Feeds

ID card backlash: is the poll tax effect kicking in?

Large numbers prepared for demos, even prison

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

UK public support for ID cards is declining, while opposition is hardening, and a surprising number - perhaps five million - would be prepared to take to the streets in opposition, according to a new opinion poll released today. The results, although they still show 61 per cent in support of the scheme, show committed opposition in sufficient numbers for poll tax-style disruption to be a very real possibility.

Since last month's Detica survey, numbers strongly opposed to any kind of ID card have doubled from 6 per cent to 12 per cent. Within the opposition 28 per cent, which would translate as 4.9 million in the population as a whole, say they would participate in demonstrations, 16 per cent (2.8 million) would get involved in "civil disobedience" and 6 per cent (around a million) would be prepared to go to prison rather than register for a card. Talk is of course cheap at this stage, but this is still an indication of seriously vehement opposition just a few weeks after the scheme was unveiled, and even the more favourable (for the Government) Detica poll showed quite clearly that the vast majority of people knew practically nothing of what the scheme entailed. And the more they learn, the less they may like it.

The latest survey was commissioned by Privacy International and conducted by YouGov, and obviously its intentions differ from the Detica survey, so the results are not always directly comparable. But some of the most interesting numbers stem from the differences. YouGov found that in addition to losing numbers, support is weakening, with people less sure, and rather lower numbers prepared to go for a compulsory scheme (which, ultimately, it will be). And some of the key components are decisively rejected by the public as a whole, which is what you might call a bit of a problem. Most (47 per cent versus 41 per cent) don't want to have to tell the government when they change their address, and 24 per cent strongly oppose revealing it in the first place (So perhaps they'd care to revolt against against passports and driving licences? But never mind...).

Again, 45 per cent oppose the requirement to inform the government when a card is lost, stolen or damaged (44 per cent in favour) and 34 per cent are against having fines or imprisonment as penalties for failure to comply.

It is of course utterly illogical for people to be in favour of the scheme while opposing aspects of it whose removal would render it (as currently envisaged) unworkable. But The Detica poll also showed that support of the scheme was based on some pretty staggering misconceptions, so perhaps what we have here is a picture of a nation on its way to an education - as they join the dots up, it's surely rather more likely that they'll begin to reject the scheme as a whole, rather than, say, concluding it's OK for the government to keep tabs on your address after all.

And among the entrenched opposition there's something that really is very surprising. Across the board Conservative voters are markedly more likely to oppose the scheme, go to demos, participate in civil disobedience and even go to prison, than Labour voters. If he plays his card right, former "Mr Poll Tax" Michael Howard, now Conservative leader of the opposition, could yet have his revenge. And indeed the image of him being hauled into the van by the Met is quite treasurable... ®

Related links:

Mistaken ID public meeting, London, 19th May
Blunkett risks ID card battle with EU
Everything you never wanted to know about the UK ID card
UK public wants ID cards, and thinks we'll screw up the IT
Privacy International
YouGov poll analysis

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.