Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The One That Is Delighted. . .

But still they can't do right without doing wrong, can they?

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has dropped plans to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports.

Excellent. Quite why they were picked on to be guinea pigs is beyond me anyway.

But Mr Johnson said the ID card scheme was still very much alive - despite Tory and Lib Dem calls to scrap it.

He said the national roll-out of a voluntary scheme was being speeded-up - with London to get them a year early in 2010 and over-75s to get free cards.

As a result of Mr Johnson's announcement, foreign nationals living and working in the UK will be the only group of people who will have to have the cards, with 50,000 already having been issued.

Many calls of fudge etc, etc from the others.

And I agree with them, to a point. What is clear is that a compulsory national ID card scheme is dead in the water. Excellent. However you can bet your bottom dollar that the biometrics will be introduced for passports.

We may already have 'biometric' passports, but in effect that is really just an RF chip containing an encrypted copy of your passport photo. When read, this chip will allow the reader to compare the photo on the page with the photo on the chip. This makes it very difficult for some herbert to nick your passport and slap his mugshot in where your's used to be. In my book, a good thing.

When those chips are then used to store, or link to a database containing, your DNA, fingerprints, financial information etc, etc, it is a different story, but be assured this technology exists and MPs are obsessed with new technology, it makes them look cutting edge. If there was a device you could attach to police cars that checked everyone it drove past to see if they were wearing matching socks, then you could be sure that wearing odd socks would become an offence for no other reason than the technology was there to facilitate it.

I digress.

The Labour Party could really have built some bridges with this, they could have got a real bounce in their poll ratings and pissed off the Limp Dems and Blue Labour in grand fashion. All Alan Johnson (who comes across as being the most personable and human member of the Cabinet) had to do was call a press conference and say: 'We said we'd listen to you, and we have. You have said you don't want these cards, and we are now dropping them. Get one if you want, but we're not about to make you carry one. We were wrong, we misread the public's opinion and we apologise for doing so.'

The others would have been on the back foot. Cameron would have poked fun at Brown for doing a U-turn at PMQ's tomorrow, and all Brown would have had to have done would have been to have pointed out that he had demonstrated his willingness to listen to the electorate, react accordingly and the opposition thought this was somehow a bad idea.

The right decision, and could have been made with a little more grace.

I feel like I'm congratulating the Government, then realise that that is like congratulating the nutter who has spent the last 5 years saying he's going to firebomb your house, when he turns round and says he's changed his mind.

1 comment:

Call me Infidel said...

As you say the technlogy will still find its way into your passport. Speaking of which the story is that the rfid chip contains the photo from the original passport application. We don't actually know if the chip holds any other data. Maybe there is insufficient capacity but I suspect there is enough there to store a few more details. The ID card fiasco has only been postponed. Besides this comes from a government who pledged in their manifesto that the people would get a referendum on the EU constitution. Can they be trusted on anything?