ID Cards not compulsory?

Hailed by Jackboot Smith as a tool to fight terrorism and illegal immigration – Alan Johnson has indicated that the government had been wrong to portray ID cards as a “panacea” against terrorism. He said that signing up for a card should be a “personal choice”. The government backpedaled on forcing the cards on airline pilots after they threatened industrial action in protest.

The cards will be offered to Mancunians and North Easterners this year and next, for £30, and will be rolled out to the rest of the country in the ensuing years as a precursor to biometric passports, although Johnson insists that they will not be compulsory. But this is hardly the case since failure to keep the authorities updated about change of address and other details, attracts a fine of up to £1,000. This is back-door compulsion.

Johnson’s stance is being seen by some media outlets as a retreat on the government’s ID card policy, but it is merely a postponement. Beset by problems, the government simply can’t afford to implement the scheme, given the Treasury’s budgetary black hole; it is unlikely to become compulsory for another 10 years.

David Davis branded the scheme as being wholly unnecessary and expressed concern at the government holding so much data on the public, particularly with its dire record on data security.

The Tories will scrap the scheme after the general election.


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