When it eventually happens, you'll read here that we told you so
The Government has once again denied that there are any plans to re-introduce slavery in Britain after the next general election, and has stated categorically that if there were any such plans, they would certainly not be carried out on a racist basis.
"The British people have had a natural moral loathing for slavery ever since it stopped being profitable," said the Home Secretary at a press conference this morning. "In our estimation, that situation appears unlikely to change in the foreseeable future except in the event of unforeseen circumstances which may have a metamorphosing effect on the situation."
Child labour and forced unpaid labour, as opposed to slavery, are common in parts of the world which have not had the benefit of a Protestant upbringing, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and Liverpool. But such systems would be unlikely to work in this country as Britain does not receive as much American aid as some other societies, the Home Secretary claimed.
"It would be very difficult to introduce an efficient system which was also cost-effective," he said. Plans had been drawn up for implanting laser-scanned bar codes under the skin of everyone resident in the UK at birth, but the expense of this system compared with ordinary ID cards had caused the scheme to be shelved.
Another possibility would be to introduce a "flexible-format" ID card which could be modified according to changes in its carrier's social status. However, since all efforts so far have been directed to making the ID card system as inflexible as possible, in order to limit freedom of action for potential terrorists, the introduction of such a card would also be prohibitively expensive.
The leader of the opposition, Boris Johnson, condemned what he called the Government's "timidity" in adopting modifications to the ID card scheme in the interests of society at large. Asked whether the reintroduction of slavery would be part of the upcoming Conservative manifesto, Our Gallant Past, Mr Johnson said that party and country would have to move with the times.