I know it is a controversial statement to make, but I am in favour of identity cards. I support the identity cards scheme and would modify it in only one detail. Instead of making everyone get an identity card I think that only terrorists, illegal immigrants and their ilk ought to be forced to have them. Before I am attacked, lynched and immolated by those civil liberty fellows allow me, I beg, to make my case.
The registration procedure would involve a series of appeals made by the police and Home Office by radio, television, podcast (Al-Qaeda have been communicating for years using iPods), pornography magazines and Al-Jazeera. It would entreat all terrorists, illegal immigrants, criminals, sex offenders, gay people, ethnic minorities and other societal scapegoats to come forward to claim their identity card (we could trick them into it by making out as if it was a prize draw that they had been lucky enough to win). In fact it might be an idea to get the working-class in there as well – at least the more undesirable Burberry, bus-stop fuck variety; the White Lightening drinking, crisp-packet prophylactic folk with the would-be Mr. T taste in jewellery.
You see I think that New Labour’s essential problem with getting ID cards through is the fact that they’re trying to make them universal. All New Labour’s successful policies – Working Families Tax Credit, the Minimum Income Guarantee for Pensioners, Educational Maintenance Allowances – have been means-tested. I’m not quite sure how the means-testing would work on ID cards; I think that there would probably be a really bloated, inefficient, bigoted bureaucracy. They could call it the Department for the Persecution of Minorities (DPM) or something like that. The name’s not important, though. The most important thing to ensure is that it isn’t one of those damned Hegelian bureaucracies that stands over the conflicts of society and impartially arbitrates between them. Instead we need a bureaucracy that represents all of the basest and most shameful instincts of the people; the sort of vindictive bureaucracy that people will really want to be a part of. And I know just the man to run it. He is a man of questionable morals himself; the personification of the visceral urges and parochial prejudices of the country. His name is David Blunkett and I, for one, think that his Cabinet exile has gone on for too long already.
Once you’ve gotten the cards sent out and the database set up that’s when the fun can really start. With ID cards all crimes will be instantly solvable: the police will just type the sort of scapegoat they want into a search engine (race, class, perversity etc) and out will come a list of people proven to have committed the crime. This is called the use of forensic evidence and, if need be, can be supported by the use of unintelligible – and therefore incontrovertible – expert testimony. And if you are a member of a hardworking family who runs a business, say a brothel or an opium den, and are in need of some cheap, exploitable illegal immigrant labour then the ID card system will facilitate the efficient allocation of that sort of labour. The DPM will then inform the Home Office not to perform any checks on the employees of the firm or criminal syndicate in question. This is called joined-up government.
Best of all, though, will be the witch hunts, the pogroms, the riots, the lynchings. One very rarely gets a good lynching these days. I can’t remember the last time I was in a looting, rioting, pryromanic mob rampaging through the streets with the head of a paedophile on a pike, leader of the Conservative party to my left, editor of the News of the World to my right. And that means that it’s been too long.
Things are going to go wrong in any country. There will be terrorist attacks, hateful crimes, environmental disasters, social problems, epidemics and the like. And when they do, we need someone to blame – some functional minority to take the blame, preferably an innocent but distasteful one like homeless people. Bird flu strikes and kills thousands of people: illegal immigrants have been deliberately spreading the disease by living in Britain. A well-liked boy with a great future ahead of him drowns on a field-trip in Germany: working class people are to blame for being poor. The local wildlife (including the beloved speckled otter) is wiped out when Sellafield nuclear power plant goes Chernobyl: gays are to blame for undermining the moral integrity of the country.
Under my selective ID card system, when awful things like that happen we’ll know where to go to find the illegal immigrants so that we can drown them in the North Sea. We’ll know where the working-class live so that we can burn them alive and we’ll know where to find the dirty little faggots so that we can beat the gay out of them. Short of tackling the actual causes of the problem it’s the only realistic way in which we can make ourselves feel better.
We’ll be a society cleansed of disembodied hatred, purged of stress, washed clean of unfulfilled murderous urges. Helpless, victimizable minorities will be transformed into giant societal stress toys. The enervation and frustration of our tired liberalism will be a thing of the past. Britain will be a country of institutionally-sponsored violence, of vented, targeted hatred; it will once again be the land of the angry, violent, fucked up, white middle-class men – people like me, people like you. We are the future. The ID cards are just the beginning – a cudgel to smite the terrorists, a flail to flagellate the homeless, a flamethrower to immolate the foreigner. Stop me there, I’m salivating…