Thursday, July 2, 2009

ID Cards: the political spin about scrapping them

The recent announcement by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, that the Government would be scrapping plans for compulsory ID cards, was welcome news to just about everyone. And I think most people assumed the Government had seen sense at last and believed that it really was the end of the ID cards scheme. However, people seemed to forget that their personal details would still be stored on the National Identity Register when they obtained or renewed a passport (and almost everyone in Britain has a passport). And today an article in The Guardian by Mr Johnson, reveals the real view of Government: We need identity cards, and soon Identity fraud costs the UK £1.2bn, and untold misery, each year. ID cards are a cheap and effective way of fighting back [Really? How does an ID card fight identity fraud? It's based on a central database and the Government doesn't exactly have a good record with keeping data safe!] and in the article, Mr Johnson declares that "...despite the headlines that would have readers think otherwise, I'm not scrapping identity cards...". So there you have it. The real story is that nothing has changed - apart from saying the cards will be "voluntary" - and personal details will still be stored on a National Identity Register. Edited to add this update: This is an excerpt from PoliticsHome News today (Monday, 6 July, 2009) The Home Secretary has insisted that rather than scrapping ID cards, the government is accelerating the introduction of the scheme, saying it would be "completely ludicrous" to abandon the plans. "We haven't scrapped cards. What we're doing is acclerating their introduction," he said. And please read the comments following the article. I agree with the comment that it is absolute madness for the Labour party to go ahead with this very expensive scheme in the midst of a recession. I also agree with the comment about how this is a spiteful policy by the Labour party to get the ID cards/database in place so that the Conservative Party who are against the scheme, will be forced to waste the money when they get into power and scrap it as they have promised they will do.


  1. I'm sure that you're not surprised at this, I'm certainly not! They'll continue to fudge the issue instead of embracing it wholeheartedly or scrapping it.
    Did you read that there are no card readers in use yet despite cards being issued! Again that is so typical of the bungling bureaucracy!
    Have a good weekend! xx

  2. You're right Flighty - I'm not surprised. It's how they spin everything, especially the whole ID cards/database issue. And it's worth noting that they are very careful to avoid talking about the database. This is because the National Identity Register is at the heart of the whole system. This is what people really need to be worried about - not the cards.

    And yes, I read about no card readers in use yet. As you say, it's typical. And besides the whole civil liberties issue, the expense of all this is disgusting. The government has already committed £20 million to the current project! And Mr Johnson admitted the Government had exaggerated the benefits the cards would have in tackling the threat of terrorism! Really? There's a surprise!

  3. They say that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear from all the government spying but it doesn't seem right somehow, its like living nextdoor to a nosey neighbour. Bob.

  4. Everyone has something to hide but that doesn't mean we are doing anything wrong! It's human nature to seek privacy otherwise why do we have curtains/blinds on our windows? Here's another example: We don't expect people to tell everyone how much money they make or to tell everyone what their bank details are, do we?

    We all have a right to privacy so it's just another line of spin by government to trot out that line. "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear".

    You are so right, Bob to say that all the government spying is like living next door to a nosey neighbour. It is indeed and with all our details on the National Identity Register, it's a very strong (and sinister) neighbour! It's one thing to trust our neighbour but why shoud we trust the government?

  5. If the government has access to all our details, then so will less scrupulous people. Argh! I dont want it!

  6. Join the club, Michelloui!

    The UK has become the "most invasive surveillance state, and the worst at protecting privacy, of any Western democracy", according to a detailed study on data collection.

    Systems including the DNA database, National Identity Register, the children's ContactPoint index and the NHS Detailed Care Record are "fundamentally flawed", as revealed in a report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.