Feeds

Axeman Chancellor toes the line on ID cards

Just do it, Darling

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Alistair Darling is making a habit of taking an axe to the projects of his ministerial colleagues in media interviews, if this weekend's press is to be believed.

Last week he forced health secretary Andy Burnham to give an emergency statement in the Commons by waxing confusedly lyrical on the Andrew Marr Show about how the NHS National Programme for IT, or parts of it, or something, wasn't necessary and would be scrapped. It turned out that savings of £600m - less than 5 per cent of the total budget - are planned.

Now the Chancellor has given an interview to the Telegraph. This post-pre-Budget report report, as it were, has again prompted suggestions that a massive government IT programme will be binned.

Selected remarks from the interview were dressed up for the news story, "Alistair Darling signals death of ID cards".

Except he didn't really. He in fact stuck to the current government line that compulsory ID cards are unnecessary, because we'll all have biometric passports anyway.

"Most of the expenditure is on biometric passports which you and I are going to require shortly to get into the US. Do we need to go further than that? Well, probably not."

The interviewer interpreted this as a policy announcement by Darling, perhaps understandable given his newsworthy mutterings over the NPfIT. "He does seem, however, to sound the death knell for ID cards," she wrote.

By the time the story had been copied for Saturday's Times, however, that interpretation had magically teleported from the world of reasonable journalistic speculation and into the mouth of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Times wrote: "Darling went on to say that while his decision was not going against any existing plans, he acknowledged that his intervention would probably sound the death knell for ID cards."

No, he didn't. His comments are easily within the bounds of the non-compulsory U-turn policy shift executed by Home Secretary Alan Johnson in June. There will be no sheepish explanation to the Commons this time. There might be in the Times newsroom.

But, of course, even if Darling had made an announcement on ID cards, these days it would probably be completely academic. The Tories are pledged to scrap the scheme, and the accompanying National Identity Register, if they win the election. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.