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:
"Sources within the Conservative Party told the BBC Michael Howard has always been in favour of ID cards, and tried to introduce them when he was Home Secretary."
Last year we found out that:
"The Conservative Party has stated publicly that it is our intention to cancel the ID cards project immediately on our being elected to government."
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?