Monday, January 16, 2006

Three Cheers for the Peers

The Lords have done the decent thing. Unsurprisingly, the government are refusing to buckle and continue to insist that all opposition to their scheme is not credible in some unspecified manner. With luck, the Lords will have slowed the bill down enough for someone in the Labour Party to come to their senses and realise just what a shambles this'll be if they go ahead.

This has nothing to do with principles. Many people, myself included, have principled objections to the National Identity Register but finding a Labour politician who understands principles isn't easy these days (there are still a few).

New Labour does at least claim to understand pragmatism though. I honestly don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it's political suicide for the party. When the bills start arriving on people's doorsteps, when the scanners refuse to recognise that you exist, when the fines start going out, when you've got to spend your precious time trying to get your details corrected or your fingerprints taken, and when the register is shown to have been seriously compromised for the first time, the political discourse is really going to hit the fan.

Blair used to have a nose for these things. As far as many in the Labour Party were concerned, it was his only redeeming feature; it was this instinct which made him bearable in a party desperate for power. Now that he's lost that instinct, it's only a matter of time before they show the mendacious one the door. (For me, unsurprisingly it'll be too little too late. Any respect I once had for the Labour Party has long since evaporated.) Let's hope they get round to it before this midden becomes law.

Today, the full costs of the National Identity Register, or estimates thereof, are still not being revealed to the public, the Lords, or indeed parliament. Even academics involved in the scheme don't have the necessary information.
In a new report, the LSE sticks by its claims that the scheme would cost between £10bn and £19bn over 10 years if the government followed its original plans.

Simon Davies, one of the academics involved in the scheme, said it was impossible to updates the costs because the government was "changing the goal posts", including making it less secure.

He complained there was a "culture of secrecy".
Laugh or cry? The choice is yours.

Tags: , , ,

No comments: