Wacky Jacqui Smith continues to believe her own increasingly insane press releases on ID cards. Yesterday she told the people of Manchester that they might be lucky enough to get their hands on ID cards earlier than the rest of the country.
The Home Office is looking for "beacon areas" to further trial the cards from autumn this year. The tech is already on trial at two airports - despite the protests from Balpa - and foreign residents have been guinea-pigging the cards since late last year.
Wacky Jacqui, with the help of the BBC, claimed in November that "people can't wait for ID cards". Talking about general availability of cards in 2012 she said: "I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don't want to wait that long."
Our Jacqui visited pupils at a school in Wythenshawe, and: "Together they discussed how identity cards will help young people strike out on their own by opening their first bank account, renting their first flat, or perhaps travelling to Europe for the first time." The lovely Home Secretary and the shell-suited scrotes of southern Manchester - a heartwarming image for a Friday morning.
She said the scales were falling from people's eyes as they saw the "real benefits for citizens... That is why we have brought forward our plans and this year will begin offering identity cards on a voluntary basis, giving British nationals the chance to access the benefits of identity cards as soon as possible."
While in Manchester, Smithy also found time to shower a whole £50,000 on Greater Manchester Police so it can continue with its crackdown on gang related crime through Operation Cougar.
Apparently, this consists of "strong enforcement activity" with police "spotters" being deployed on the streets to quickly identify mounting tensions and to bring in additional officers to respond.
Police also "have increased the use of CCTV, built close relationships with local schools and community groups, and used intelligence to identify likely locations for hiding and storing firearms." Gangmembers wanting a change of scene are "are provided with strong support from a range of partners to do so".
While the strategy has been credited with a drop in gang related violence this in your face policing has, unsurprisingly, been described as harassment.
Still, on both fronts, the majority of law abiding Mancunians will no doubt take the attitude that they have nothing to hide, and therefore have nothing to fear whenever they're stopped and asked for papers.®