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Nov. 16th, 2005

Yesterday the Tory peer Lord Lucas was asking quite sensible questions about the whole ID cards thing (well, all right, he had mentioned Judge Dredd), but then he played a blinder:
Lord Lucas: If I find myself coming back from holiday with my young daughter and I fail my checks at the airport because something has happened with one of my fingers, or the machine is on the blink, or I am developing some disease that means I am full of water and everything is out of size, what happens to me? Will I then be made to wait in the airport for two weeks while they identify me, or will I get sent back to Tenerife?
He is the king of “what if?”. This is the man who, while debating the Civil Contingencies Bill, stretched the definition of “contingency” to its limit with this slice of future history:
Lord Lucas: What concerns me in Part 2 of the Bill is what happens in an extreme case. Are we opening up our system to the equivalent of what happened in Germany in 1933, where it became possible for an extreme party to legitimately hijack a democracy and turn it into something totalitarian?

It is not that difficult to imagine what happens. Perhaps next election we will have a hung Parliament. The Liberals will join Labour, and their price will be proportional representation. In the Parliament after that, a chance for PR: you vote for who you want to make a difference. UKIP and the BNP get significant representation in Parliament. Then the Conservative party, pretty desperate for power, allies itself with UKIP and has a stand-off pact with the British National Party. The consequence of that, perhaps, is that we have an ex-Labour MP—a demagogue, shall we say? [Robert Kilroy-Silk’s name had been bandied about earlier]—who becomes a senior member of the Government, perhaps Home Secretary, and that is the price for co-operation.

This scenario does not last for very long. There are too many tensions in it, and they can never really agree on what to do about Europe. Six months later, the Labour party, sensing a real division, organises a vote of no confidence in the Commons. UKIP and the BNP are very unsure about what they will do. They disappear into a conclave of their own, which continues to last as the debate goes on. Just as the Prime Minister rises to speak, a small tactical nuclear weapon explodes on a barge outside the Houses of Parliament. The only surviving Secretary of State is the member of UKIP, and it rapidly becomes clear that the BNP are in with him. [Hansard]
So Kilroy becomes prime minister via some nuclear Reichstag coup perpetrated by the BNP. It's fair to say that whoever had prepared the Minister's brief hadn’t second-guessed that.

The Minister responded that this blue-sky thinking was “interesting”.

Comments

internetsdairy
Nov. 16th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this from earlier in his speech, too:

"But what if something serious is involved, such as the smallpox attack of my noble friend Lord Jopling? [...] What does one do under those circumstances? Either one has immediate faith in a national plan, because you know it exists: it starts talking to you immediately, you know where to turn to, you know everything will be fairly treated; or you grab a baseball bat, head off down to Tesco and make sure that you are going to be all right."

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