Blogs Coffee House

We are all numbers in Labour’s computer now

9 July 2014

In 1975 Margaret Thatcher said in her ‘Free Society’ speech to the Conservative Party Conference:

‘Some Socialists seem to believe that people should be numbers in a state computer. We believe they should be individuals. We are all unequal. No one, thank heavens, is like anyone else, however much the Socialists may pretend otherwise. We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important.’

Mr S could not help but recall these fine words after an email arrived from the Labour Party asking him to enter chunks of personal data into its website, such as his postcode and date of birth, in order to find out his ‘number’.


Since Labour created the NHS 66 years ago, croons the propaganda, it’s delivered 44m babies. The party is asking people to share on social media where on that list of 44 million they stand. Based on the data given, you can work out what ‘number’ you are, such as 15,108,518, or 34,654,232.

Or in other words, your number in the state computer.

While this is a neat little trick to harvest the all important voter data for 2015, it does rather prove the late great Lady’s omen…

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • peter the painter

    Thought being numbered was something not nice, like Auschwitz

  • grutchyngfysch

    Every time I read a quote like that from Mrs Thatcher it reminds me of just how far the modern Conservative party has fallen. The “right to be unequal” – that ought to be the rallying cry of conservatives and Libertarians alike. Instead we get served up the lukewarm puke of the Red Tories.

  • Guest

    I like David Cameron and he has certainly done some good things, but I read that and I wish we had someone like Mrs T back at the helm. She certainly had no equals.

  • JimHHalpert

    Since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967 under a Labour government, our NHS has performed 8,000,000 abortions. Put in your date of conception here to find out what your number is.

    • ACN

      …or might have been?

  • Daidragon

    The right to be unequal. I don’t even know what that means. Equality is the key to happy and prosperous society. Equality under the law, equality of opportunity, gender equality. Thatcher was a loon.

    • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

      The story of “equality” has been pushed for a few years now, as if it’s in order to tell ordinary members of the general public precisely why we are not equal somehow.

      I think we are all equally free – but because of the way capitalism works and/or what we have come to know as new technologies and social change work – our particular freedoms must, it seems, be chopped up and put in boxes ( technically either black or more trickier, a seemingly translucent box with a one-way semi-opaque sort of margin) – ready to be sold. This is because our freedoms are very valuable “issues”.

      It’s just not going to work, I think.

    • Mark

      Equality means people are of equal worth, legally and politically, but not that they are the same. Socialists don’t stop at equality of opportunity; they wish to use the force of the state to make people the same by taking from those who have created wealth and giving to those who have not. Mrs Thatcher believed people were equal in value and dignity, but that those with the talent or luck to succeed should not be held back or penalised by the state. And she was right: societies based on voluntary cooperation have prospered; societies based on the force of the state have corrupted and died, or are in the process of doing so, causing great human misery in the process. Socialists are loons.

      • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

        “Socialists don’t stop at equality of opportunity; they wish to use the force of the state to make people the same by taking from those who have created wealth and giving to those who have not.”

        But the “taking from the wealth creators and giving to others” is also past it’s sell by date , as far as narratives go, surely.

        Who has capacity to ” give and take” anyway? Ordinary members of the general public at large, I think. Everyone else, stuck with a contract, can only pretend to have, in order to take advantage of, the same kind generosity of ordinary people. It’s no service really.

    • Nkaplan

      It means freedom. In a free society, in which people earn and spend their money as they chose (subject to a limited number of clearly defined legal rules), some people will out earn others, while some will save when others spend etc etc. The myriad of differences in the ways in which people chose to live their lives when left free to do so is bound to produce economic inequality – hence freedom and the right to be unequal are one and the same thing.

    • Colonel Mustard

      “The right to be unequal. I don’t even know what that means.”

      Yeah. That’s the point. Whenever you scum get into power you don’t.

    • Cosmo

      And we end up with the lunatic and arbitrary lawyer-fest that is job evaluation.

  • Kitty MLB

    ” Which number baby are you”.. babies are not numbers, they have names and are
    individuals from birth.
    Albert Einstein said : Its important to foster individuality, for only the individual can
    produce new ideas. And I assumed Miliband somewhat lacked ideas.

  • Span Ows

    Labour did’t ‘create the NHS’!

  • Magnolia

    Her Free Society speech should be known by every schoolchild in the land.
    It is our Bill of Rights.

    God bless her.

    • Count Dooku

      Getting chills from watching that. What a woman!

  • HookesLaw

    Did you label it as spam?
    Labour might have better luck pretending to be some Nigerian chief searching for his long lost son and wanting to give him his inheritance.

    ‘Please note your baby number is only our best estimate using …. etc …’ can they get away with this rubbish?
    It is of course preposterous to expect the wider NHS to give babies (born under local administrations) unique numbers. I for one was not born in a hospital anyway.

    • southerner

      “I for one was not born in a hospital anyway.”

      No you were created in a lab using left over parts from a speak-your-weight machine and DNA from Grant Schapps and Dolly the Sheep.

      • HookesLaw

        The irony of your remark is lost on you. But you are a leading member of the cult.

        • Wessex Man

          Hooky babe you are in a cult all of your own, on your own, I bet your name is Billy, Billy no mates.

        • southerner

          Blimey sense of humour bypass you socialists. Thank goodness you don’t drink at my pub. It would empty in 5 minutes.

  • Smithersjones2013

    ” I Am Not A Number. I Am A Free Man”

    Even in the early 60’s they had Labour’s card marked!

    • Chris Morriss

      1967 actually.

  • Inverted Meniscus

    Another step in the direction of the ‘Borg Collective’ : “you will be assimilated, resistance is futile”.

    • Kitty MLB

      Or you may all be placed in a somnambulistic trance, whilst
      Miliband explores his favourite number, obviously
      number 10 !

  • Mark

    ‘We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important.’

    How I wish the Conservatives still had a leader who believed such things – and said them half so well. They might even win an election.

    • HookesLaw

      Don’t talk preposterous rubbish.

      • McClane

        You need to explain in what way Mark’s comment is ‘rubbish’ and to what extent it is ‘preposterous’.

      • dmitri the impostor

        Why rubbish? Mark’s (possibly quaint) suggestion is that an election can be won by making the right kind of speech.

        Your incumbent leader thinks his job begins and ends with making speeches. You evidently think he is going to win the election.

        So your problem is what?

        • Mark

          Yes, but not just by making the right kind of speech – by actually believing in the principle and winning the argument. How quaint is that?! But Mrs Thatcher was right: First win the argument, then win the election. Conservatives have stopped even *having* the argument, and they have therefore, since 1992, failed to win the popular vote in a country of people who are by nature conservative – even in 2010 against the worst and least popular prime minister in living memory. If they wish to regain the position of the National party, then they must argue from first principle, in which they are stronger and more popular than the Marxists.

    • Kitty MLB

      We shall see what happens May, Cameron shall be
      So therefore dear Mark don’t jargogle your brain about it.
      Nothing is insurmountable.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “Our NHS” – Bloody cheek but typical of Labour’s arrogance.

    Hey Ed, I’m Spartacus.

    • Kitty MLB

      And I am Spartacus.

      Can a Lady be Spartacus too or number 2 ? I have the little
      red toga…’ll need to be socialist red.

      • Wessex Man

        You can be anything you want…….at the moment!

        I am Spartacus

      • MrsDBliss

        Well they’re now saying that a man in a dress should be referred to as he so yes, you can be Spartacus.

      • telemachus

        Kitty Ladybird dear your red toga has black dots


        But get to substance

        We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal said your Mrs Thatcher
        This is the source of her evil
        Equality of opportunity is a fundamental right in a free society

        • Nkaplan

          Yes – everyone ought to have the equal opportunity (note that this is not the same as the equal chance) to rise above everybody else

          • telemachus

            Of course
            So why is Gove pursuing his elitist agenda

            • Wessex Man

              go away you slimy socialist zealot liar.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Currently it appears, going by your “comments” on the subject here, that he is doing it to spite you personally…

        • Cosmo

          And I want the right to be called Loretta and to have babies.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here