Monday 3 September 2007

Papiere bitte! (Snaps fingers)

Why is it that so often these days we're asked to provide identification? Every time you see a solicitor, sign on at a new GP or dentists, apply for a job, all the time! A few years ago, the only time you'd need to show your passport was at customs when travelling abroad. I've not done that since 2001, but in the intervening years I've had to show my passport on at least 4 occasions! It's expired now and I've not renewed it so I guess I'm an unperson! Read 1984 and you'll see that an "unperson" is anyone who is not listed on the official Big Brother database; in the world of 1984 that person doesn't exist. In a few years you'll be able to murder me and will not face criminal charges, just like in the old days when you could lawfully kill anyone who'd been excommunicated by the Pope.

A friend of mine who's a 74 year old lady is moving house and the estate agent wants to see her passport or birth certificate and she's got neither! I've advised her to see her solicitor.

It's getting like those old war movies. You know the sort: the hero is standing on a crowded bus in Nazi Germany pretending to be German and the police stop the bus and get on board asking every passenger for their identity card "Papiere bitte!" This must be paving the way for the NID card scheme, just like school fingerprinting. They want to get people accustomed to the practices of continual identity checks before the full-scale system is introduced, so that by the time it is, it will seem ordinary and everyday


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