Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/28/blunkett_id_card/

Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund

Can we sue him for our £257m?

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Government, 28th May 2010 11:02 GMT

David Blunkett this morning claimed he may sue the government for a refund on his £30 ID card, which new laws will render worthless by the end of summer.

The former Home Secretary and political originator of the ID cards scheme went on Today this morning to explain why he was right to introduce the scheme and the ConDem coalition is wrong to scrap it.

Blunkett's cheerleading for ID cards led to the Labour government spending £257m on the scheme for nothing.

He criticised the new government for scrapping the scheme, warning "it won't change anything for anyone out there". Blunkett also pointed to the relatively small saving - £86m over four years - that will be made. However, he appears most annoyed about his personal loss of thirty quid.

"I've got a card, it's very useful," Blunkett said.

"I've used it already in travel in Europe. I don't believe anybody's surveilled anything that they didn't already know about me."

He continued: "Unfortunately nobody's going to get their money back - I'm thinking of suing them but it might cost me more than £30."

Blunkett may have been joking, having developed something related to a sense of humour in the last few years on the Labour backbenches. He was serious and defiant however when challenged on his statements as Home Secretary that ID cards would prevent terrorism.

He insisted the main purpose of the scheme had always been to control access to public services. "I wanted an 'entitlement card'," he said.

Nevertheless, he rejected the position now taken by Alan Johnson, the final Labour Home Secretary, that claims that ID cards were a counter-terrorism measure were a mistake. Instead he offered a more nuanced version of history.

"It was a mistake to allow the debate to get to the point where people thought that was the prime objective," Blunkett said.

Demonstrating impressive predictive powers, early in the interview, while reminiscing about the ID cards debate, he had noted, "exaggeration, hyperbole and self-deception are the hallmarks of all of us at one time in politics". ®

Bootnote

On the question of Blunkett's missing thirty quid, we at El Reg would respectfully suggest the many, many thousands of pounds he has made as an advisor to ID card vendors since leaving the Home Office ought to be compensation enough.