The cry goes out loud and clear from one side of the stadium’s stands. “Who are you?*” – the taunt is clear – you are a nobody, your team is virtually unknown and we’re here to remind you just that… you’ve got no identity. Identity is a big issue in England (and Great Britain) – home of liberty and individual rights. The country has toyed with the introduction of Identity Cards for decades and will hold hard onto its beloved pound sterling. Identity is at the core of existence of the quintessential brit, that, and the right to privacy.
It comes as no surprise therefore that when a junior official at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs offices misplaced data pertaining to 25 million individuals in the government internal post. Lost. Information ranging from name and surname to children’s allowance, pension rights and in certain cases banking information. Disaster. Very private personal information of half the population of the UK was suddenly lost.
Which can be a big eye-opener about the delicate steps that need to be taken when jumping on board the IT train. IT is not just a tool to more democratic, more efficient and more direct involvement of the citizen and access to government. It is a double-edged sword that can be dangerous when it falls in the wrong hands.
This has been one big blow for Gordon Brown’s cabinet. To start he can forget about his government’s plans to introduce Identity Cards very soon. Then he’ll have to convince the people (or at least half of them) that such a loss can be easily amended. Good luck Gordon. In the meantime we can only stand up and sing: “Who are ya?”
* In Malta the fans are prone to more delicate chants of the kind “Who’s your father?” (a blunt reformation of the Latin epiteth “Mater semper certa est, pater numquam) or worse “Tonight we’ll go to Strait Street and meet your mama” (a more direct statement concerning lusty rendezvous in areas where women are known to loiter with intent and implying that the opposing crowd are offspring of said women).
P.S. Thank you to all the Get Well Soon wishers. I feel much better now and I think that my body is beginning to cope with the winter depression. Cheers once again.