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.