25 October 2005


My last post defending ID cards caused quite a stir. Tim Worstall criticised my assertion that most political bloggers were more affluent, middle class and unrepresentative of the general population, a general population who favour ID cards. He criticised it but he didn't deny it was true.

Anoneumouse has no problem sharing his fingerprint biometrics with the whole world. Which just highlights how petty the opponents' argument about biometric privacy is.

Strange Stuff just called me a twat, and that insulting comment seemed to sum up the level of coherence and lack of accuracy (of course!) of the rest of his post.

Pub Philosopher said I am the closest he has found yet to an out and out supporter of ID cards. I admit, I do have a few reservations about how the govt might introduce them (who guards the guardians), so there are more fervant supporters of ID cards than me...though the principle is right and introduced correctly, the price and practicalities are right as well.

Monjo points out that he has been supporting ID cards since May, though he does have some very worrying views on other issues (especially the age of consent).

Although I have rebuffed a lot of the criticisms of ID cards, Paul at Free Speed Nation pointed out that I had disappointed him by promising but not detailing any advantages of ID cards. I hope to put that right below.

The Pedant-General-Ordinary argues via the-register that I am deluded in thinking that the general population is more in favour of ID cards than bloggers. However, this MORI poll from April claims 80% of the public in favour of ID cards compared to about 1% (my estimate from blog searching) of bloggers in favour. Bloggers must be unrepresentative somehow.

Looking at an early Talkpolitics argument against ID cards, it dawned on me that although a lot of people talk about the civil liberties issue, they are in fact only arguing for the liberty to abuse the system. I have yet to see a detailed explanation of 'why' these certain liberties they are arguing for are important. There is just an assumption that once you use the term 'civil liberties', you must be arguing for something good, regardless of the facts. What about the civil liberties of those affected by false identities and the extra tax we all have to pay? Civil liberties are not a one way street, they are not just the civil liberties of the individual, there are civil liberties of the whole community to consider as well, the two are not necessarily the same.

The more this discussion evolves the more I realise how right I am to defend ID cards. I hear a lot about 'erosion of civil liberties' but when I ask people for examples, they talk of surveillance, access to medical, criminal, supermarket, ISP, bank, credit, mobile phone records etc. None of this relates to ID cards. The government could access these records without ID cards if they wanted to (indeed they do), it is a separate issue.

Also no-one seems concerned that all these details are currently in the hands of private companies that just want to sell you things. People say they have a choice on these things. What choice do people really have? Nearly all of us have credit, debit and loyalty cards, mobile phones, use the internet at home, etc. etc. and this gives out more information about us than ID cards ever will. Do I see anybody complaining about this, going on demonstrations? No. And the reason is that they are not actually that bothered about these things.

This 'civil liberties' argument is just a red herring. It is just an argument for the freedom to have a 'false identity', so you can avoid tax, abuse benefits and commit fraud. And NOBODY should have the freedom to do that. ID cards just assist in the fight against this 'freedom' to have a false identity. Other countries have recognised this for years. They have no problem in using the latest technology of biometrics- to make this fight even more secure. To do otherwise is luddite. Did anyone object to photos on driving licences being introduced? No. Because they recognised it would reduce the number of people driving under a false identity, and reduce the danger from unqualified drivers on the road. The ID card is exactly the same argument, just using better technology and applying it to more aspects of life.

Ok, now for some specific facts in favour of ID cards;

1. In the summary of the conclusion of the LSE report that those opposed to ID cards like to cite, it says this;

"The Report concludes that the establishment of a secure national identity system has the potential to create significant, though limited, benefits for society. Secure identity, if implemented in the right way, can reduce identity fraud and promote the development of the e-commerce environment."

This is from a report critical of the government's overall plans. What makes me suspicious of those bloggers opposing ID cards is their incapability of admitting any benefits to an ID card scheme. Ok, criticise the govt's plans, which are still being formulated and will evolve over the initial 5 year voluntary phase of the scheme, but why can't opponents even bring themsleves to admit the 'potential' benefits of the scheme. Is it because to admit this, would undermines their entire objection-on-principal argument?

2. Over 70% of the cost of introducing ID cards will be incurred anyway with the introduction of biometric passports in 2006.

3. Organised crime alone in the UK has been estimated at £20 billion annually. Just a small percentage reduction in this figure would pay for ID cards. It is estimated that 35% of criminals make use of a false identity. Identity based benefit fraud costs an estimated £50 million p.a. It is likely these figures are underestimated rather than overestimated.

4. Over 90 million people enter UK ports each year, without biometrics it is impossible to properly keep track of these people and make sure they abide by their entry conditions.

5. The scheme will only become compulsory if the following conditions are met;

(i) The first phase of voluntary ID cards over 5 years, had already delivered significant coverage of the population.
(ii) Clear acceptance of the principal of a compulsory scheme amongst public opinion.
(iii)Vulnerable groups and those on low incomes are not being disadvantaged.
(iv) The scheme was making a significant impact on identity fraud.
(v) The technology was proven to work.

And even then, only after passing legislation through both Houses of Parliament would ID cards become compulsory.

*Update*, Devils Kitchen has posted a reply to my argument in favour of ID cards. It basically amounts to a load of swearwords calling me everything under the sun, but each to their own style I suppose.

*Update #2* Talkpolitics letter to Lord Holme explains in excellent detail about the importance of the NIR number and of 'zero knowledge systems'. Worth a look.

It is obvious the extensive knowledge he has in this area and I wouldn't question his technical observations about the system, I completely agree with his judgement here. Where I do disagree is over the principle of ID cards. If they can be made to work abroad in the rest of the EU, they can work here. I don't see Germany or Sweden as illiberal countries, quite the opposite.


  1. Neil, you keep getting this stuff wrong. With regards to public support your "MORI poll from April" is from April 2004 (I'll assume that this is simply poor research rather than an attempt to mislead). As the public learned more about the ID card proposals, support has dropped considerably. You might want to check the excellent UK Polling Report when looking for these things.

    Back to the benefits... as far as I can tell, this post, lists the following:

    1) ID cards might reduce fraud using false identities, but only if they're compulsory.

    It just isn't good enough. You've had 5 posts and, rather like the government you support, you've failed to make any sort of argument in favour of this scheme. Even if you were to refute all the arguments against (which you are light years from doing), you still haven't provided even one argument for.

    Lastly, if you can't see the affect on our civil liberties, you're even more in thrall to New Labour than I imagined.

  2. Are you deleting comments you don’t agree with? Or did it simply not go through?

  3. Tim, I've never deleted any comments. It must have not gone through. Sometimes if its a long comment, you are best copying it just in case in crashes for some reason.

    Paul, Sorry about the April poll, genuine mistake. The lastest yougov poll only shows 45% in favour, it has dropped from 80% over the last 2 years. This shows just how effective you lot have been and how complacent the govt have been over selling this. Most people are in favour in principle, the reasons they are suspicious is because they don't believe the govt can implement in practise. I can understand that much.

    It's difficult to come up with actual specifics in favour of ID cards in the UK because it hasn't actually happened yet, but the fact that 21 out of 25 EU countries have ID cards and find them useful must tell us something. Also like I said, ID cards would only have to reduce a small percentage of the £20 billion of organised crime to pay for itself. The LSE report, which is anti-the govt proposals admits that there are 'significant benefits' to be had from ID cards.

    Lastly, you are right, I can't see the threat to our civil liberties. Have German civil liberties been affected? Please explain how ID cards will affect privacy when already far more information is in the hands of the private sector without anyone blinking an eyelid. Unless you believe that the govt has some sort of evil authoritarian aims to control our lives, which I admittedly don't believe, then I can't see the problem. If that makes me New Labour, so be it. ID cards will confirm our identity, thats all. It will be a benefit.

  4. OK, try again.
    1) "If secure". All those with knowledge of databases say it cannot be secure. Even the Microsoft guy in Scotland last week who said it would make identity theft more not less likely.
    2) To put it politely, this is bollocks.We have an international agreement to add a machine readable photo to passports. This is the only "biometric" we need to add and the Australians are doing it for 8 pounds a time (see Chris Lightfoot).

    ALL of the other costs, fingerprints, iris and face scans, the central registers, the huge computer systems etc are to do with the ID Cards, not passports. Just because we are being told that this is part of the passport cost does not make it so. Rather, it is a polite political fiction.
    3)Organised crime is drugs, prostitution, smuggling. ID cards will have no effect on any of this.
    Identity fraud? Can’t see that spending 18 billion to save 50 million a year (which might not happen, see above) as a sensible investment.
    4)90 million through the ports. You are aware that foreigners will not have them? That non-resident Brits will not have them? How does resident natives having a form of ID help with non-residents who don’t?
    5) You think so? You think that after spending 18 billion they’ll stay voluntary?

    You assert that other countries have them. Indeed, many do but no Common Law countries that I know of. Certanly the US does not and for the same reason we do not, it’s not part of the constitutional deal. We the citizenry agree to obey the law and in return the law is framed on the basis of what we may not do. Not, as in places with Roman Law systems, what we may do.

    You might think it one of the oddities of British life that I do not, unless actually arrested and charged, have to prove my identity to the State. I regard it as part of the bedrock of our freedoms. I’m allowed to go my own way, doing my own thing, subject only to Plod being willing to haul me up in front of a Magistrate. As I say, this is part of the constitutional deal, the way the very basics of the system work. Before we change that I’d like someone to explain why we need to....and all the explanations attmepted so far, it won’t be all that expensive, it’ll help cut identity fraud, it’ll help us find terrorists, we need to because ofthe passports, well, all these have turned out not to be true.

    I really do want someone to explain to me why we need to change the most basic part of the Common Law, my freedom to do as I wish within the confines of the criminal law without explaining myself to any passing representative of the State, before we get on to the more minor arguments about cost and efficacy.

  5. Tim, take a look at my Sweden link, they have a compulsory national identity register and ID card. Their people see it as a right, something that enhances their civil liberties not constrains them.

    1. Obviously nothing is perfect, but if it can work in other countries it can work here.

    2. At the moment, yes, but the US has plans to add fingerprints by next year and so on. So we will have to add them soon enough, might as well do it altogether-cheaper.

    3. It won't cost 18 billion, more like 5 billion, most of which we need to spend on passports anyway. There are many benefits and efficiency savings, look at how it has increased efficiency in Sweden.

    4. Anybody planning to stay longer than 3 months will have to have one.

    5. It will have to pass through both parliaments and another general election before it becomes compulsory. The people will decide.

    Have you ever read the Magna Carta, please read it. It is a load of crap. Its about time we stopped tossing around with our pretend common law constitution and actually laid down a written one with proper protection for our rights and local democracy which have been decimated. Also lets have a proper electoral system and get rid of those unelected tossers in the Lords. These are the ways to stop authoritarianism not moaning about ID cards which are only as authoritarian as the govt that adminsters them. Sweden and over 100 other countries have no problems with ID cards. This police state nonsense is just scaremongering. As Shami Chakrabarti says, her European counterparts campaigning on liberty issues see no need to get rid of their ID cards and they ask her what all the fuss is about in the UK. Says it all really.

  6. Do you actually read the things you link to? You are seriously trying to say that the Sewdish system is anything like the one proposed for the UK?

    "The experience of Britain’s Swedish neighbours may hold some lessons here. In Sweden, holding identity cards is not compulsory, although proof of identity is so frequently asked for that one would think that it was. It is practically impossible to conduct normal day-to-day Swedish life without an identity card; an identity document is required even to make a payment with a credit card. There is no national format for the document; a variety of documents, like driver’s licences, passports and ID cards issued by the post and banks are all valid for the purpose.

    However, it is compulsory to belong to the register containing the ID card data. At birth, or when settling in the country, everyone receives a personal identity number (personnummer), which was introduced in the current form in 1947. It is a ten-digit number that remains with the person throughout his or her life. It is composed of the date of birth, written in the form yy/mm/dd, followed by four random digits where the last digit reveals the gender of the bearer. "

    What they have is a multitude of different issuing organisations the only link between them being something like our National Insurance number. The central register only holds that number, not any of the other information.

    You think this is in any way similar or even related to the UK experience?

    I would also point out that I said Common Law countries. Sweden is Roman Law.

    And did you not read what I said about passports and biometrics?

  7. To your point about the fact that private organisations already have much information about us. That is true, but the information is obtained with our consent, and there are limits on those to whom the information may be disclosed, determined by the Data Protection Act. The ID Cards Bill is proposing a scheme which is to be made compulsory, and which allows data-sharing not currently permitted. I know some aspects of the scheme are initially to be voluntary, but you yourself, Mr Harding, speak in terms of the five-year voluntary period not being the end of the matter, so I shall too.

    People get to choose how much information they give out about themselves to other people and organisations. They bear the costs of being too profligate with that information - it's the irresponsible parent who tells all and sundry the name of the school his child attends. The ID Cards scheme will allow the Government to share with you control over who may access information about you, but the costs of abuse of personal information are born by you alone.

    It's just not a good argument to claim that voluntary sharing of information about oneself means that people don't care about being compelled to do the same thing. And unlike most people who make that point, I'll actually back it up:

    You ask "what about the civil liberties of those affected by false identities?" Do you mean "what about the interests of those affected by false identities?". I don't see how anyone's civil liberties are undermined by false identities, as opposed to other interests they might have. I dispute whether there is any such thing as "the civil liberties of the whole community".

    It's good of you to raise the economic question though, as it demands a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme as a whole which the Government refuses to disclose.

    You say seventy percent of the cost is something we were going to spend anyway. This is misleading, as you imply that we need to spend all this money. You're talking about the requirement for biometric passports. There is more than one type of biometric passport, and it is true that a biometric passport will be necessary for certain types of travel. The Government has refused to disaggregate the cost of the biometric passports we need to have for convenient travel, from the cost of the additional biometrics the Government wants to include, and the cost of the database to put it all in (obviously not part of the requirements for convenient travel). So you should really retract what you said about the cost, and say "A proportion, which the Government refuses to disclose, of seventy percent of the cost of the ID cards scheme is money we'd have to spend anyway". Here's the Government refusing to divulge it.

    You don't say how ID cards would help with so-called "identity fraud". I can't see how a biometric ID card would help with, say, Cardholder Not Present fraud. We are not going to equip every PC and phone in the country with a hundred-quid ID card reader just so that people can continue to use Easyjet and any other website which wants a credit card, nor should we prevent people from running tabs in bars, but that's what happens if you require the cardholder to be present during the transaction.

    You may well have a point about immigration control at ports. It may even be something that the LSE's counterproposal does worse than the real ID cards bill. But it's not my area, and personally I'd prefer much weaker immigration controls and rules.

    You keep saying "ID cards work in other countries" or "ID cards are Ok in principle", but at the same time you advocate the Government's scheme or some insufficiently modified version of it. The ID card schemes which are Ok are not ones the Government is prepared to accept (and yes I'll dig up the Hansard reference if you press me on it). If you publicly said "I oppose the ID card schemes the Government is prepared to accept, and advocate this other proposal", that's fine, but playing both hands is at least confusing.

    As to Germany and Sweden, I don't know what counts as liberal for you if you believe they're liberal countries in some sense. You'll doubtless have read my views on Sweden elsewhere on your blog, but Germany liberal? I was thinking "didn't Ralf (now Lord) Dahrendorf emigrate to be in a more liberal country than Germany?" only to find a whole article on the subject: here.

  8. The whole reason I responded to this article as well was to dispute the idea "It is just an argument for the freedom to have a 'false identity', so you can avoid tax, abuse benefits and commit fraud. And NOBODY should have the freedom to do that."

    There are perfectly legitimate reasons for falsifying, concealing or changing your "identity", or even having multiple identities. What's needed here is a cost-benefit analysis. What about all the spies, and battered wives, and protected witnesses and undercover police officers (hell, even undercover benefit fraud investigators)?

    Do you want a world where a woman can't run away from those who are threatening to harm her or take her daughter? If not, do you still want a world where she can't get benefits or some hospital appointments unless her new (name and) address is duly registered against her iris pattern and fingerprints? Oh, she can be brave, take charge, and under her own power walk out of the door, move away and change her name. But she can't change that iris pattern. And that iris is in countless old photographs from the happier days. And all over the country, there are hundreds of thousands of people who can use a photograph to look up where she is living now and what she calls herself. Are they all honest? Are they all above bribery? Will they all stand up against her ex-boyfriend when he threatens them or their children?

    Perhaps her iris pattern could be removed from the National Identity Register. We could give her a card which says to the machines "if there's no iris on the register, just trust that this is the right person", without telling a soul. That's what I'd do. But that's not what the Government is going to do, because everyone's iris must be on the system or it won't be capable of spotting people trying to register twice. Maybe no-one in the Government has ever been in such a vulnerable situation. Or maybe they just don't give a damn.

  9. Tim, what is so special about common law countries? Like I said, read the Magna Carta, its a load of crap. This common law crap doesn't protect us at all. Lets have a proper written constitution that protects our rights and our local democracy, which have been completely eroded.

    ID cards are right in principle (even NO2ID don't object in principle-see other thread) and have been shown to work in practise.

    Sweden's system may be different to the govt's proposals but it contains the element that most opponents here seem to object to and that is the compulsory NIR.

    As I've argued on the other thread, the government's proposals are provisional, they will change significantly depending on what is practical and affordable.

    Obviously it is not in a govt's interests to introduce a scheme that doesn't work and is abused. It won't be compulsory until 2013, so there will be another general election before then, so the govt will have to prove it works otherwise they will be out of office.

    Martin, on the other thread I have answered some of these points. On the question of battered wives etc. I agree with you, special circumstances require special solutions and I think something would obviously be done here. I don't believe the govt wouldn't care about these things, I certainly wouldn't support a scheme that jeopardises people in this situation, and I have every reason to believe that an ID card will not add to their danger.

    You say the following;

    "You keep saying "ID cards work in other countries" or "ID cards are Ok in principle", but at the same time you advocate the Government's scheme or some insufficiently modified version of it."

    Your organisation is called NO2ID, yet you have no objection to ID cards in general, just the govt's s current proposals (which I believe will inevitably change). So if I am being confusing in suporting the govt's general position, you are being equally confusing in the name of your organisation.

    ID cards obviously won't help in card-holder-not-present fraud, but that already is an area where organisations know they need extra safeguards. Cards will help in a million other areas, checking job applicants, opening bank accounts, credit/debit card transactions, benefit fraud, public service abuse, loans etc. etc.

    You say private organisations have our consent to have this information, but how much of a choice to we really have. Its effectively compulsory to have bank accounts, credit/debit cards, mobile phones, internet use, supermarkets loyalty schemes to get discounts. The list goes on. The vast majority don't mind because they trust these organisations. The govt despite what you suggest is far more trustworthy than private companies, who are only motivated by our money.

  10. You don’t seem to have that fine a grasp of history. Magna Carta and The Common Law are not the same thing at all. It’ß Common Law (as a system, supplemented by statutory law) that’s given us, along the way, thing like trial by jury, Habeus Corpus, double jeopardy, the right to silence and so on. It’s also a system of law that outlines what we may not do as opposed to Roman Law which works on the preumption that there must be a law allowing you to do that specific thing.
    Whether you think all of these are a good thing or not is one matter (and the current Government do not as they have abridged all of them) but they are nothing to do with Magna Carta and they are the very bedrock of our system.

    If you want to change all of those things, fine, argue that you wish to, but don’t confuse them with ID Cards.

  11. On photo driving licences - "everyone recognised...etc" is there actually any evidence of reduced risks in the areas you cite since the introduction of photo licences?

  12. You say you think something would be done about the battered wives problem, but you're wrong. The Government refuses to do anything effective. Why not write to your MP and demand to know what action the Government will take if you don't believe me, instead of blithely and falsely asserting that the Government is going to fix the problem? You say you have every reason to believe an ID card won't add to their danger. You don't state the reasons, even though I state reasons to the contrary. You claim that it is "obvious" that something would be done.
    Why is it obvious? You don't say why. Can you just not reconcile yourself with the notion that the Government reckons these women are expendible? Can you not reconcile yourself to the notion that the Government might be acting contrary to its own interests? (It has been known to happen). Or can you just not admit it publicly?

    Your position is inconsistent: you say something should be done about the battered wives problem, and that the Government will change its scheme, but it has already refused to change its scheme in the way necessary to avoid the problem.
    So please stop saying that the scheme will be fixed.

    The notion of objecting to ID cards in principle is largely irrelevant. Who opposed having ID cards during the War? It doesn't mean they're right in principle, either. Biometric identity registers are wrong in principle, though: you shouldn't compel people to divulge information about aspects of themselves that they can't change, while making it potentially necessary for them to change them.

    I thought Sweden had a compulsory NIRN, not a compulsory NIR as you say.

    You don't justify why we "need" to check job applicants. (and I hope you only mean successful applicants). Banks don't need proof of "identity", they need proof of residence and creditworthiness. They want utilities bills to show that you don't move house a lot and that you pay your bills. ID cards won't help them with that. The only reason they ever demand them is because they're forced to by the Government (sometimes illegally). In the case of benefit fraud and the types of debit/credit transactions carried out with both parties physically present, this isn't an argument for compulsory national ID cards and a biometric register, it's an argument for compulsory cards for benefits claimants as Blunkett originally proposed, and an argument for voluntary ID cards for people who are too lazy to check their card statements, assuming an a supplementary argument about why others should bear the cost of their laziness, which argument you don't make.

    And before you go advocating written constitutions, please read Jeremy Waldron's "Law and Disagreement".

  13. Martin, I will do better than write to him, I will ask him in person.

    I've answered the danger question on the other thread. But basically, there is plenty of information already out there if you want to track someone down that would be far more accessible than the NIR will be. The govt are not stupid, they will make the system very safe, as I've explained elsewhere, biometrics can be changed (by altering the type or accuracy of the data). It is not even more expensive to do so.

    It is possible the govt is just in a muddle and acting against its interests. There are examples like this recent smoking ban compromise.

    But, I think on matters of public safety this govt has a very good record.

    It is important you are raising these concerns, keep it up. I'm with you, but there is just no need to bring down the whole ID scheme with it, a scheme that will be very beneficial.

    Tim, you were the one who raised common law as some sort of magic system that protects your freedom. I just pointed out it has protected jack-all, because without a written constitution as safeguard we have a govt on 35% of the vote, doing whatever it chooses.

    ID cards will reduce identity fraud and do lots else besides. See this ,post. for reasons why.

    Anon, I havn't looked for specific evidence for that, but I think you will be in a small minority who believe that photo ID is no more effective than paper ID. I'm sure there is plenty of evidence out there, it is so obvious, I really can't be bothered to find a link for you just now. Try googling it.

  14. Paul does not go far enough.

    I have already taken you to task for using the BBC report of the MORI poll.

    The MORI poll does NOT give 80% support. It gives 80% support on the basis that it is going to happen anyway and assuming that no-one has to pay for the cards. This is NOT the same thing.

    You know that this is the case (because you have already read my detailed post on this topic) but you still insist on using a report that takes this figure completely out of context.

    This is deeply and knowingly disingenuous. I cannot continue to assume that you are lazy. Either you are now choosing to go into denial on this, or you have bad motive.

    Either way you need to drop this use of the MORI poll.

  15. PG,

    "The MORI poll does NOT give 80% support. It gives 80% support on the basis that it is going to happen anyway and assuming that no-one has to pay for the cards. This is NOT the same thing."

    The point you are missing is that if you point out negatives of a scheme and tell them a cost with no benefits outlined, you will reduce the number in favour, but that makes the poll biased.

    Like I've argued, if you ask people what they know about any govt policy, they probably will say 'little or nothing'.

    This is a minor point anyway. Even if the majority were against, I would still think ID cards were a good scheme and would try to persuade people of their merits.

    The congestion charge had a majority against when it was introduced and no-one wanted to pay a penny towards it. But now that people can see the benefits it brings, the majority are in favour.

  16. "The point you are missing is that if you point out negatives of a scheme and tell them a cost with no benefits outlined, you will reduce the number in favour, but that makes the poll biased."

    MORI does neither of these things. It asks (neutrally, unlike the initial support question) for views on both positives and negatives and asks the respondent how much they would be prepared to pay. This is unbiased.

    So your point is irrelevant. The support question IS biased, but the remainder is not.

    What IS biased is presenting the BBC report of the poll, rather than the link to the poll itself so that your readers do not have the context in which the question was asked.

    Whether or not you choose to accept this basic point (that a result from a single question is meaningless outside the rest of the poll and spectacularly useless without the wording of the question itself) is perhaps moot.

    Continuing to use the BBC link rather than the MORI link, however, is clear evidence that you wish to deceive.

  17. PG, I do not 'wish to deceive' at all. I have no axe to grind. I'm just saying what I think and coming up with evidence to support that view. I have got a few minor points incorrect.

    There was no intention to deceive by linking to a BBC story. The story clearly states what the poll was.

    It is not biased to use a secondary source from a reliable organisation.

    If it makes you happy, lets say that the 80% support for ID cards that the MORI poll showed needs to be heavily qualified, but generally the point I was making was that there is large support out there for ID cards.

    Like I've said this is a minor point anyway. Whatever support there is for ID cards, I would still argue it is a good scheme.