Feeds

Blunkett ready to force through compulsory ID for UK

National security, the 'last refuge of a scoundrel' de nos jours...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Leaked cabinet letters reveal that British Home Secretary David Blunkett is readying the terror card to accelerate the introduction of a compulsory ID system. Blunkett secured cabinet agreement for enabling legislation last autumn, but at the price of making the scheme voluntary for the moment, with the final decision on compulsion being reserved until "later this decade."

Just days after this decision was announced, however, Blunkett stood before Parliament describing a scheme whose timescale and inevitability looked strangely unchanged. Faced with Blunkett's absolute determination to ramrod a scheme through, backed by Prime minister Blair's support, the Cabinet opponents seem to amount to little more than a clutch of powerless bleaters.

The latest leak, to yesterday's Sunday Times, is more of the same. Cabinet members Jack Straw, Alistair Darling, Paul Boateng and Pat Hewitt have written to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott protesting that draft legislation on ID cards to be published before Easter will allow the scheme to be made compulsory on a simple vote of Parliament. The objectors had apparently left the previous Cabinet wrangles with the view that there would be further discussion, and probably a further bill, before compulsory ID was introduced. But the current draft, which Cabinet members have been given early sight of, would appear to be the compulsory ID card legislation already, with an on-switch for flipping as soon as Blunkett thinks he can get away with it.

According to foreign secretary Jack Straw's letter (quoted in The Guardian, "I do not have the minutes of our discussions to hand, but my recollection is the same as Patricia [Hewitt]'s ... a bill of this kind would be seen to be focused on the introduction of a compulsory ID scheme."

Well indeed. But Blunkett's intentions were made abundantly clear last November. He (and indeed Tony Blair) see compulsory ID as inevitable, and he has put together legislation based on this premise, and will no doubt insist if questioned that the draft is fully in line with the Cabinet's views. Then on the next major terrorist atrocity, an outraged Parliament will make the cards compulsory, after the level of balanced debate it customarily deploys in such circumstances (i.e., none).

Blunkett is unshakably convinced that ID cards will effectively combat terror, crime and illegal immigration, and is equally unshakably convinced that he is the voice of the people on this. On the second he's probably right, but on the first he's utterly wrong. It will however likely take another Great British Government IT Disaster to prove this to the people, and David will be gone from the Home Office (please Lord, out rather than up) long before that one works through the system. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.