Labour's Lie Detectors Make Us All Suspects

Article excerpt

WHEN I heard that John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was install ing

lie detectors in his department, I was filled with dread for our Government.

How can any New Labour minister survive in the presence of a device which establishes whether or not they are telling the truth? Mercifully, and I know you'll be as relieved as I was, it turns out that the new-style lie detectors are only going to be used on benefit claimants. For the politicians, we'll have to stick with the old-fashioned analogue verification technology already in use (John Humphrys).

Joking apart, I really am filled with dread u plus a new but growing feeling, contempt u at our Government's latest brutal demonstration that we are all suspects now. Liedetectors for all (don't imagine it will stop with benefit claimants) are part of a quite fundamental change

Routemaster rollicking in our relationship with the state, summed up best by ID cards. How glad I was to read over the weekend that the Government expects 15 million people to rebel.

We used to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, truthful until proven otherwise. Soon, we'll be presumed to be lying until we can produce a piece of plastic to show we're

who we claim. In a deeply painful irony, our honesty as citizens is being called into question by some of the most blatant and proven liars ever to hold ministerial office.

It's not as if there's even a real problem to be tackled. No one has yet explained what ID cards are for. And as for benefit fraud, it has already fallen by nearly two-thirds, to just [pounds sterling]700 million a year, 0. …