Johnson the civil libertarian wants to have his voter ID card and eat it | Marina Hyde

The solution to the virtually nonexistent problem of voter fraud just happens to be one that favours the Tories

“If I am ever asked,” Boris Johnson once wrote of ID cards, “on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and am simply ambling along and breathing God’s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded I produce it.”

Righto. Well, in a plot twist worthy of Dial-A-Plot-Twist, the emanation of the state turns out to be Boris Johnson himself. Yes, despite the warnings and objections of civil liberties campaigners and race equality campaigners – indeed, despite in-person voter fraud being effectively nonexistent in the UK – Johnson’s government is pushing ahead with legislation to introduce mandatory voter ID at elections. We know these plans are illiberal because the traditional hero of a Boris Johnson column – namely, Boris Johnson – has already opposed them.

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