CHORUS: GETTING TO KNOW YOU, GETTING TO KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU
I was really looking forward to being granted my new British identity card and I truly believe I understood the high-level thinking that decided that we all must have one.
Now in 2016 I'm heavily into my creaking, tottery late 70s and I clearly recall that when I was a child, evacuated at the outbreak of World War Two against those awful Bosch people, I was trundled, by my Great Aunt Elsie Claxton, to Harrow town hall, Middlesex, to receive our buff-coloured identity cards and ration books. The solemnity of the occasion was emphasised by the generated atmosphere of steely impatience favoured by council clerks of that era whilst reluctantly distributing largesse to the undeserving. Fingerprints and mug shots of the uncomplaining recipients were not required unless they were convicted criminals, and at that time no one had ever heard of DNA; also to scan an iris involved a trip into the garden if it was the iris season.
These are modern, high-tech times and of course we all know that it's the in thing for current governments to offer reasons of national security as the thinking behind an elaborate scheme such as this, a scheme that would have cost the uncomplaining taxpayers several billion pounds.
Several times here I have, and may, use the word uncomplaining and so for non-British readers I momentarily digress from our subject to explain that part of the genetic heritage of the British is a built-in phobia that induces feelings of intense horror and indignation even at the thought of publicly complaining about anything. Examples of the effects of this phobia may be triggered amongst other diners in a restaurant should a diner be unwise enough to complain about bad service. The displayed horror and indignation of the management and other diners clearly reveals this phobia in action. Doctor, receptionist, and all other patients in a doctor's waiting room display similar horrified, bewildered, and indignant reactions if a patient dares to complain about being appointed to the latter part of a seemingly endless block-appointment. In both of those unfortunate examples the strength of the phobia has been weakened probably due to a history of crossbreeding with non-British persons. Now let us return to the subject of this article.
I feel sure the real and benevolent reason for the new identity cards was to slow down the hectic pace of life, as lived by the British population, and what better way could be devised to achieve this end? Another benefit gained from this excellent scheme would have been the complete abolishment of unemployment. Read on to learn how this could have been achieved. This was a very clever idea for which someone would have no doubt received a knighthood. The idea involved a vast network of interlinked computers into which highly detailed information about every living, breathing Briton would be fed. The recipient of each identity card to be required to submit to an eye scan, maybe donate a sample of DNA, and have his or her fingerprints placed on record. The new identity card also would have displayed a photograph of its bearer. I feel sure my fears are groundless but I will mention here that when my wife and I renewed our passports a couple of years ago we supplied new photographs of our world-weary visages. When the new passports were sent to us our features were made unrecognisable by the official iridescent embossed stamp. The photos could have been of anyone who was suffering facial third-degree burns. Rest assured this wouldn't be allowed to happen had our mug shots been fed into the government computers. Feel comforted by the knowledge that computers and their operators never make mistakes, so if it's on the monitor screen don't argue because it must be true. At this point our intelligent readers may wonder how an identity card will reduce the hectic pace of life and abolish unemployment.
First of all we must expand the frontiers of our imagination to comprehend the multitudinous ways in which computers and security cameras are already entwined into our daily activities. Today we receive our e-mail and spam via our computers, after those e-mails have been monitored for keyword content. In this way government computers can monitor our supposedly private communications, but of course only for abuses of the English language. If we enter a shop or service station to make a purchase or to buy petrol a security camera linked to a computer records our movements, and another computer records our transaction and credit card details. When we stroll across a public square a selection of security cameras affixed to buildings dutifully records the fact. When we drive upon the public highways increasing numbers of roadside cameras record our vehicle registration-number plate, our vehicle's speed and closeness to the vehicle ahead of us and so on. All of these high-tech devices are installed to give us all a feeling of being safe, secure, and lovingly watched over at all times. Most reassuring of all is the fact that all of these various sources of information are to be linked and made widely available to interested and caring parties, although of course certainly not to the general public.
Here I must pause to make a point that may have been missed about those roadside security cameras although my point has more to do with the vehicles the cameras are installed to monitor. Manufacturers of motor vehicles will be faced with a major technical challenge and that is to design a vehicle capable of travelling at speeds at and below the official speed limits. To date I have yet to drive a modern vehicle that doesn't require its driver's eyes to be dangerously riveted upon the speedometer instead of the road ahead to keep the speed down to the 30-MPH speed limit. My old 1936 Austin 7 used to cheerfully cruise at 29 MPH; admittedly it was reluctant to go any faster than that, but as modern vehicles are already endowed with unusable high speeds far above the legal speed limits this further refinement should present few problems for the manufacturers.
Now we have made that point let us explore some of the beneficial by-products that would have been generated by the identity-card scheme. First of all how would we have used the new identity card? Whilst paying for our purchases by credit card probably we've all observed the introduction of high-tech devices through which the credit card is read as it is slid along a slot in the device. Similar devices, specially designed to read the new identity cards, would have been manufactured by the millions and installed everywhere in the UK, and all for the convenience of the British public. Everywhere includes banks and post offices. Also to be included were off-licences, pharmacies, and everywhere that sells tobacco or alcohol, and these would be used to protect under-18-year-olds from the perils of tobacco or alcohol addiction.
Now we begin to see the benefits of this scheme, and how it would have slowed the hectic pace of life for the British public. For a brief moment let us think of a new identity-card holder as a fallible human being instead of a faceless number stored in a government computer. To give just one example, most of us have experienced the delays caused at the supermarket cash desk by the customer who has forgotten his or her credit-card number, or must search for spectacles, a chequebook and pen to then painstakingly write out a cheque. Now add to the equation the frequent requirement to find and produce the identity card to be read by the devices, and it was easy to foresee that delays would become integral to the British lifestyle, and eventually enjoyed by one and all. It is even possible that rows of seats may be provided, anywhere that identity-card-reading devices have been installed. Fellow users whilst waiting their turn no doubt would have enjoyed leisurely discussions about the meaning of life and why as individuals do we exist.
This warm, cosy, big-happy-family feeling that our government longed to generate for us would have required more and more of us to become involved in making the scheme work smoothly, and this is how unemployment would have been abolished. To understand the connection we have to realize what a wide range of hi-tech, information-gathering equipment is available, all of which would have had to be manned. We have satellites in orbit with cameras to closely watch each of us as we move about on this 'Sceptred Isle' and even in our homes via our heat signatures, countless cameras feeding images to countless monitor screens, each of which would have required a human observer to observe and take action when required. What sort of action? Each monitor screen would be equipped with a red button, and when immunity from the phobia symptoms, as described earlier in this article, were observed on screen the observer would be required to press the red button to summon his or her supervisor. The supervisor would then arrange to have the unfortunate anti-phobia patient isolated from the general public.
Try to imagine the vast range of human resources, the business-sterilised name for employees, would have been required to man this ongoing operation. Immediately the unemployed would have been invited onto the government payroll, but more and more observers would have been needed to man those ever-increasing numbers of monitor screens. Next the armed forces would have been absorbed into the scheme, and of course would have ceased to be available to fight in wars against the non-British, but then that is why we employ highly paid diplomats so that war is rendered unnecessary, isn't it? Yet more people would have been needed and so coach-loads of old-age-pensioner volunteers, fleeing from mind-numbing afternoon television, would have gladly done their bit to keep those screens manned. Soon all factories would have been completely run by computerised robot technology to release even more people to man those screens.
Non-British readers may be curious to know why we Brits were so eager to exchange our privacy for the warm feeling of well being we would have received as new identity-card holders. It is important to realise that our British heritage is closely intertwined with the ongoing presence and effects of the aforementioned phobia. I am the phobia, and the phobia is I. It is safe to say that it is the effect of this phobia upon us throughout our glorious history that has made Britain great. In that sense the phobia is our national treasure to be lovingly protected by all true Britons.
I foresaw a golden future when much of our time would have been divided between observing government monitor screens, and tranquilly waiting to have our identity cards read wherever we go. We would have been the envy of the world.
The content of this article is intended for educational and information purposes only. It may be networked but only in its unaltered form and accredited to the author: David Brittain.
Ascension Support Team
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