Tuesday 28 April 2009

It's all over for ID cards

Today's Independent front-page reported that Cabinet "rebels" want the government to drop the ID cards project given spending pressures.

But I can not see that they will be 'rebels' for long since.

As was noted here yesterday, this is fast becoming a statement of the blinking obvious. And that has been confirmed with a surely decisive blow today being struck by David Blunkett, who says that the government could drop the ID card element and mandate biometric passports instead.

That is surely a significant move, though many will also want to debate the details of a new policy, since the policy debate has often been as much about the biometric database as the ID card itself.

Blunkett's diaries report how he was apocalyptic in the summer of 2005 about Tony McNulty's attempts to recalibrate the government's argument about ID cards at a Fabian event, which led to headlines like 'ID cards won't fix anything, says Minister for ID cards'. Blunkett was on holiday but threatening to return and tour the studios unless the pro-ID cards policy was put back on track.

The official line today remains that the government's position has not changed.

But it surely will.

It would probably be as well to get on with it.

The Independent story also reports that Trident remains on track in Cabinet, not least because there are concerns over the impact on jobs. Of course, the primary argument for Trident renewal can not be as a Keynesian economic stimulus and job creation scheme. You could get a lot more jobs for £20 billion.


Calix said...

There are some good things that come out of not having money.

ID cards and trident missles will hopefully go, and so have Titan prisons!

Sparrow said...

Doesn't Blunkett have one of those side jobs as a consultant for a company which will benefit from ID cards or biometric Passports being implemented ?

In fact here is that story

I suspect his comments are more along the lines of making sure something gets implemented, and his "employers" benefit, rather than the obvious solution which is that neither ID cars nor bio passports are secure or required.

Don't understand the last point ? Think how valuable or trustworthy either cars or passports containing bio information will be WHEN (not if) someone works out how to crack the security and duplicate them. Then they become a path for ID theft and not ID verification.

It seems he is not too much above the idea of being paid for influence like those noble Lords.

Anonymous said...


Its jobs in marginal constituencies that will interest labour

Paul said...

Blunkett's proposals are a cosmetic change - nothing more. The vast and enormously intrusive databases on citizens' everyday lives will still be there. The kind of 'biometric passports' he wants will be ID cards literally in all but name.