Thursday, April 20, 2006


Hey, it's not like we're paranoid conspiracy theorists or anything, but Michael Eavis stood as a New Labour candidate a few years back, didn't he? So could it be that his enthusiastic call for all festivals to introduce photo ID cards is a subtle way of advancing the sense that it's insane to imagine you can have your entitlements without showing a photo ID amongst young people?

Certainly, when hapless gnome secretary Charles 'lock'em up' Clarke is trying to persuade the nation that it's fun to live under wartime conditions and a permanent injunction to prove who you are, it'll help him to be able to point at Glasto, Bestival, Creamfields and say "people think nothing strange about being stopped at a checkpoint to show their papers on the way to see Primal Scream, so why should anyone object to this scheme?"

The effectiveness of ID cards in their stated aim - stopping terrorism - tends to be oversold. It also seems that the value of the Glasto ID card is overstated in its effectiveness, too:

Michael said: “The main thing is the photograph. They really cannot get passed that one. It hardly costs anything, it’s not expensive at all, but with the photo ID it proves it’s the person on the ticket.”

The ticket ID at Glastonbury was a success, only a handful of people who did not buy tickets from official sources, made it into the festival.

Really? But how do they know? Because if (as was the case) festival-goers found an effective workaround when selling on their tickets, the point here is that the new owners would go in undetected. Everybody at Glastonbury 2005 could have got in using munged ID and touted tickets.

And as with national identity papers, no mention is made of the eroision into liberties - why should you not be able to sell on your ticket for a modest profit if you decide you can't or won't go to an event you've paid £150 for? As well as stopping the gouger, these measures also block legitimate individual sales.

Finally: if their Glastonbury scheme is so brilliant, why haven't Clear Channel rolled it out over their entire festival portfolio?

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