I admire Liam Byrne’s effort to position ID cards as a great national institution. Really. Eight-out-of-ten for effort. My position on ID cards is similar in that I agree we should aim to position Britain as a pioneer and an innovator with regard to ID.
Where we disagree is on whether we should be doing it at all. I think Britain could successfully carve out a niche as ‘the country that doesn’t have ID cards’, the country that secures its institutions and keeps its people safe without unwieldy, top-heavy and intrusive ID schemes, the country that builds respect for individual liberty into its governance framework.
The problem here is that it’s very difficult for politicians to justify not doing anything. The government’s growing ID card bureaucracy has its own momentum now. No amount of cogent argument or passionate rebuttal is going to derail ID cards now. The IT Services industry is ramping up to meet the demand, the security lobby has invested millions in its justifications and the politicians are getting their speeches ready for the launch ceremony.
Game over, I guess…