Monday, May 30, 2005

What They Are Not Telling You About The National Identity Card

I was interviewed in the original market research survey for the national identity card scheme last year.

The card will be used in place of a passport for european travel so most people will not have a passport in future. Everyone will need to be interviewed face to face for an ID card at a passport office.

The pricing options I was shown were like:
"If you only had to travel 30 miles for the interview would you be willing to pay more?"
In some cases the amount was as high as £200 to have a shorter journey.

One option is to close the Glasgow passport office and have all Scottish people go to a new super office in Newcastle. Its a bit like the descendants of David going to Bethlehem to be taxed. You can imagine all the pensioners from Lewis heading to Newcastle to get their ID cards. Even Glasgow is a non starter. It is just too far away for a lot of people.

Another thing that came out in the survey was that they intended to put the price of passports up substantially to encourage people to use the ID card instead. Most people would then lose the right to just hop on a plane and get out of Europe. I am not normally into conspiracy theories, but one of the main by products of the ID card scheme will be to reduce the mobility of the population. There are still many places you can go without a visa from the UK (Canada, US, Iceland possibly more) and its nice to know I can go there tommorrow if I wanted to.

The government have been very clever by getting people involved in a diffuse argument about civil liberties, while the civil libertarians have ignored the real issue which is the restriction of travel which the ID card scheme will bring in.

Oh, and if an ID card scheme is such a sure way to stop terrorism how come they don't have ID cards in the USA?