People and Numbers

  • Kevin MantonEmail author


This chapter examines a draft green paper called People and Numbers. This made the case for population registration and the common numbering of files and so clearly indicated the government’s mindset. This paper was never published because privacy became a political issue and the resulting campaign obliged the government to establish the Younger Committee on Privacy. However, this chapter shows how this was set up to be a paper tiger designed to reach decisions that would not threaten government data. It concludes by demonstrating a commonality between Labour and Conservative governments and establishes that the biopolitical thinking that produced People and Numbers was not confined to Labour by analysing the similar plans laid under the Conservatives to standardise, centralise and link data.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations