ID cards: a diminished announcement
Alan Johnson has finished his review of ID cards and says he is going ahead with them… so it’s ID cards full steam ahead? Not quite.
This was originally meant to be a scheme that would end up in compulsory cards.
There would be votes in Parliament before we got there, 70-80 per cent voluntary take-up of the cards before the government took the plunge, it could all take 10 years… but “compulsory ID cards for all” was the logical, stated destination for something that was proclaimed as a line of defence against terrorism and crime.
Flip forward to today’s announcement and interviews with the Home Secretary and the whole project looks diminished.
Gone are the references to it being a backbone of the war on terror, in come references to proof of age to get you a drink in a bar.
Out goes the idea that one day these cards should be compulsory.
Alan Johnson says this will work best as a voluntary scheme. The Home Secretary sounds like a man who thinks some in government in the past have over-egged the role ID cards play in combating terrorism.
He didn’t name anyone and certainly didn’t mean the Prime Minister… but here is a speech Gordon Brown made just before coming into No. 10 where the link between ID and terrorism is strongly made.