The Conservative Party manifesto contains the following chilling paragraph:
The British public deserves to have confidence in our democracy. We will legislate to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, to reform postal voting and to improve other aspects of the elections process to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world. We will retain the traditional method of voting by pencil and paper, and tackle every aspect of electoral fraud.
Three things. First there are only two forms of photo ID in the UK. They are passports and driving licences.
Second, both cost money.
Third, neither is necessary to live in the UK.
It is estimated that maybe 3.5 million people now on the electoral roll do not have photo ID. And the Tory plan is that they will not be allowed to vote as a result.
This is staggering: it is a direct attack on the universal mandate. It most certainly will mean taxation without representation. It will, unsurprisingly benefit the Tories since most of those without ID are on lower incomes.
And it won’t change electoral fraud because there is almost no recorded electoral fraud in the UK. There was in Northern Ireland, where photo ID has helped eliminate it, I agree. but there the photo ID is free. And unless that is to be replicated in the rest of the UK this is not just a non starter, it’s a full and open assault on democracy itself.