Flying against ID Cards
Today one group of airborne Brits is flying against the Government's expensive, "demeaning" and unnecessary Identity Card (ID) scheme. These Brits were preceded by Clarence Willcock, who made his lonely stand against ID cards in 1950 at his dry-cleaning establishment. Here are both stories.
Given their attachment to their civil liberties, the British people reluctantly accepted the necessity of ID cards during World War II.
After the war ended, the Labour government decided to retain the scheme and the bureaucrats required to run it.
On 7 December 1950, Clarence Willcock, 54, the manager of a dry cleaning firm, was ordered to produce his ID card by a police officer. He declined to do so.
He said that the emergency for which ID cards had been introduced no longer existed, so it was wrong for the State to continue using this power. His case went from court to court, each court finding against him, until it reached Lord Goddard, the Lord Chief Justice.
Lord Goddard unhappily concluded that he had no choice other than to uphold the conviction because the statute remained in force and could only be reversed by an Order in Council, but he deplored a law which had lingered past its sell-by date and made law-abiding British citizens resentful of the police.
The British people seconded his sentiments.
On being elected in October 1951, Winston Churchill’s Conservative government repealed the National Registration Act and abolished the cards.
The current Labour government has been working to reestablish the loathed ID cards, claiming the terrorist threat makes them necessary. John Major's Conservative government had also pressed for ID cards. They are, in fact, an EU project.
It does not seem to matter that experts in terrorism do not believe the cards will be useful, that the scheme will cost billions of pounds and that it will, in the words of the Scottish Lib-Dems, be "open to abuse and. . .potential infringement of personal and civil rights."
Wonderfully the British Airline Pilots Association recently defied the Government and refused to accept the cards.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said that its members – 84 per cent of the commercial pilots in Britain – would not co-operate with Home Office plans to make airside workers “guinea pigs” for the cards.
Balpa said in its submission: “It is clear that the Government's staged introduction of biometric identity cards first to overseas students, then to migrant workers and then for aviation workers, represents a way of picking off what are seen as easy targets.”
“Forcing pilots to have ID cards is an affront . . .”
Mr Willcock would be pleased.
We hope the pilots remain defiant.
By the way, they already carry British passports and the Photo Pilot's License.