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Minister: ID cards 'another Great British Institution'

What like the Cones Hotline? Or the East India Company?

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Sometimes the Reg likes to think it casts a satirical eye over the day's news. And sometimes government ministers are so out of touch with reality that they do our job for us.

Thank you then to Liam Byrne, the Home Office minister who is a dead ringer for Otto Flick from 'Allo 'Allo, for today's offering.

Speaking at Chatham House Byrne said the gov's beloved ID card scheme will soon be another great British institution: "Like the railways in the 19th century or the national grid last century, the national identity system will soon become part of the fabric of British life."

No mention of our fine Victorian sewers then. And given the state of the railways under this government this metaphor is a hostage to fortune all on its own.

But there's more - Byrne said the identity terror "challenge" was already being met by various private companies.

He said: "Manufacturers are working on fingerprint technology locks that would make stolen phones and MP3 players instantly worthless." We're still not clear which manufacturers he is talking about - if your company is making a fingerprint-activated mobile phone or MP3 player please do get in touch.

Byrne said we should be reassured because: "My party has always been suspicious of growth in unregulated and unaccountable power and the risk of new inequalities."

A statement which is absolutely true provided you ignore the Labour government's concerted attack on our civil liberties including the right to silence, the right of peaceful protest, the right to trial by jury, rights of peaceful assembly and the assumption of innocence.

If you can take any more, Byrne's speech is here.®

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