There has been a lot of renewed speculation in recent days, following the local government elections, about the need for IDs in order to prove ones identity and rights as a voter.

Many years ago, I worked with someone who (initially) refused to wear an identity card at our place of employment, as he felt that it was up to our employer to prove that he was not entitled to work there, rather than the other way round. At the time, I had some sympathy with his view but, with the passage of time and that the world has dramatically changed in terms of terrorism and (although not necessarily related) immigration (for example), we clearly need some mechanism by which we can prove who we are and others can challenge that, if needs be.

It seems that, however small the number of cases are, that there is a degree of fraud in voting either in local or general elections. There are cases of people pretending to be someone else, individuals who are not citizens trying to vote and people voting on behalf of others, often whole families. None of these are acceptable or part of British culture. If they had happened in previous generations there would have been an uproar. There is an argument that if even one vote is ‘illegal’, the whole democratic system is flawed and we should strive hard to ensure that even that is not the case.

I do not, now, subscribe to all the fuss about ‘rights’, as with those rights come responsibilities. As many other democratic nations have IDs and have moved on in their ideologies, it seems that tightening up the democratic system is entirely possible. It also does not seem beyond our imagination to have some form of IT recognition, passwords, optical recognition, fingerprints of whatever to aid in the ‘crusade for perfection’ in the democratic process and balance the rights and responsibilities as well as scrutiny in being part of it.