Brexit will undoubtedly change the UK in many way, and this morning a centre-right thinktank, Policy Exchange, suggests the government should use withdrawal from the European Union to resurrect an idea last popularised during the Tony Blair era – identity cards. The report says the new “settled status” system for EU nationals who stay in the UK after Brexit (which does not at present involve a card, although the Brexit committee said recently it should) should be converted into a national ID card system.
The one welcome consequence of the Windrush scandal has been a revival of the debate about ID cards. With more people living in the country temporarily, with more conditions on their residence, some form of unique number identification for establishing status (with the state, employers, landlords and so on) is vital for all those without permanent residence status. The identity management experiment for EU citizens remaining in the UK after Brexit should be a prototype for a national system.
And it claims that having a national ID card scheme could avert the repeat of another Windrush-style scandal.
We also strongly recommend re-opening the debate about ID cards or some form of national identity management system to reassure people in a world of ever rising human flows that we know who is in the country, for how long, and what their entitlements are. This is surely a bulwark against ugly forms of nativism. The move from a low control to a higher control border goes hand in hand with the move from a low documentation society to a higher documentation one.
The often elderly Caribbeans caught up in the Windrush scandal were victims of that process being mismanaged, not the process itself. The justified outcry over the Windrush failure should not extend to challenging this shift to a higher control border, indeed a proper national ID system would have prevented the harassment of the Windrush victims. The system has evidently been too tough in some areas and not tough enough in others
The report has been written by Richard Norrie and David Goodhart, the “Road to Somewhere” author whose reservations about mass migration and support for the principle of native favouritism in the allocation of public services have made him a bête noire for liberals. It is a long report and there is a lot in it for those interested in border control policy.
Otherwise … well, it’s recess, and the Westminster news fountain is starting to run dry. There are only three items in the diary today.
11am: Downing Street lobby brieifing.
11am: The Scottish Labour party publishes a report about the life chances of young people who have been in care in Scotland.
12pm: Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, speaks at the launch of a report into extremism and social cohesion in Manchester following Arena bombing.
As usual, I will also be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary at the end of the day.
You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.
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