Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Absolute Assurances Priority

My MP, Anne Begg, asked a sensible question in the House yesterday. She asked Charles Clarke what assurances he could give to those constituents concerned about the security of the National Identity Register. Safety's reply is telling:
I hear absolute assurances—[Interruption.]
I hear? Anne didn't ask what you hear Charlie boy. I presume the interuption was to point this out.
I apologise, Mr. Speaker. I give assurances that the security of the database will be our absolute priority in all circumstances.
What happened to the "absolute" assurances? Absolute priority is something quite different. It's a splendid example of politician speak though. Charlie cannot offer an absolute assurance that the register will be secure because he knows such an assurance would come back to haunt him. His carefully worded reply seeks to obscure that fact.

The last question in the debate, asked by John Bercow, sums up the problems with the scheme. (I really must try to stop agreeing with Conservatives.) Safety's reply is laughably ridiculous. You're wrong, so there! How very grown-up.

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