Step 1: Target a weak group who have no political voice in the UK and who benefit from little public backing or support, and make them the guinea pig for a deeply unpopular policy.
Step 2: Once the sacrifice of their rights has embedded as “standard procedure”, pick off the next target – airport workers perhaps – or a group similarly small and likely to fly under the public radar.
Step 3: Involve other public service workers in “sensitive” positions, followed next by students, and so it will go until we have all had our privacy surrendered to Labour’s surveillance state.
This strategy rests on a highly cynical assessment of the British people. At best it hopes we won’t notice when others are having their civil liberties brazenly suspended. At worst it assumes that our fear of outsiders will allow us to sit idly by as innocent people are forced to hand over personal details to a government database.
Bear in mind that these are people already living legally in the UK, with the papers to prove it, who have moved here from outside of the European Union to study or to be with the person they love.
If the aim of this scheme was genuinely to combat illegal immigration and working, as ministers profess, there are more sensible solutions. Better exit checks and stricter controls on unscrupulous employers would be far more effective.
The government keeps saying ID cards will make us safer. But I doubt that terrorists will be trembling at the prospect of the new cards – they’re mandatory in Madrid yet failed to prevent the tragic train bombings in 2004. The key obstacle in catching terror suspects is rarely naming them, but is more about monitoring them and building up a case for prosecution.