Friday, January 11, 2008

Yes to ID cards for all non-EU foreign nationals

On Wednesday David Cameron refused to state whether he and his party are in favour of compulsory bio-metric ID cards for all non-EU foreign nationals. My guess is that the whole issue of ID cards will, in the not too distant future, come back to the haunt the Tory leader.

Let's be honest, the Tory party changing its minds is nothing new - particularly under David Cameron's leadership - but to be in favour of ID cards one day and opposed to them the next smacks of ... opportunism.

In the run up to the 2005 election we were told:
Last year we found out that:

What, one wonders, will the next big Tory announcement on ID cards have to say?

Personally I have always had some doubts about ID cards but these have mainly centred on the pragmatic aspects of introducing them and not the actual principle of whether we should have them or not. In my view the case for ID cards is not about liberty but about the modern world. Bio-metrics give us the chance to have secure identity and the bulk of the ID cards' cost will have to be spent on the new biometric passports in any event. It is also the case that a national identity system will have direct benefits in making our borders more secure and countering illegal immigration. ID cards should be made compulsory for all non-EU foreign nationals looking for work, this will enable us, for the first time, to check accurately those coming into our country, their eligibility to work, for free hospital treatment or to claim benefits.

What do you think?


James Schneider said...

You can tell when a policy is a terrible mistake when the reasons for it change. First, ID cards were to combat terrorism, then identity theft, then organised crime, then illegal immigration, now NHS tourism and benefit fraud. I mean really. This is the most pathetic party politically motivated policy, which will bring no benefits, have much cost, and restrict our freedoms.
Mike, your point that the issue has been flip-flopped on by the Tories is the exact reason the bloody ID cards are still a Labour goal. First, with Howard as leader, Blair could look tough on terrorism and (insert hysterically over-exaggerated tabloid fear-mongered subject) without being attacked for being cynical as Howard supported them as Home Sec. Now Brown thinks he can get Cameron to make a fool of himself and look "weak" on the issue.
Brown claims to be a serious man, engaging in the long term problems of the nation. To be seen as that he'll have to stop with these types of short-termist party political games. It really shows the absolute disdain that the upper echelons of the PLP has for the electorate. Free and easy with our money, free and easy with our liberties, and free and easy with their words.

I apologise that turned into a bit of a rant. I just can't understand how those Labour members and MPs of a liberal bent (and we know there are a good deal of them) put up with this behavior from their leaders.

GW said...

First class comment Mr I. What a pity it is that this debate has been hijacked by the kneejerk mentality.

David Boothroyd said...

Remember this?

The Guardian, 14th October 1994:

"MICHAEL Howard, the Home Secretary was heckled yesterday when he indicated that he may favour a voluntary, rather than a compulsory scheme for the introduction of national identity cards.

Mr Howard confirmed that the Government will publish a green paper next spring setting out both voluntary and compulsory options for a national ID card scheme and made clear that no decisions would be taken before then.

But Mr Howard's apparent endorsement of a voluntary scheme angered a substantial section of the party and there were repeated calls from the floor for the immediate introduction of compulsory identity cards."

Colin Campbell said...

I am opposed to it because Australia almost always follows the UK in policy areas like this. Anti terrorism, CCTV, hoon policy.. At least the cricket team bangs their own drum.

The Australia Card, which was proposed a number of year ago was drummed out of town. The reality is that the government has plenty information on us already.

No more thank you.

Phil A said...

James is spot on when he points out the ever changing reasons they use to try to justify these cards. He is bang on with some of his other comments also.

One suspects the real reason New Labour keep changing is it would be counter productive to state their man reasons.

I would also point out that although the Tories may have initially been slightly unsure about what view to take on them. New Labour are full on in favour. If you support the idea you are being a little contradictory to damn Howard.

We have passports, driving licences, credit and bank cards that serve perfectly well. We do not need ID cards. They are yet another threat to our privacy and freedom to walk the streets unmolested by the state.

Any sane person should oppose them if only on the grounds the government will probably loose the detail outright and/or ‘legitimately’ make them available to far too many people, organisations, local authorities, quangos, etc.