I've changed my mind. I now think the government's ID proposals are unworkable. You were right, I was wrong. This blog is no longer in favour of the government's scheme, we are back to there being no blogs in favour that I can find.
I'm sure some of you will be laughing at me for my climbdown and the length of time it has taken for me to change my mind. Fair enough, what can I say, the weight of your argument has finally won me over.
The clincher for me has been recently discovering the sheer weight of opposition to the scheme from within the IT industry itself, an industry which has much to gain financially from the government's proposals. The fact that even these people can't support it, swung the pendulum massively against.
Also Chris Lightfoot's (and others) recent point that non-consensual recorded information will be made use of, made me realise that there are just too many holes in the government's scheme for it to be defensible. If recorded biometric information taken from photographs, is stored and used on the NIR without people's consent, then I am against that as well. 'Live' biometric information could be protected but not information from photographs. Sorry everyone who mentioned this, for not understanding this point earlier.
I still think an ID scheme potentially holds massive benefits for the UK. The objections on the ground of privacy are mostly trivial (apart from the point above), and the cost and benefit figures do add up to an overall benefit, but the evidence suggests that biometric technology is just not ready, and without biometrics, the benefits of the scheme are just too limited. I now realise that even a 0.1% failure rate is not good enough for this large a system. For the time being the project should be put on ice.
I think the government are going to have to come to the same conclusion as me, sooner or later. I can't see how there can be anything other than a massive climbdown. Following from this, I also can't see how the new passports can be made to work properly either.
I've not taken this decision lightly. Coupled with the new, badly drafted government proposals on education and health, this has shaken my belief in New Labour's credibility. Obviously the Iraq war decision never helped the situation. Although, I've always been a critic of the government in some of its more visible folly, these latest debacles are more fundamental.
This government has done a hell of a lot to improve this country by introducing a minimum wage and other statutory employment entitlements, by targeting areas of poverty both here and abroad (particularly child poverty), increasing health, education and transport spending and giving independence to the Bank of England.
And the Labour party has a lot to thank Tony Blair for. Winning three successive elections as leader is no mean feat, but I think even amongst Labour MPs themselves, they are beginning to realise that the New Labour project has come off the rails. This has to be remedied quickly.
The Tories are still extremely right wing and the Lib Dems are hinting at a Tory/Lib Dem coalition. This cannot be allowed to happen, it is time for this Labour government to reassess where it is going and win back the public's support.