Papers please – the early retiree as identity cleanskin

Mortgage – check. PAYE – check. Credit card loans – check. In my wage slave days I threw off enough data crumbs to feed the data harvesting operation that has grown into the identity check industry. There’s a creeping centralisation and authoritarian streak to finance these days, due to the odious Know Your Customer (KYC) regulatory burden. In a curious reversal of the burden of proof, banks can freeze/shut down your accounts, and the ancients rights of the Magna Carta do not apply and you do not get due process – the bank will refuse to confirm of deny anything about the account. This is why you should never have all your liquid cash in one bank account, I have three although I use one mostly, but the others have savings and current accounts ready to roll should I lose access to that. I have never had an account frozen, but the authoritarianism goes deeply against the principles of habeas corpus I was taught at school, that in theory an Englishman has the right to hear in court the trumped up charges held against him. It just doesn’t apply.

However, for some reason I increasingly have pain with the KYC regulations. I got into a massive fight with Betfair betting exchange in my abortive foray into matched betting when they took my money but decided they didn’t want to release the deposit, never mind the winnings because they couldn’t confirm I existed. Clearly I was not their typical gambling customer. I believe this general grief is the penalty of not being a wage slave, not using a mobile phone on a regular basis, and it being several years since I owed anyone any money. I can’t be found in mortgage records, and while I have three credit cards I haven’t changed these for nearly ten years, and my bank accounts are all old. I am a fail on MSE’s Credit club which makes me think that a thin file with Experian is my problem –

There are a few reasons which may stop Experian from being able to verify your identity; for example, you may have a ‘thin file’. This just means there may be too little information held about you to be able to verify your identity.


Older accounts can also cause verification issues…

– Was your account opened before 1998? If so, your bank may not be sharing the account details with Experian as it was opened before the Data Protection Act came into force. To remedy this, you can contact your bank and ask that it applies a marker to ensure your account details are shared with the credit reference agencies.

I encountered this most recently when I tried to register online for NS&I, not particularly because I wanted to check on my roughly 15k worth of ILSCs but because I was going to register a lasting power of attorney to add to my mother’s motley collection of Premium Bonds[ref]personally I don’t touch Premium Bonds, but since any income is tax-free and NS&I doesn’t need FSCS protection it’s a good match for the risk tolerance of an elderly widow[/ref]. The online system barfed and I have to use the post. Same with registering for online self assessment a couple of years ago. I had grief with Barclays when I wanted to register the LPA though I have to say that they actually brought human beings and a decent helping of common sense to the operation and sorted it out.

I still have an old paper driving licence with no photocard so some organisations get shirty about taking that, and I am down to one last utility bill as a paper bill, kept that way purely to have something to support proof of address.

Papers please? On yer bike, officer…

Think the UK doesn’t have ID cards? You’re wrong. Like the Jesuits, we like to get to them when they are young

One of the joys of being a Brit is that for cultural reasons we don’t like the idea of the authorities being able to demand your papers please as you are walking down the street – you don’t have to carry ID about your normal business. That is A Good Thing in my view. Obviously if you start breaking into a shop with a crowbar you will get arrested, but it’s kinda nice to actually have to be committing a crime before you get your collar felt 😉 But I suspect this will disappear in the coming years, in the same way as the simplicity of how  I opened two of those bank accounts disappeared over the years since the millennium. I simply went into the branch and producing my works staff card and a payslip, rather than the tedious string of paperwork that seems to be needed now.

There are many forces demanding more traceability and accountability where we used to muddle along fine without it. Terrorism keep getting rolled out as a great reason for ID cards, though I am sure cars kill more people in the UK than terrorism, so a rational approach to reducing early deaths would be to get self-driving cars ASAP. And for God’s sake do stop falling off high places… Don’t get me wrong, I am all for nutting mean-spirited psychos from killing random people because their twisted mentality says so, but canning more common  sources of random death first seems a better win, and surrendering centuries’ old freedoms to reduce the very low chance of getting killed that way seems a bum deal. I have reigned myself to the fact I am likely to see some version of John Walker’s Unicard in the next few decades…

The end of the tax year is coming up. Don’t leave it to the last minute

It’s time to use one’s capital gains tax limit and to fill up this year’s ISA, and because of all these pettifogging rules and regulations it pays to do that a good few weeks before the April 5th deadline. Just in case some obstructive oik says you need to provide this or that documentation. I have to say that opening investment accounts has been relatively pain-free for me compared to anything to do with banks or the GOV.UK website, but it still takes time. It was a hell of a job to squeak in opening a SIPP in time to take advantage of an extra year of saving after Osborne’s kind offer of pensions freedom a couple of years ago, and certainly if you need to open an ISA this year then it’s worth having a few weeks in hand to do it. Particularly if you are going to try and Bed and ISA (or -SIPP) unwrapped shares to use your capital gains limit this year. What that means is do it now

It seems peculiarly tough that you have to be part of the almost universal trend towards spending and living on more than you earn to be considered a participant in the 21st century economy. There are shadows of the societies of the sci-fi I used to read as a teenager where the oddballs became unpersons – Ray Bradbury’s The Pedestrian springs to mind. The System can’t identify people who don’t work and don’t owe any money or claim benefits. They just don’t exist in the models of Britons that are used by the powers that be, with their shadowy and unaccountable data jacks on the citizenry’s digital lifestreams. The signals dribbling through their data taps are too weak compared to the streams of new credit applications and the richness of normal people’s economic lives. I don’t know if it’s a down on the FIRE community in general or I am a particular outlier. But it’s a pain, I don’t now assume any sort of account opening on change is going to happen in less than a month.

37 thoughts on “Papers please – the early retiree as identity cleanskin”

  1. Hi, no you are not an outlier – in today’s surveillance state, you start getting all sorts of problems if you’re not at least a dot on the radar – they don’t like it that you’re slippery to control … could be able to think for yourself.

    I got around the poor service & general exploitation of mainstream banks by also signing up with a couple of the new challengers who’re online only – they are easy to get up & running with because they don’t need a full banking license if you just want a basic service. You can do it in minutes off their website. They’re my backup for if the condoned high street crooks ever decide to disrupt my life by arbitrarily freezing my account for some bullsh*t box-ticking algorithmic glitch.

    Basically, our rulers have conditioned the masses into being good little consumers all the better to be absolutely controllable & that wont change as long as this sea of plankton continue to believe it when they’re told it’s raining even as they can see the mainstream banks pissing in their faces.


    1. It’s odd, the ‘thin file’ of not needing a ‘normal’ amount of credit. I suspect that would cause issues with opening new bank accounts too. So I try and minimise opening new accounts. Which probably adds to the thin-ness of the file compared to credit normies.

      In the end I don’t need a best credit card because I pay the buggers off at the end of the month, and on the less than yearly occasions I screw up I have a DD for the minimum and can take the hit of double digit interest for a month.

      My so called credit score was higher than RIT’s although it isn’t now although there’s not much in it. But that’s fair enough – he still employed.

      It was disturbing to see that changing insurers for my car insurance generated no less than five separate identity checks on the same day. And there is no trace of the checks for things which caused me grief, like NS&I


  2. Funnily enough over the last few weeks I too have got my PBs and ILSCs into an online NS&I account and have also signed up with the MSE credit club. Bizarre coincidence. It was RIT that spurred me to do the latter.
    Careful withvthe driving licence. Might be an offence from the DVLAs perspective that you have an old paper licence. Not sure but maybe worth checking. The DVLA are beggars for that sort of thing


    1. There was a common source, RIT article made me look at that credit club.

      My paper licence is fine as long as I don’t move and has already saved me £20 against the photo variant, plus the tail risks of having an out of date photo licence. But I may crack at some point, it’s a little bit too long to wait until I am 60, where the 10 year validity would take me to the mandatory renewal at 70! Hopefully by that time there won’t be a need for driving licences as my self-driving car will take me to the watering hole and back…


      1. I kept my paper licence as long as i could. The last speeding offence had to be manually written on the space for points. Sadly I had to get the new one when I recently moved – but it was free and I’m old enough that it expires at same time as paper one. Not sure if it is bright side, but at least some of the IT expenditure the government usually wastes does work: DVLA gets the passport photo for the driving licence so no need to spend £6 for 4 awful photos yet again.


  3. Basically, there’s no coincidence on this trend, it’s an indirect but strong form of control – the credit-rating companies increasingly have serious power over our lives by their ability to limit our options in life choices by shutting down access to finance(tools).

    Look at this contemporary example of a late bill payment stopping you moving on in life:- … harks back to the era when governments effectively co-ruled with corporations of the day like the East India Company.

    For a lot of the FI community who’ll fly under the radar, having little to no credit information for these sharks to pore over automatically puts you under suspicion, [of evasion at least] so they treat you as possible criminals until proven otherwise. To my mind, this is an even more important reason to be FI, to achieve freedom from predation/parasitisation by privateers control is effectively being outsourced to.


  4. Same problems trying to rent a temporary holiday flat. No mortgage, no debts, had my bank account for donkeys years. Failed credit check as nothing recorded. Shortly to reduce taxed income below tax threshold. Don’t see why I should have to tell them about my investment portfolio income, let alone provide details.

    Big brother is well and truly established.


    1. An ISA is the ultimate stealth below the radar income 😉 I sort of assume that HMRC knows exactly what it is, but since it’s tax-free that is okay-ish. That credit checking is getting a right PITA since it’s outsourced to shadowy organisations that have no transparency.


  5. I’ve found something as petty as opting out of the ‘open register’ version of the electoral register (i.e. the version sold on to marketing firms) gives banks cause to be twitchy – for some reason, Indian banks are particularly hot on this!


    1. Damn – the whole point of there being two registers is so that ID can be tested on a go no-go. I am also opted out of that!


  6. You are correct, everyone will be expected to have some form of ID in years to come and we will be expected to pay through the nose to obtain it. I have been observing this for the past few years.

    Just applying for a job now needs ID!
    It is getting harder and harder to open accounts, get jobs, apply for services or benefits without some form of ID. Be that passport, NI card, utility bills, telephone, etc.. in various combinations to prove ID.
    I lived with someone for a while and because I didn’t have my name on any of the utility bills I was seen as a non-person because I couldn’t prove my address, madness!

    You are expected to have either a driving licence or passport neither are mandatory but big brother IS expecting you to have at least one or both.
    It’s your choice to drive a vehicle, its your choice if you want to travel outside the country.


    1. > Just applying for a job now needs ID!

      I read this and it creeps me out – there was a requirement on The Firm to validate passports every two years, except for old gits like me who were grandfathered from whatever piece of obnoxious legislation demanded that – it came in in the late 1990’s ISTR, probably new Labour.

      I’m not against controlling who comes into the country, but that is the job of Border Force, not every employer and landlord, and surely once it’s validated on hire, it doesn’t need to be revalidated for continuous hires. I am so glad to be out of this vexatious mess – showing your passport for work is a step too far!


  7. @Ermine,
    Parallel paths yet again! This very week I had precisely the same problem with NS&I and am awaiting their response to my paper form. I have additional problems in that I don’t drive and that, similarly to @sparkleb33, most of the utility-type bills are in my partner’s name. I did manage to obtain a new passport last year but it seemed far more difficult than in the past.

    I haven’t registered with MSE’s Credit Club but when life gets simpler I might have a play. I have no mortgage, retired very early some 13 years ago,
    clear all cards at month end except where zero interest deals operate. I did change bank accounts about 4 years ago and have acquired two further credit cards (zero interest introductory periods) since then. All bills get paid on time. However, I do have a bolt-hole to which I periodically retreat where I have utility bills in my own name but I don’t know whether my two personas are linked by the likes of Experian.

    So, no you’re not that much of an outlier, especially within the FI community. I do wonder whether not posting on Faceache or twitting is or will become an issue.


    1. It does seem that FI (and particularly FI/RE) types do sometimes have probelms there, I feel a better about it after hearing I’m in good company.

      I followed RIT’s first article using noddle, which seemed to go through okay.

      Looking at the noddle full report, though, it looks fishy as hell, because my main current account doesn’t show, nor do either of the secondary accounts, they are all too old (pre data protection act). As a result i appear to be an impoverished freegan, with no money in the bank, and exemplary card and utility repayment record and low credit card totals. I am the Moneyless Man Mark Boyle by the looks of it 😉


  8. Kindred spirits, I think we’ve touched on an important nerve here – I too avoid having a permanent/personal vehicle [for FI reason mostly] & am not on sh*tface or other ‘social’ media as well as displaying other common consumerist ‘markers’….. we are obviously, definitely being made to pay a price for this privacy however.

    But surely we have the intelligence between us to find a way to circumvent this subtle persecution – we must think of a way to show we’re financially independent so we’re not arbitrarily persecuted on suspicion of poverty, without compromising out rights to privacy. Think of an existing proof of income/ID, [without surrendering anonymity by registering a digital footprint] or invent a new one; let us swap ideas?


  9. I retired a couple of years ago, a year before my final salary pension started up, and my mortgage matured, and was redeemed at the end of August.

    I don’t have a passport and my driving licence is still the old paper type.

    So far, touch wood, I’ve not had any real problems with ID but it does seem to be less of a problem when applying for accounts etc online as the electronic checks they do normally seem to suffice. I’ve had little experience of applying for anything in branches but, from the trouble we had when trying to open an account for my wife (far less visible than me) in a branch a few years back, I think that is more likely to be a problem.

    For decades I have used cashback credit cards and paid off the bill in full, by direct debit, at the end of each month. Over the last couple of years I have used MSE to identify decent credit cards for stoozing and have now managed to build up just under £10k of debt which I recently combined and transferred to a 24 month % interest no fee Virgin credit card. I don’t make much from the interest (actually 1.55% with a 120-day notice Paragon account – sadly no longer available to new customers – so it’s not too bad in these current times) but I feel this may be useful in helping me appear on the Experian/Equifax radar. My spending is done on a couple of other credit cards, both with cashback, which are paid in full by DD each month, which continues my visible track record of prompt payments.

    I have a number of bank accounts, including maxed-out sole and joint Santander 123 accounts, some of which still provide free monthly statements in the post. These are sometimes helpful when bills or bank statements are needed. They also give me the comfort of knowing that I don’t have all my easily-accessible cash in one place so if I ever suffer from the “account closed with no explanation” problem I can get money from one of the others.

    I have been trying to simplify things now that I’m in my early 60s. In an ideal world I would like to reduce the number of accounts to one current, one savings and one investments but I don’t like keeping too many eggs in each basket, both for reasons of accessibility in the event of problems and also so I don’t exceed compensation limits too much.


    1. I don’t have a passport and my driving licence is still the old paper type.

      So far, touch wood, I’ve not had any real problems with ID but it does seem to be less of a problem when applying for accounts etc online as the electronic checks they do normally seem to suffice

      It’s the electronic checks that I seem to often fail, though not always – there are many matched batting checks on my file which went through OK. But oh boy, without those two photo docs you’d be stuffed if they had to do it on manual, so well done keeping a clean electronic bill of health!

      Maybe the extra cards help your file, when I look at mine there is very little – three banks and three credit cards. No utilities as all those searches were long ago and no mobile phone checks. I wouldn’t lend to my profile anyway – several betting checks would run up the flag saying this punter has a very serious gambling problem 😉


      1. I also tend to switch energy provider each time a 12 month fix ends so perhaps their searches help to keep things active as well.


  10. We got my 87 year old mother-in-law a 10 year Canadian passport recently – and she never goes anywhere. She needs photo ID though,
    She does not drive, has no online presence, does not use credit cards or write checks, goes to the bank in person. As far as the government and corporate data miners go, she doesn’t exist except to pay taxes.
    I’m sure there are many other older seniors just like her. They can get an Ontario ID card or a passport but they need something – even to get their own money out of the bank.


    1. hehe – my mother has a passport for the same reason – she has never had a driving licence. Her days of international travel are well gone.


      1. In Ontario you need two types of photo ID to renew your health card – which is in itself a piece of photo ID. I don’t know how my MIL will cope with that.


  11. £20 for a photo licence is a small price to pay for convenience though, as it’s more convenient than a passport? I’ve found that a photo ID is required to collect special delivery items from the post office and to pick up stuff ordered online via Click and Collect. Hope all that Betfair shenanigans got sorted in your favour in the end.


    1. I’m just a crusty refusenik from the days when there was a fuss 10 years after photo licences were introduced, since they didn’t tell you the photo had to be renewed so you could take a £1000 shaft for having an out of data photo. Trying to remember something on a 10-year cycle without reminders wasn’t a £1000 risk I was prepared to take. On researching this prodded by Mark above, I find that they remind you nowadays, and can even get the picture from a passport so I may chill out on that.

      Betfair did finally give me my money back, and my life is now refreshingly matched-betting-free. The actual betting was okay, but I found the gaudy advertising stressful and empty promises and plugging away on slots made me feel that my white fur was being sullied. I’m just not used to dealing with the onslaught of online advertising – I suppress it very aggressively normally.


  12. Big Brother well and truly here to stay…..and the young ‘uns love it! I remember working at a warehouse in 2008/9 and we had to wear a bar code around our necks to be scanned every time we completed a trolley. I used to joke with the brain-dead automaton in his wendy house how I was going to get it tattooed on my forehead so I could bow at the same time as being scanned. It always put me in a good humour. And that was nearly a decade ago! Implants for all soon, no doubt about it!


  13. I did think that the driving licence could be a low-cost shoe-in for a national ID card. All they’d have to do is modify it so it was possible to have one even if you couldn’t drive anything. I quite like the idea of having a push-bike category on it as well indicating you have the legs of an Ox, maybe running category also if you can do a sub 20min parkrun. Could be a massive windfall for the dvla… An credit card sized ID is damn handy in many situations for me personally


    1. I think I’m showing my age here – I guess when I was growing up the memory of the recent near-miss in terms of SS-GB meant people were quite proud of the fact that a Briton gets to go about his daily business without having to submit to a regular request for papers please, and the attitude stuck.

      I don’t really have that many occasions where I have to show my papers, and curiously enough, it is for piddling amounts of money in the £10-£1000 mark where it’s needed. Nobody has asked me to show my papers to open an ISA, and sadly I am grizzled enough of fur that the last time I was refused a drink was over twenty years ago, for being a fresh-faced early 30s in Bognor Regis. Given the average age in the town seemed about 60 I could see their point, though it stung. Even bouncers don’t demand ID, presumably I don’t look ready to rough the place up.

      So I am happy to say at the moment I don’t feel the lack of a credit-card sized ID IRL, long may that continue 😉


  14. I’m genuinely curious about this “we don’t have to show our papers” thing. In my country, we get our unique registration number at birth and a hard copy id at 14. We use that for everything, opening bank accounts, getting hired, getting a credit card, registering a car and so on.
    We also have laws that state that our police can’t stop and ask us questions unless we are in the act of commiting a crime. The police only ever stopped me once in 33 years, when they had set up a road block, presumably for some specific reason, and I was driving. I’m assuming the same thing happens in UK, you need to show your driving license.

    I don’t see how going through all the contorsions of getting a passport without needing to travel, getting a driver’s licens without driving, opening several bank accounts and credit cards without needing them and needing “two types of photo ID to renew your health card” is better than having 1 single ID, issued by the government.

    I guess my age shows, but I’m actually more leery of having several banks or other third parties vouching for who I am than my own government. At least there’s only one database to hack and they need to have paper back-ups, so, you know, I can never become a nonexisting person. Yes, the government migh decide to do shadowy things with my data and so on, but please, do you trust corporations more? Do you feel they are in any way more accountable?


    1. For me the issues is that the passport and driving licence have a specific purpose, nobody can demand one because there is no requirement to have either, unless engaged in a particular activity. I don’t mind the driving licence because in the end you’re putting other people at risk and that should have responsibilities, and some sort of border control is needed.

      But I grew up with a presumption of innocence, that the government can’t demand papers at a whim. Possibly this was a result of too many post-war WW2 films, with “Papiere bitte”, but there is no universal ID card in the UK. There has been cultural resistance to attempts to introduce suchlike in the past, once just after the war and once in the 2000s

      The counterpoise of that is that there’s no single piece of ID that can be demanded. Although this rant is about grief with this, that’s a price of the diverse and no single-point-of-control system I’d rather pay than have ID cards, with all the data fishing potential of suchlike. It’s part of the national character of being British, and the good things about that are things to cherish in these troubled times.

      Commercial companies will screw up, and they are not accountable. It is the diversity and no single definitive document of record which is the key element protecting against that. FWIW there is a unique database index key for everyone in the UK similar to the one you describe, called the national insurance number but in another demonstration of the quirky British character regarding ID, companies aren’t allowed to use that as the primary key for their employee reference number, they had to create new ones some time in the 2000s, although the NI No has to be one of the fields in the employee record so they can pay tax at source.

      I fully accept that the attitude is quirky, and perhaps mad as a bag of spanners from an efficiency point of view. It’s a peculiarity of the FI that they can disappear under the radar with this, because if you are of independent means there is no regular payslip, and using tax-sheltered accounts (indexed by the NI number to open) there aren’t regular pings to the tax system. But every country has it’s little foibles, and not liking a central ID database is one of Britain’s, just like caring so much about fresh bread they have bread mailboxes is one of the French, and having no upper speed limit on some autobahns is of the Germans.


      1. Regarding the presumption of innocence, it’s the same here. As I mentioned, the police cannot stop you on the street and ask for your papers except if 1. you are committing a crime such as stealing a purse or what not or 2. they have a road block on the streets and they check all drivers. They cannot just decide, yeah, today I will frisk this one – she looks shady.

        What happens when you are taken into a police station in the UK? How do they check if you have a previous record? Or how do they check if another complaint has been lodged against you? Surely they don’t check your bank accounts or your utility bills? The government must have a database somewhere where they keep track of their citizens.

        Again, this is genuine curiosity, I’m not planning of coming to Britain and going on a petty theft spree, no matter what your politicians might tell you.


      2. What happens when you are taken into a police station in the UK?

        I don’t know, it hasn’t happened to me 😉 As I read this there is no requirement to identify yourself even if arrested, though they may take photographs and DNA samples.

        I have never encountered a police road block and although my car has been stopped for speeding I was not driving at the time. As it was the driver showed his licence and he wasn’t speeding that much, on a motorway in broad daylight they waved him on. I have been individually flagged down for driving back from shift work through Brixton at night, but because I was not black and was driving a relatively new car they waved me on without asking for any details, presumably it didn’t look worth it for a drugs bust.

        I have assumed the NI number is the primary key for the government database but children don’t have one until they get to 16 so there must be some other system to track them through school. This was done at a county level when I was a child, and in a computerless world so I don’t know how they do it now.

        I’m not planning of coming to Britain and going on a petty theft spree

        I am sorry for the boorish nature of a significant number of my fellow countrymen, I was a remainer despite being of the typical age range for passionate Brexiteers 😉

        Mrs Ermine lived in France for a few years, and told me there was a requirement to carry ID at all times in France. I haven’t been able to substantiate this claim from a primary source. It is that sort of arbitrary stop that I am concerned about, but not having a definitive ID card makes that a bit harder to enact in the UK than elsewhere, should we enter such troubled times.


      3. Yes, in my country we have the same requirement: carry ID at all times. We also have laws protecting citizens from police overreach. If those laws change, well.. we’ll have to fight our government for it.

        ID works in many ways though. If you’re hit by a car and taken to a hospital, having ID means they could more quickly call your loved ones. If you’ve been previously treated there, then they have recorded info about allergies and drugs you use, so when treating you they also have this information.

        Now that I think about it, it seems we trust our government quite a lot and with a lot of data, which is odd, because we barely trust our politicians.

        I did not mean to be so snarky about British politicians in my earlier comment but I’m not exactly enjoying the rise of nationalism sweeping Europe. I still remember my grandfather telling me stories from WW2 and his 3 years being a prisoner in Russia after the war ended, and thinking that this kind of experience might come back, well, it doesn’t make me love people spreading hate.


  15. I totally agree with all the above comments. It really does irritate me that I have to continue to prove my identity at my solicitor’s office, every couple of years, when they hold my house deeds, Will, PoA etc, and have known me for years. I lost the rag when they told me the same utility bill (in joint names) couldn’t be used to prove address for both my husband and I at the same time, it had to be different pieces of paper for each of us!


    1. I guess they wouldn’t have it if you simply then left, took a walk round the block and came back in saying you wanted to ID yourself individually? I don’t know what they tell people at their compliance courses, but in my experience people get really humourless at that sort of common-sense lateral thinking!

      Address notification is particularly tedious because it seems to have to be within the last three months. Fortunately the water bill is still quarterly.


  16. I don’t believe there is a link between ID cards & control of terrorism (not that you said there was). An ID card can record, or link to an online database with your country of origin, nationality, employment status etc. However unlike Trump I don’t believe these sorts of attributes can flag an individual as a terrorist. If fact it could be used to enable misguided institutional racism. Data about original nationality or country of origin is irrelevant as I understand most terrorists are home grown. Also such ne’er-do-wells as terrorists are unlike to record their occupation as “terrorist”.

    If we want to fight terrorism we should not marginalise the disaffected with labels (real or perceived), but work to re-engage them in society and to make our world more inclusive. The threat of terrorism is the wrong reason to consider ID cards.

    I recognise the issues around “know your customer”, recently having had to get a passport renewal in order to prove who I am to the same firm of solicitors I’ve used since 1995, in order to sell a property I only bought through them five years ago (they still have the files). Also having failed a year ago to help my M-I-L open a 123 bank account (for the avoidance of doubt, my mother in law is not a terrorist). I don’t think ID cards are the right answer, whereas going to the source and fixing the misguided & ineffectual “know your customer” rules might well be.

    Incidentally I recently heard that to sign up for a share dealing ISA nowadays you have to answer 6 questions to prove you know what you’re doing. By comparison, the deliverance machine (a euthanasia device) only asks you 3 questions before it literally kills you. Maybe its not just “know your customer” but regulations across the board that are becoming too over the top.

    Thanks for the post, a great read as always.



    1. To be honest I’m more afraid of the government and their ID cards if certain things go wrong, I’m ok with taking my chances with terrorism. Heck, I’m more afraid of cars than of terrorists. Glad to hear your MIL isn’t one, though 😉

      The Guardian had an interesting article on the life-cycle and experience of terrorists. I found the thesis of understanding the psychology more convincing than the circling the wagons tendency of the Muslim ban. Britain coped with more terrorist acts in the 1970s than it does now, and a way forward was found.


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