ASLEF Union calls for

01 July 2005

Andy Reed, National Organiser of train driver’s union ASLEF, said today that the arguments about identity cards ‘had only just begun’ as the government pushed its proposals for identity cards through the Commons.

‘Charles Clarke appears to have very little notion of the issues at stake,’ Andy said. ‘He seems obsessed with how much ID should cost rather than the fact that they are potentially a basic attack on core civil liberties.

‘He seems to think the argument is about £40 or £140. It is not. It is about central worries and concerns about state interference in individual liberties.’

Andy Reed said he was astonished that the Home Secretary should suggest that ID cards were ‘a bargain’ if he made them cheaper for ‘poorer citizens’. ‘It’s lucky he doesn’t work for a supermarket,’ Andy says. ‘This isn’t a case of ‘two for the price of one’. This is a case of the British public not wanting it at any price.’

Andy says that he will argue within the trade union movement for a change of position, so that outright opposition to the cards is replaced with cast iron guarantees about control of information. ‘Right or wrong, this will be bullied through Parliament. If that is a fact, our campaign must now change to limiting what information the government will hold on these cards.

‘They are called Identity Cards. Our efforts now will be to ensure that this is the only function for which they are used.’

Andy Reed is to call for a ‘Committee of Public Safety’ made up of representatives across the community to monitor and control any extention of information held on ID Cards. 

‘We may not be able to defeat the government on the issue: but we can fight to defend the public from its excesses,’ he said.

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