David Blunkett wants us all to pay £39 a pop to the government so that it can afford to spy on us, a leaked letter on ID card proposals reveals.
In the letter to fellow cabinet ministers, the Home Minister nails his authoritarian colours to the mast by rejecting voluntary "entitlement cards" in favour of compulsory ID cards. This doesn't mean that you have to carry it around with you all the time, but it does mean that you will have to present your card to police within a few days of being ordered so to do.
The ID card will contain biometric data, and all the information on the card will be held on a central governnment database, according to The Sunday Times which obtained a copy of Blunkett's missive,
The letter, dated June 25, shows that Blunkett is set on foisting ID cards upon the UK. He forecasts opposition from a "well-organised minority who will campaign vocally against the scheme"; in other words a safely ignored minority.
Blunkett rejects the arguments of the ID card antis so:
"The identity card I am proposing would not be used to store large amounts of personal data to which government departments or agencies would have unfettered access.
"There will be strict limits on what is held on the card and what information different agencies can access via the card and the central database. Privacy will be protected, as it is in other advanced democracies that have identity cards."
So that's alright, then.
In his letter, Blunkett says that Britain is "out of kilter" with Europe over ID cards. This is a curious argument. Perhaps he was thinking about the euro? It is of no concern or relevance to, say, the people of Belgium whether or not UK subjects have ID cards.
Finally, the ID card could turn into a nice little money earner. In the last government leak over ID cards in May, the most expensive option trailed was a £25 tax on passports and driving licences to fund ID cards. Now it is a £39 hit for most people between 16 and 75. People on low incomes and those who are retired but under 75 will pay £5 for their ID cards.
The Government will have to find legislative time to introduce ID cards but with Blunkett's backing, this is surely a done deal. It would require wholesale rebellion from Labour backbenchers to quash any bill in the commons. But these days, Labour MPs seem to get more exercised about fox hunting than civil rights, so we think this is an unlikely prospect.
You wanna join a well-organised minority? Check out Privacy International, the most vocal and articulate opponent of ID cards. ®
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