As a child, I can remember my parents illustrating the lack of freedom within states such as the USSR by pointing out that the citizens of such countries were not accorded the freedom to move and travel at will within the borders. Little did they (or I) know that such restrictions would be proposed by a UK Government. The new proposals are, of course, a consequence of the much pushed and overstated terrorist threat. This time the measures are held within Contest 2 legislation, which The Guardian’s Henry Porter has picked up on (Planning a day trip to the Isle of Wight?) :
At what stage, I wonder, will those who say the loss of liberty isn’t happening concede that it is? Maybe if they examine page 113 of the Contest 2 (pdf) counter-terrorism document, which Jason Lewis of the Mail on Sunday pointed out means that anyone boarding a ferry to the Isle of Wight, flying between British cities or travelling to Northern Ireland will have to provide their name, date of birth and address.
The records of the movements of 60 million domestic passengers will be kept by the police and, if current trends are anything to go by, used for much more than counter-terrorism operations. Not content with introducing what will in effect be an exit visa – you must supply more than 50 pieces of information before you leave the country or will not be able to travel – the government is now erecting internal borders.
These measures require photographic ID of some kind (presumably a passport until the ghastly ID card scheme turns up) would be required to book domestic trips by air or sea. The Home Office spokesdroid apparently also confirmed that this would include ferries to the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Skye. Which of course indicates the spokesdroid is stuck in the past, since one can reachSkye over a road bridge (itself the subject of the Thatcher legacy toll). One wonders quite why the freedom-hating minions of Wacky Jacqui think they need all this information – on top of all the car journeys they record (and the proposal I blogged about the other day for recording all car journeys within Europe).
The dogged determination of the UK gorvernment to maintain intrusive records on all aspects of the population is quite astonishing, and I share Henry Porter’s question as to when the British public will wake up and reject this creeping database state,