Thirty quid for a ten year card that allows you to travel around Europe, not much really, is it?
Yesterday, Charles Clarke announced that the cards will only hold the same information as a passport and that primary legislation would be needed to change this.
The bill specifies that only name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality and immigration status can be recorded on the ID database. When you think of all the records our telecoms/mobile companies, supermarkets, banks, credit card companies and ISPs hold, its a joke to suggest this is intrusive.
Further to this, everyone will have access to their own entry on the database and even information of who has been using it to verify their identity.
Fiona Mactaggert MP was a former head of Liberty and a vehement opponent, but she now sees the benefits of ID cards and argues that progression in biometrics technology have made them inevitable and worthwhile. She also categorically states that; "There will be no new powers for the police to demand ID cards". This seems to address most of the opponents concerns.
What about the cost? Well a lot of the expense of upgrading passports to bio-metric technology is going to have to happen anyway to comply with US standards being introduced. Some costs might actually be recouped by savings in other departments by making an ID card standard for NHS and benefit access.
So will it make a difference to crime, immigration, identity theft etc? (Clarke has already admitted it won't make much, if any, difference to terrorism).
Well most countries in Europe have ID cards and they wonder how we cope without them. It is just the natural progression of a responsible society that we do have them.
I would actually go much further than the government and DNA test every baby at birth. I can hear the screams of outrage at this suggestion, but think what this would mean. Thousands of rapists caught at the first offence, more victims coming forward with a confidence they will get justice. The deterrent effect would be massive. This alone would make the process worthwhile without all the other benefits in crime reduction. This of course is just my own suggestion, nobody in the government would dare propose anything this controversial.
While it is good that plenty of criticism of the ID card scheme is forthcoming and that the legislation is carefully made (it can still be messed up), a lot of opponents are just not thinking this through properly, but acting on an instinctive mistrust of this government driven by the media.
It's time we realised, like the 11 countries out of 15 in the EU that have ID cards, that the benefits outweigh the costs. I'm sure I'm not going to very popular with a lot of you out there for posting this, but I'll give more details on this when I get them together.