We will introduce ID cards, including biometric data like fingerprints, backed up by a national register and rolling out initially on a voluntary basis as people renew their passports.The ID card bill is not law yet. One aspect can still be usefully opposed - the non-voluntary nature of the government's proposal. The Lords wanted to change this clause:
- Labour Party manifesto 2005
Where an individual applies for a designated document he must either apply to be entered in the National ID Register or, if he is already entered, confirm and correct the contents of his entry.The Lords amended this to read:
Where an individual applies for a designated document he may, if he chooses either apply to be entered in the National ID Register or, if he is already entered, confirm and correct the contents of his entry.Designated document most significantly refers to a passport. In short, the government wants to make it compulsory to register on the NIR when you apply for a passport. The Lords, quite rightly, opposed this move. Last week the government successfully whipped their MPs into reinstating the compulsory clause.
My MP, Anne Begg, is a loyal Labour authoritarian. I have written to her concerning ID cards and I'm afraid all I got back was a fob off about the need for a "gold standard" identity system. Somewhere in my archive is my disgust at being sent a rebranding marketing exercise which avoided any of the issues I raised. "Gold standard"? That's OK for selling coffee but not a useful defence of the national identity register. So, I'm afraid I see no useful purpose in writing to Anne again about this matter. (Anne, by the way, is highly likely to qualify as a target for a liberal tactical voting strategy at the next election - the constituency is a fairly tight Lab/Lib Dem marginal and Anne definitely qualifies as illiberal.)
Something can be done though. Via MatGB, here's a useful link to help with writing to a peer about this clause. The bill goes back to the Lords on 6th March where, it is to be hoped, they will once again insist on re-inserting the voluntary clause. The government cannot honestly say that the Lords are opposing a manifesto commitment (not that this is likely to stop them trying of course). In actual fact, it is very much the other way round. The Lords amendment reflects the manifesto in a way that the government's proposal does not.
So, I've written to fellow Aberdonians Lord Sutherland of Houndwood and Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld. Courage, my Lords, courage.
Tags: News, Politics, ID Cards, Civil Liberty