William Heath is frustrated that various government ministers are singing from the same hymn sheet when asked about the detailed costing of the ID cards scheme. The message is we can't tell you that because the information is commercially sensitive and putting it in the public domain "may prejudice the procurement process" and interfere with the government's ability to get value for money.
William has his own interpretation of these responses:
"This information is politically sensitive and to release it would be prejudicial to the acceptability of the ID card system. It's already criticised as unfeasible by IT experts at IEEE, LSE, and global identity specialists in suppliers such as Qinetiq, Sun, IBM and Microsoft. The fact is it will cost the department a lot of money - enough for me to play these games on the pretext of commercial sensitivity - but I don't want to give our estimate of how much. Because if you took our estimate and added it to other departments' estimates plus the core £6bn cost already admitted by the Home Office, well, you'd be talking serious money and people might start to realise this isn't such a smart policy"
I like it.