Embargo 22:00 29th November 2009
ID cards finally come to Manchester on Monday, November 30th, just as the propaganda circus surrounding the massive bureaucratic gravy-train has lost all touch with reality, according to critics.
The Home Office proudly announces that residents of Greater Manchester will be able to apply for a National Identity Card from Monday 30th November. It is quieter about the fact that this also means registering — for life — on the National Identity Register. But very few applicants are expected, in any case. Just 2,000 Mancunians have ‘expressed an interest’ via the government’s ID card website, less than a tenth of one percent of the city’s population . An informal poll by the Manchester Evening News website during a webchat with Meg Hillier, Minister for Identity, showed 96% of readers had no intention of applying .
The government’s latest selling wheeze is that the card will be a ‘convenient’ proof of age for nightclubs and bars, and a cheap European travel document. This despite the fact that an ID registration costing £30 is three times more than any of the officially-endorsed ‘PASS’ cards , involves being fingerprinted, and comes with a lifetime of compliance, fees, and penalties .
Home Office claims that the card is a ‘cheaper’ alternative passport are also odd, since only if you have a current full passport (£77.50) are you currently allowed to register for an ID card. The combined cost is already over £100. The Home Office now absorbs the cost of fingerprinting, but eventually a further £25 to £30 a time will be passed on to the consumer .
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator, said:
This is a Whitehall farce: a completely crazy, unreal hustle. The technocrats are racing to build a database empire and stop the scheme being scrapped.
The ID card con itself has become ludicrous: Put £30 down now. Get a piece of plastic with your picture on it… and a dalek bonus — YOU WILL COMPLY — for ever. Don’t miss out!
Notes for editors:
- The Government has a special DirectGov site designed to stimulate applications http://idsmart.direct.gov.uk/index.html You have to go to different page, http://idsmart.direct.gov.uk/about-the-card.html and scroll right to the bottom before you learn: ‘Please note that you are required by law to keep IPS informed of any changes to your personal information. The guidance notes which accompany the form explain how to do this. If you deliberately choose not to let IPS know that your details have changed, you may have to pay a civil penalty of up to £1,000. Once you update your details, the penalty may be waived.’
- Figure from IPS Chief Executive James Hall, See, for example ‘Only 2,000 volunteer for ID card’ Manchester Evening News, 16 October 2009 http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1176148_only_2000_volunteer_for_id_card
Population of Greater Manchester approximately 2.5 million — http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/facts.html — 2,000/2,500,000 x 100 = 0.08%
- Manchester Evening News, 23 November 2009
- ID cards ‘good for going to bars’ – BBC, 16 November 2009
Claims for benefits to the public have shifted somewhat over the years. Eg. ‘Blunkett: ID cards about removing fear’ Guardian, 29 November 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/nov/29/idcards.immigrationpolicy
- See http://www.pass-scheme.org.uk/
‘The Government endorses and supports the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) and recommends that all retailers and the enforcement community do the same. PASS gives young people an easy, economical way to prove their age, when they need to, by providing retailers and enforcers with a single, recognisable logo they can trust.’ – The National Identity Card, issued in small numbers for the forseeable future, undermines that mission of clarity.
- There are currently nine sets of regulations under the Identity Cards Act 2006, well over 100 pages, see: ‘Statutory instruments for the Identity Cards Act 2006′
Registration is for life, but its consequences are not fixed. Charges,
penalties, what information is held, and what can be done with it, may all be altered by ministerial order.
- See, ‘Chemists and post offices to take fingerprints as part of
national ID scheme.’ Daily Telegraph, 6 May 2009
- NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.