Saturday, 30 August 2008

Thanet NO2ID in Dover

Dover NO2ID and Thanet NO2ID joined forces today by, fittingly, the Dover War Memorial. In beautiful sunny weather, and in a good location, the campaigning was effective. We once again got our excellent leaflet into the hands of the public, many of whom may be thinking about this issue seriously for the first time. A few people argued with us, but all discussion was even-tempered and mutual respect was established—we are open to dialogue with anybody. Not a few people signed our petition.
There will be a NO2ID benefit gig tonight at The Whole World Café, The Old High Street, Folkestone.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Smile and speak/write nicely

Because, according to this interesting article in The Telegraph, you are on average being recorded 3000 times a week!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Westwood Cross: bring your money, but not your ideas

Thanet NO2ID recently attempted to campaign at the Westwood Cross shopping centre in Broadstairs. Though some people dislike Westwood Cross there is no denying its popularity and we were keen to see if we could make a dent in this privatised zone of unlimited consumption.

Our attempt was always a long shot and sure enough it was not to be. Within about one minute of setting up (in a discreet spot, in nobody’s way and not interfering with any advertising) a black-suited security man toting a walkie-talkie came over and indicated by his body language that we were not welcome. I went over and engaged with this man, in my usual diplomatic manner, and he confirmed that without permission from the management we had to pack up and move on. Before leaving I tried to secure permission from the said management to campaign and they told me to contact a company called “Space and People”, based in Glasgow of all places, to seek permission, but the management man (always a man) added that anything “political” was basically not going to be allowed.

Of course, we are not going to contact that company—why should we? Here is Thanet, not Glasgow. After leaving Westwood Cross we took our campaign to Ramsgate where we got a good response from the good Thanet/Ramsgate public. But it bothers me that an important site of struggle has been closed off to us.

Some people might say that at least Westwood Cross is being consistent in not allowing any political campaigning. But actually there is no such thing as a neutral political position and by not allowing political campaigning Westwood Cross effectively serves the interests of the ruling class who increasingly seek to keep us all in line with CCTV and yet more rules about what we can and cannot do. Is this really a free country?

Monday, 11 August 2008

NO2ID and the Art of Campaigning

Thanet NO2ID has been actively campaigning on the street in a summer offensive. Campaigning is a great experience and I always feel refreshed by the struggle. But there again it is not that much of struggle—very few people are in favour of the government’s ID database scheme once it has been properly explained to them what it all entails. Loads of Thanet people have signed our NO2ID petition.

One thing we say to people is that we are not against ID cards per se (though there is enough ID about already), but strongly oppose the National Identity Register (NIR). The NIR will hold all your information and will be shared about by government. That is wrong period. ID cards will be linked to this very dangerous database if the government gets its way.

Some people say to us is that the government has all our information already. Well, there is some truth to this assertion but the government does not have all that information concentrated in one place and on tap as it were. Currently, information about us is held on multiple databases and in separate domains, and that is the way it should be. The idea of “joined up” government is silly beyond words and breaks all common sense rules about protecting data.

Understandably, a few people are defeatist and believe the government will do whatever it likes anyway. This negativism is unjustified, however, and it is a fact that with a just cause campaigning does make a difference. Politicians are forced to listen to us, even if they don’t like what they hear, and if they get it wrong—and New Labour has got it very wrong on ID cards—then it is within our ability to see that they do not remain in power.

Speaking of which, it was with some disappointment that I recently learned from one of our members that Stephen Ladyman, Thanet South MP, remains committed to the ID database scheme. I suppose it is hard to admit you got something so very wrong, but it is not too late for Dr Ladyman to take another look at this flawed scheme, and we urge him to do so.

What can you do?

1.Consider getting a new passport now before passports are linked to the NIR.

2.Get informed about the ID scheme and join/make a donation to NO2ID.

3.Write to Stephen Ladyman to express your dissatisfaction with the ID scheme if he is your local MP. (When writing to MPs you should put your point of view across politely but assertively. Don’t write until you grasp the issue fully.)

4. Be cautious about giving out your information.
Educate your children about their rights and ensure that they refuse to be fingerprinted.

5. Join our Thanet campaign by coming to a meeting or joining a stall.

NO2ID now has over 40,000 members nationally. Canterbury NO2ID and Dover NO2ID are both active in East Kent. There are other groups all over the country, and a Maidstone NO2ID group was recently formed. Join our fight to keep Britain free.