Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blair Brown and Blunkett don't show for final ID card vote

Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Blunkett (who started the whole shambles in the wake of the September 11th attacks) didn't show up for the final vote in the commons on the ID card system. Mr Blair hasn't got a great record of showing up for parliamentary votes. They get in the way of his busy job of running the country. Never mind. It won't be long until the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill passes into law and then he won't have to bother with parliament at all.

It's rather a shame that House of Lords, which had been engaging in such a good rearguard action against the crazy scheme, should in the end 'compromise' on a technical rather than substantive question of compulsion. People applying for a passport can opt out of having the ID card but cannot opt out of having their details registered in the National Identity Register database. Since it is the database that is at the heart of many of the problems with the scheme, it essentially means that registration on the identity system is compulsory for UK citizens wanting a passport.

"The only advantage to not having an ID Card if you apply for a Passport, between now and 2010, is that the provisions in the Bill which relate to notification of change of name or address details or changes to other data on the Register, only apply to people to whom an ID card has been issued (voluntarily or by compulsion)."

I expect that will be quietly changed through secondary regulations or possibly even blatantly when the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill comes in.

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