Johnson shuffle returns ID cards to the table
The fate of the UK's national ID card project is looking increasingly doubtful, although new Home Secretary Alan Johnson is unwilling to plunge the knife. Not yet.
Johnson has begun a review of the multi-billion pound scheme and wants to look at it from "first principles".
The new Home Secretary is apparently more open-minded on the scheme than his predecessor Jacqui Smith and wants to see the evidence. Spin doctors told the Sunday Times: "Alan is more sympathetic to the civil liberties arguments than previous home secretaries."
He will make his decision before the end of the summer.
But by the time Johnson's aides got round to briefing The Guardian yesterday, the boss was more in favour of the cards. Or rather he's pressing ahead with the project, but doesn't intend to make carrying the cards compulsory.
From autumn this year, the trial of ID cards at Manchester and City of London airports will begin - new airside staff will have to apply for, and carry, an ID card.
The scheme could be a victim, along with privatisation of the Post Office, of Britain's increasingly battered finances and weakened political leadership.
Estimates of the cost of introduction of ID cards vary widely - the Sunday Times reckons it will cost £6bn, which may be as accurate as any.
The fate of ID cards will likely be settled in the run up to the next election - the Tories have promised to scrap them, which they think will save the country £2bn. ®
***"The new Home Secretary is apparently more open-minded on the scheme than his predecessor Jacqui Smith"***
You know what will happen. Johnson will drop hint after hint that the NIR is "doubtful", right up until (God forbid) Labour win the next General Election. Then he will suddenly realise they are not only a great idea but should be compulsory to boot.
You can also expect similar treatment with regards to the other items in the Government's CLAP (Civil Liberties Abolition Project) plans in the hope that enough people swallow it and vote Labour next year.
"So they are NOT compulsory, but you DO have to carry one. Is this some new form of english?"
"So you think that there's no benefit in knowing for sure who the f**k is able to access aircraft and baggage do you?"
That's managed by airport security already quite succesfully - why have another mostly useless piece of expensive burocracy in the way?
"but the principle that you should be able to prove who you say you are is sound."
I can prove it when required for banking, health care, new job, however there is no need to be able to do so at all points in time, it makes harrasment significantly easier for a start - and there's already a problem with that from our establishment.
"I guess they know for certain that Karl Johan has a car and no insurance, "
They already know that here. As such another none issue.
"Only our UK passport is good enough in most countries which means you look like an idiot if you have to pull out a travel doc just to show who you are."
I think you'll find that's the same for almost all nations, the only accepted document is a passport (with required visa.) I'm guessing you don't travel much. There's the EU card, but that's about it and it's only valid in the EU, and I think you can get one of those if you really want.