OK, well there were a large number of criticisms of my previous post. I will deal with as many of these as I can here and then take my leave of you all:
Firstly, I will tell you some personal details. I am 40 years old, married with two kids and I live in Swindon. I was educated at a comprehensive school in Wiltshire and went on to get a degree in electronic engineering. I work for a large semiconductor company providing technical and marketing support for telecoms devices. The same company also makes secure chips for smart cards and is in discussions with smart card providers regarding ID card technology. I therefore know of some people who are experts in the field of biometrics, secure card technology etc.
Not so very different to many other NO2ID supporters then !
The campaign that I have been involved in was aimed at stopping Swindon Town football club putting a new stadium in the middle of a residential area. As I said before I did not run this campaign but participated in it - I attended demos with my family, signed petitions,
Been there, done that, but always felt that these are not very infuential,
met the developers to inspect and challenge their plans,
Lucky you ! The "developers" of the Identity Cards Project are hiding behind Government secrecy claims of "commercial confidentiality" (even though there is no official procurement process in progress), and have refused to publish even a moderately detailed list of technical requirements, let alone a detailed specification that can be properly scrutinised technically or costed sensibly.
The former Home Secretary has rubbished detailed submissions to the offical consultations , and the current one has been trying to bully the London School of Economics Idnetity Project for implying that , on the basis of what has not been included in the Government's vague Regulatoru Impact Assessment "costs", that the true cost of the plan could, depending on various assumptions be double or triple what the government has been claiming.
researched similar projects
It is relatively easy to guage how much a football stadium is likely to cost, given the large number of them that have been built round the world. There is simply nothing on the scale and complexity and potential security and privacy problems of the Biometric National Identity Register, anywhere else in the world.
, wrote to local councillors and businesses,
Not strictly comparable in a national campaign, but NO2ID has written to all Members of Parliament and the House of Lords, the Welsh Assembly, Scotttish Parliament etc. and several Local Councils have passed resolutions in support. There is obviously much more to do.
researched the legal aspects,
Yes, NO2ID have done that , and so have supporting organisations such as the Law Society (which represents Solicitors), Liberty Human Rights, Privacy International , etc, with legal opinions from leading Human Rights QCs etc.
volunteered to stand at the local council elections
Not possible for a non-partisan umbrella campaign like NO2ID, which has supporters in all political parties.
and analysed the impact on the area due to parking problems
NO2ID have tried to analyse the impact of the ever shifting emphasis that the Government has placed on the various alleged "statutory purposes" put forward in the Identity Cards Bills.
I did not always agree with the organisers but they were very open to new ideas and within the group we had a very friendly working relationship.
Exactly my impression of the NO2ID Campaign organisers - friendly and competent.
The campaign was 100% successful. I freely admit that this was a small local campaign involving perhaps 2000 active campaigners and the N02ID campaign would need to be about 1000x bigger than this, but so far I have been more impressed by the campaign organised by the people at Swindon Forest Protection Group.
It is certainly the intention of NO2ID to grow far bigger, but see the comments on size of organisations below.
Spam is the sending of unsolicited emails to strangers. I was not proposing such a thing. I was proposing the sending of emails to friends and aquaintances that people know and might consider would react positively to the No2ID card campaign and also send such an email to their friends and aquaintances. I think you can understand that there is a clear difference between those two concepts. I hate spam but if a friend sends an email asking me to save the Amazon rain forest then I am obliged to listen politely even if I do nothing. No2ID should be popular but I have not received such an email.
But as you said earlier, you have only just come across the NO2ID campaign recently, so it is unlikely that any of your friends and aquaintances have either. If you do sign up as a NO2ID supporter you will get an email newsletter, usually weekly, unless there are fast moving developments in the campaign, which aims not be a burden on people's email boxes, and which can easily be unsubscribed to.
You can direct me to the public part of the website but since the forum is also public and also the most active part then there is nothing to stop me looking into it or posting a lot of old nonsense. It is here that I (like most others) learn what No2ID is really like. Is it the refusenik equivalent of the IRA, planning to blow up the house of commons with a bag of fertilizer? Is it more like Fathers4Justice with a lot of crazy promiscuous mysogonists clad in Lycra? As a "normal" everyday, middle-of-the road kind of person, do I really want to associate with these people or not?
Obviously not, but if you read a sample of most of the comments, even on this forum, you will see a lot normal people who are angry and passionate, or almost in despair at the Government's policy.
Will No2ID become a huge organisation with 2million members sufficient to influence the policies of the main political parties
NO2ID does not have to be as large as that, and it already influences the policies of the main political parties or vice versa.
NO12ID are not trying to be a Government party - only 22% of the electorate, just over 5 million people voted in the NuLabour Government.
An active membership of 2 million people would be more than the entire membership of the Conservative (about 400,000), Labour (about 300,000) and Liberal Democrat (about 250,000) parties put together !
or will it become a fringe group of extremists and career activists with no more credibility than the anti-globalisation campaigners?
Too early to say. If you believe in the issue, then it is up to people like you and me to prevent it from becoming so.
The Referendum Party avoided such career activists and appealed to middle England - that is why it became so big and UKIP then benefitted from that when Goldsmith died. Now the Tory party cannot ignore UKIP because so many former Tories now vote UKIP. The main political parties are only interested in the votes of middle England since it is middle England that determines the outcome of elections. Creating an organisation that appeals only to people on the fringes of society will have no influence.
You may have missed it on the supporters pages of the main website, but the UK Independence Party is a fully signed up supporter of the NO2ID campaign.
There are many organisations that are politically or constitutionally unable to support No2ID you say. Why do you think that is? It is because they have been in this game longer than you and know how dangerous it is to link up with other organisations.
Partly that, but partly the inertia of large organisations with their own internal politics and bickering. It is astonsihing that the Conservative Party went all "wobbly" on ID Cards, despite what should be core Tory values of individual freedom, liberty and a smaller government and less powerful bureaucracy. Now they seem a bit more united, perhaps they will formally endorse the NO2ID campaign.
Similarly it has taken the Trades Unions a long time to get around to thinking (they have a cumbersome process for new issues to float up from their grassroots to their central bueaucratic policy committees) about the implications of the National Identity Register as proposed, and how it will directly affect their members, especilaly those who actually work in the Public Sector or the IT Industries - 10 years in prison for going on strike or making an inevitable IT software configuration error for "making it more difficult, or impossible to download data" from the National Identity Register. Now 3 of the largest unions have clearly stated their opposition to the scheme, admittedly only after the General Election.
No2ID does not have to link up with other organisations - it will need to be bigger than most of them to have real influence. The organisations like the unions, Conservatives, Liberals, UKIP are big enough to run their own campaigns. It is only the likes of George Galloway that benefit from latching onto the No2ID bandwagon. Be smart - instead of listing organisations that specifically support No2ID why not mention people and organisations that are against the national intrusion register? That really is a broad range of people (word it right and you can imply that they support No2ID)
So how would you advise dealing with the issue of the British National Party ? Their last General Election manifesto was firmly against ID cards, but any support or oxygen of publicity for them, is likely to lose more support from many other parties and organisations.
You are quite correct that the campaign should be on the streets - but right now there are not enough of you and you have no money. The net is "free" and millions use it. Whats more those that use the net include a high proportion of intelligent, IT literate people that can readily understand how the technology could be misused. Spreading the word and the web-address by chain email (NOT Spam!) and participation in newsblogs like those on the Guardian website will get that web address widely known very quickly. There was a newsblog on ID cards on the Guardian web-site just a few days ago but I was the only one that was promoting the No2ID web address.
Is it better to get a few mentions of the web address in the still relatively unpopular Guardian weblog, or to get some supportive articles and opion pieces published in the newspaper itself ?
There is an ongoing struggle with the far more popular BBC News Online website, to ensure that when they run "balanced" ID card stories, they remember to include a link to NO2ID as well as the Home Office or just the main political parties. This is slowly getting better.
You cannot undermine the pro-card campaign because there isn't one, that is correct. But I suspect there will be in the near future. No one is really banging the table demanding to be positively identified - but supporters of the government will see about creating a pro-ID campaign just as there is a pro-EU campaign in reaction to UKIP.
But won't people just see such a pro-ID card campaign simply as even more NuLabour "astroturfing" (artifical "grassroots" support) and spin ?
The government may use spin to promote its case but for most intelligent people this will backfire.
You would have thought that to be the case already, given how every single one of the claims about how this particular proposed ID card scheme would address, terrorism, illegal working, identity theft etc. have been shown to be false, when examined at any level of detail.
It is not normal "intelligent" people who have to be convinced, it is those in political power who have to be influenced.
There are many reasonably intelligent people that understand the issues relating to ID cards and are not fooled.
You need 2million of those people, not 2million people with serious mental health problems who wouldn't be able to fill in a polling card anyway. If the government uses spin so can No2ID. People don't understand "databases" so imply the information is on the card/with the card. Imply that the information is more extensive than the government is proposing etc etc.....
The press and media do that already e.g. the misreporting of the Governmet's plans to sell data on the National Identity register to private companies.
Adverts for online casinos should be removed....
True, but they are automated spam, and some of them do get through - it is a fact of life of all online discussion forums.
I would point out that neither "Stop the War" or the "Countryside Alliance" campaigns were successful - so comparing against them is a waste of time.
I was only making the point that even large membership . organisations such as those, who have mounted enormous street protests, have a much narrower spread of opinion groups than the NO2ID Campaign currently does.
A demo with a hundred people in it would be derisory. In the Stop the War demo the BBC reported that it was credible because there were a lot more than 300,000 (i.e it wasn't just the usual malcontents...)
I have to disagree. If the point of the demo is as a media event, in order to generate press and tv coverage, even a small demo can get as much coverage as a very large one.
At the moment No2ID is starting to look more like Fathers4HJustice (I note that name similarity).
Phones4U etc. is an increasinly common and easily understood modern style of brand name shorthand
But Fathers4Justice was not so far succesful even though the judiciary and the government agreed with it - the militancy of their campaign turned the government off. The originator of the idea then said he had "created a monster" and threw the nutters out.
True enough, except, except, that the Government has actually now announced some concessions to do with Child custody. This may have more to do withthe fact that David Blunkett is embroiled in such matters personally and is now in charge of the DWP including the Child Support Agency, but you have to wonder if the publicity generated by the idiotic stunts did actually influence the media obsessed NuLabour political commisars.
I will not associate myself with a fringe group that could prove to be embarrassing or dangerous
Neither will I, but it is wrong to categorise the NO2ID Campaign as such.
so I will leave you alone now to make your own way. Sorry if I upset anyone - I wish you all well (even the nutters), but please don't hurt anyone in your campaign as it will do No2ID immeasurable harm. If you feel my criticism might embarrass No2ID I can understand that you may want to delete them - this is fine by me. I will check back in a few months to see how No2ID has turned out and if it is a more moderate group with broad appeal then I will join up, help out and contribute some cash.
Please come back ! You are more in tune with the majority of NO2ID supporters than you think !