Looking at the world through mud-coloured glasses

I wonder what made ID cards suddenly so attractive to Michael Howard?

Tories will back ID card Bill
By George Jones and Brendan Carlin
(Filed: 14/12/2004)

The Conservatives will support the Government's national identity card Bill next week despite severe misgivings among members of the shadow cabinet about the legislation.

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, persuaded shadow ministers last night to back the principle of the Bill, one of Labour's flagship measures to tackle crime and terrorism.

Some senior Conservatives, including Oliver Letwin, the shadow chancellor, David Davis, the home affairs spokesman, and Tim Yeo, the transport and environment spokesman, had expressed concerns about the ID card legislation.

There had been pressure within the party for the Conservatives to come out in opposition to identity cards on civil liberties and cost grounds, making it a central point of difference with Labour at a general election.

Party sources said Mr Davis had "fought very hard" against a commitment to support the ID card legislation. But Mr Howard, who as Home Secretary in the last Conservative government supported ID cards, insisted that the party could not afford to be portrayed as weak on crime in the run-up to the election.

He feared it would send out a mixed message if the Tories were arguing for a tougher line on law and order - such as calling for householders to be given greater rights to tackle burglars - but were opposing identity cards.

A statement from Tory headquarters last night said: "The party will give its support in principle at this stage.

"During the course of the Bill, the Conservatives will continue to hold ministers to account over our five tests: the exact purpose of the scheme, whether it will meet those objectives, whether this Home Office is capable of delivering them, the cost-effectiveness of the scheme, and whether proper protection can be provided for privacy."

The Conservatives accused Tony Blair of using ID cards to cover up his "failure" to deliver on his promise to be tough on crime and get a grip on immigration. The ID card legislation would take a decade to come into full effect, and would do nothing to solve the immediate problems of rising crime and uncontrolled immigration. Tory officials said Mr Howard had insisted that the party support the "principle" of the ID cards when it came before the Commons because it could be an important part of the fight against terrorism.

However, they would make clear that they had concerns about the costs, which have been put at up to £6 billion, and the implications for personal privacy. But these objections will be raised during the detailed discussions on the legislation.

Mr Davis's supporters rejected claims that he had threatened to resign over the issue. "They had a debate in the shadow cabinet; David lost," a friend said.

So, how long before we get Michael Howard saying,
'Of course, honest people have nothing to fear from ID cards!'
There's a rather appropriate footnote in Terry Pratchett's 'Men at Arms', it reads thus:
* The axiom 'Honest men have nothing to fear from the police,' is currently under review by the Axioms Appeal Board...
Says it all...
Same racket over here.

Their loud and furious battles with each other are just a Punch-and-Judy show.

They are like the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The only thing they are really struggling about is who gets the box seats.

Otherwise, they are pretty much in agreement: the government shall have total control over everything and everybody.
Hmm. Wonder whether my MP will change his mind again & back ID cards. I hope not... Here's what he said to me:

MP for Bracknell (con) said:
Dear Mr Stoatman

Thank you for your email of the 5th December the contents of which I
with sympathy. I have been reconsidering my position on ID Cards and
would now need a lot of convincing that they are the right way forward.
I will therefore very carefully take into account of all you have to
before reaching a final decision.
However, he does leave it a little open at the end...

There's also a nice little flaw in the bill, which apparently they have refused to take out:
section 12(4):

The things that an individual may be required to do under subsection (3) are--

(a) to attend at a specified place and time; [...]
It was suggested to them to add "reasonable" to that subsection, but they refused, apparently. Therefore, the following is possible...:

You are required to attend the summit of Mt. Snowdon at 0300h tomorrow morning so that we can take your fingerprints; failure to attend will be punished by a civil penalty of £1,000. Do not pass `go'.
Thanks to the good people at White Rose http://whiterose.samizdata.net/


Michael Howard introduced a Green Paper into Parliament about ten years ago when he was Home Secretary which, amongst other things, proposed ID cards. It was defeated at the time, but the idea is one thath e has previously supported.
Finally, the bubbling cauldron of cynical lust for power burned through the firewall and consumed the last tiny speck of principle....
Proof that niether of the two main parties give a fig about personal liberty.
They do not represent the populace - merely the "elite" & their desire to control & contain any attempt to remain an individual.
I shall respectfully decline their offer of an ID card at an "unbeatable price" to myself of at least £30.
If 5% of the population fails to register, then the whole thing becomes an expensive joke.
stoatman said:
Hmm. Wonder whether my MP will change his mind again & back ID cards. I hope not... Here's what he said to me:

MP for Bracknell (con) said:
Dear Mr Stoatman

Thank you for your email of the 5th December
I just e-mailed the cons party via this link

Individual freedom is more important than making the country safer. Without it we are slaves, cyphers, or just objects. We have more than enough laws to deal with safety, immigration and the like. They just aren't implemented effectively.

You just lost my vote - or more correctly Ms Penny Mordaunt has.
(actually she's a bit of a sort so that's a shame)

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