So. ID cards then.
As you may be aware, the ID card bill is due for a vote in the House of Commons today.
Where do you stand?
Personally, I think ID cards are one of the worst ideas ever. They're similar to letting someone point a gun at your head, because they assure you that they'll never pull the trigger.
Their benefits? Well, proving your identity easily, and making it harder to clone, would make some forms of fraud harder. But in all honesty, the _only_ way that's going to work is if they become compulsory, and issued at birth. And mandatory to carry at all times.
Otherwise, well, the fraudsters'll just not have one, or not have it on them. Let's not be forgetting how you go about _getting_ one in the first place. Fake up a birth certificate, and a couple of other supporting bits of paper, and you too could be Tony Blair. And they'll trust that, because your biometric ID says so too.
It'll make proving your ID easier. This means that going and opening a bank account will be a more straightforward process, where you walk in, wave your card, get approved, and walk out.
But make no mistake, it'll have no impact on people seriously involved in terrorism or organised crime. I mean seriously, you're not going to have too much difficulty fobbing off a police officer asking for your ID card whilst you go plant your bomb.
Look at it this way. You hand over a level of information about you, that's your whole life. This is in the hands of some faceless organisation, which will be set up by the government. People with a 'need to know' will be able to find out everything there is to know about you. A need to know, which might change in scope, or might be released to credit reference agencies, or to corporations, or just corrupt individuals who are looking to exploit you.
Once you've given up this right to privacy, there's no way to take it back again. You're owned. You've got your identity license, and government suits will be able to easily and trivially control your life. And you'll still suffer from terrorism, organised crime and fraud.
That is, of course, leaving aside the cost of ID cards. Around £100-300 per person. Ok, so it might not be up front, but it will, sooner or later, have to be paid for.
These ID cards will cost and control the lawful citizen. Which by definition is hardly a problem area anyway.
Do you really see a need to trust the government with everything you've ever done or owned?