Education! Education! Education! Labour, supported by the Tories, push through their dreadful Education Bill this week – the one that moves the deckchairs, that will allow McDonalds to run a school and which does nothing to address standards within schools or meet children’s needs. There are a few Labour rebels – but with the unwavering and pretty uncritical support of the now cuddly Tories – our school system moves nearer to disaster.
Nick Clegg, myself , Roger Williamsand Mark Hunter (the Home Affairs Front Bench Team) joined by Simon Hughes, party president, go to the Passport Office to hand in our old passports and apply for new ones. This is to illustrate our protest at the Government forcing all of us to go onto the National ID database at the point at which we get a new passport. It doesn’t start for a while – but is against their manifesto pledge that the ID card / database would be voluntary. They’ve broken that promise (surprise, surprise) – by linking it to renewing passports are basically making it mandatory. But if you renew your passport before these rules come in – you can put off joining the register for 10 years. But which time who know who will have won an election and maybe scrapped the whole scheme.
I truly don’t think this will hit home with the public until they twig when and as they renew – but as the nation wakes up to the cost and the consequences – I am still hopeful that it can be stopped. The big problem will be how much has already been spent by the time this happens – too many billions that could have gone on effective crime-fighting measures – like more police – and there will be no turning back.
You can sign the Lib Dem petition against ID cards and also find out how you can renew your own passport (if you have one) before the Big Brother database kicks in at the Lib Dem website.