IGNORING experts, fabricating problems, and gaslighting the public in an attempt to stonewall reality – welcome to another normal week in Tory Britain.  

Let's cast an eye over the landscape. Next month England will go to the polls at local elections and, for the first time, photo ID will be mandatory. Why? Well, who knows? 

The House of Commons research briefing on voter ID describes it as "a solution in search of a problem" and it can no more pithily be put than this. 

Last year, statistics show, there were no proven cases of in-person voter impersonation – or personation, as the crime is called. This finding came from a look at elections in Scotland, England, Wales, to the Northern Ireland assembly, mayoral elections in England and six Commons byelections.

There were seven allegations of personation but no action taken by police due to a lack of evidence. Out of millions of votes cast from 2010 to 2018, there were only two convictions.

Yet the number of people eligible to vote but who do not have existing photo ID is estimated to be anywhere from 925,000 to 3.5 million. That's a heck of a lot of people facing disruption and possible disenfranchisement to fix an issue that doesn't exist. 

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Those without ID can apply for a free so-called voter authority certificate but, as of the start of this week, fewer than two per cent of those eligible to apply had done so. 

It's costly, unnecessary and an odd thing to be focused on at a time when voter priorities are firmly fixed elsewhere. It also risks disproportionately affecting minority groups: some 76% of white Britons hold a driver's licence, compared to 53% of black Britons. 

But then, the barrier presented by voter ID will be largely unlikely to affect people who vote Tory and so the cynic understands why the Conservatives are content to push rapidly ahead with something that multiple experts have said will cause more harm than good.

They've gone from making a fuss about nothing to making a crime out of nothing. 

Rishi Sunak's Government plans to crack down on anti-social behaviour and the most headline-worthy element of the proposals was the stated intention of criminalising the possession of nitrous oxide gas – or "nos", as the kids call it – for recreational use.

You may or may not find yourself out in the town of a weekend evening but, if you do, you will see young people sucking on multicoloured balloons while otherwise minding their own business.

These are nos: quick hits of nitrous oxide gas that give users a buzz that lasts around 20 to 30 seconds. Quick, cheap and, in comparison to other substances – say, alcohol – relatively harmless. 

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Recreational use of nitrous is no new thing. I remember working in coffee shops in the early 2000s and we kept the gas bullets under lock and key because they were prone to being stolen (we used them for whipping large canisters of cream).

During the pandemic nos use became more visible as young people socialised outdoors and the cost of living increase turned them to cheaper thrills.

A canister and a balloon cost less than a fiver. Figures show its use isn't on the rise, it merely became more noticeable as usage moved into public outside spaces. 

The Tories say that nitrous oxide use fuels anti-social behaviour but what evidence there is to support this is not clear. As further justification for criminalising possession of nitrous oxide, the Tories claim the move will cut littering and help the environment.

Local authorities can already issue on-the-spot fines for littering. That's no justification for introducing legislation that will serve no purpose and let's look again at disproportionate effects: the criminal justice system inordinately targets black people. 

It's no stretch of the imagination to think these proposals are going to be used by certain officers in certain forces to target young people and young black people in particular. 

And all of this against the fact that the government referred nitrous oxide to its Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), the experts there advised against criminalisation and the Government is choosing to ignore them.

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The Misuse of Drugs Act is a reserved matter, meaning that any criminalisation of nitrous oxide use would be applicable in Scotland as well.

It would, however, be up to Police Scotland as to how to police the issue.

When I contacted the Scottish Government to ask for a view on it I was told ministers are in agreement with the ACMD and would, rightly, not support criminalisation. 

Asked why voter ID is being introduced despite the lack of evidence for in-person voter fraud, a spokesperson for Rishi Sunak said it was to "guard against the potential for wrongdoing in this area of voter impersonation". 

The crackdown on the public purchase of nitrous oxide is perhaps also to guard against the potential for wrongdoing but "potential" is a flimsy justification in the extreme for something as weighty as legislative changes. 

Will there be time to push these anti-social behaviour proposals through before the next General Election? Almost certainly not. So what is the Tory party trying to do? It's trying to appeal to a certain voter while forgetting that the rest of us are not idiots and can see through sham proposals. 

We can also see through sham excuses. As queues have built up at Dover over the past week, with thousands of people delayed interminably thanks to Britain's Brexit quest to take back control of our borders, Suella Braverman has persistently tried to deny reality. 

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"I don’t think that’s fair to say that this has been an adverse effect of Brexit," she said. Well, Home Secretary, I'm afraid you've got another think coming. 

As we are no longer in the EU, the French border guards must do individual passport checks, causing additional delays at Dover. These regular queues still feel unusual to anyone travelling to Europe on a UK passport but they are now common. Thanks to the school holidays providing an additional volume of traffic, the queues are longer. Simple, undeniable.

Braverman, however, blamed it on "the weather". 

There's no evidence to support one thing but the Tories want to do it anyway. There's no justification for another but the Tories are keen. We can see a third with our own eyes and yet are told we are wrong. 

I'd suggest the most efficient response to crack down on anti-social behaviour would be a General Election.

If the Conservative government truly aims to combat fraud and problematic behaviour it might first like to pick up a mirror.