Now I’m not a fan of targetted searches based on skin colour, even though I can see the logic behind them. They stir up all kinds of racial tension and resentment, plus help create an “us” vs. “them” feeling which is never helpful. So it’s quite heartening to see first Peter “useless twat” Hain and then Hazel “dozy nonentity” Blears speak out against them.
But it must be said, Hain’s assertions that racially-tagetted searches would help terrorist recruitment, coming as they do so soon after the Dear Leader’s dismissal of any suggestion that anything other than their EVIL nature helps terrorists recruit, seems a tad odd. (“Nope, this guy didn’t blow himself up because he’d witnessed two years’ worth of images of people being killed in Iraq and repeatedly saw Blair and co ignore the public and the opinion polls over the war, it was because some policeman held him up for five minutes to rummage through his sandwiches… Oh yes, and because he’s EEEEEVVVVIIIILLLL”)
It also seems a tad odd that no one has yet explained why searching random people with bags is less likely to cause suicide bombers to detonate than a bunch of plain clothes policemen rushing at them with automatic guns, ready to shoot them in the head. Krishnan Guru-Murphy tried to get an answer on that very question on Channel 4 News last night, and it was not so skilfully avoided.
But this does start to show the next line of argument for ID cards. Much as with the right to lock us all up without trial, they’re going to start off targeting small groups (then it was foreigners, this time it’s ethnic minorities) but then say “hey guys, it’s unfair and prejudiced to target small groups – we’ll target EVERYBODY! Just for the sake of fairness, you understand?”
ID cards will, for some reason which they’ll no doubt have worked out by the time they launch this, enable us merely to flash the things at the rozzers and go about our business unmolested. (Because it’s not as if the 7th July bombers were – just like the rest of us – British citizens with no previous history of terrorism, is it? Oh… Erm…)
And, of course, the fact that our Ethiopian chappie currently held in Rome used a false identity will also heighten the government’s assertions that we should all have official ID. The likes of the Sun and the Mail will doubtless jump in straight behind it due to their ongoing hatred of all things asylum-seeker.
But the major question the government needs to answer – if our dear terrorist chum managed to convince the Home Office that he was a different nationality, had a different name and sucessfully applied for asylum under false pretences without anyone knowing – is how exactly they’re going to make sure that this doesn’t happen during the process of issuing us all with ID cards in the first place?