Anti-ID card campaign No2ID has called in the donations offered as part of its 2005 'refuse' pledge. The money, according to general secretary Guy Herbert, will in part be used to "probe" Government statutory instruments brought in to enable the ID scheme.
Calling in the money now also allows No2ID to clear the decks for future campaigns, says Herbert. More than 11,000 people (list here, and possibly also on file at the Home Office) pledged to refuse to register for an ID card and to donate £10 to a legal defence fund. Subsequently the refuseniks have been joined by several high-profile public figures, including Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne and Baroness Shirley Williams of the Lib Dems.
According to Herbert, No2ID doesn't yet have any specific items of legislation in mind for its first challenges, but as the construction of the ID scheme gathers pace it expects the Government to begin tabling measures to implement it. The ID Cards Act is to a great extent framework legislation, or an 'enabling' act which permits ministers to introduce parts of the scheme by tabling statutory instruments.
In theory these are subject to approval by Parliament, but in practice little or no debate takes place, and many of them are barely noticed. "They come before Parliament on a wet Wednesday," says Herbert. "Or they're even tabled over a recess, so that at the end of the recess three men and a dog vote them through" and virtually nobody notices.
It remains to be seen whether No2ID effectively putting them on notice will lead to the Government sharpening up its legislative act. If not, it will assuredly end in tears...
Pledge money for No2ID should be sent to NO2ID, Box 412 LDF, 19/21 Crawford Street, London W1H 1PJ, or by bank transfer to sort code 40-28-15, a/c number 81377965. General donations are no doubt also welcome. ®