technologies" and simplified research and development tax credit schemes.
What use is an ID Card?
Well, apparently, they "will help fight the growing threat of identity theft and fraud, as well as crime, illegal immigration and terrorism."
Let's take them in reverse order:
* Terrorism: Nope. Not even if made compulsory. The July 7th bombers, for example, were all British citizens. The September 11th hijackers were all traveling on valid passports.
* Illegal Immigration: Nope. It will do no more than existing documentation. If illegal immigrants can manage without a NI number, they can managed without an ID card.
* Crime: Nope. I can't even think of a way that an ID card could help tackle crime.
* Fraud: Nope. They're not compulsory, Lack of an ID card will raise no suspicion.
* Identity Theft: Nope. See Fraud. And if someone manages to counterfeit an ID Card they will only help in Identity Theft.
So - the five main reasons for spending all this money are rubbish. Either they're idiots, or they're introducing them for other reasons. Or both, of course!
Re: What use is an ID card
Silly you Paul, if you look closely at the wording you'll see they make no promises about the absolute efficacy of ID cards, through clever use of the ad-man's favourite verb "to help", as in:
Oxy 10 helps combat spots
Activia helps promote a healthy gut
Shell is helping to protect the planet
ID cards will help fight the growing threat of blah blah blah blah blah blah blah fuckity blah
Future Fair for all?
Will it have dodgems?