A few weeks ago I wrote (link here) about the proposed launch of a trial of the ID cards scheme in Manchester. Today the Press Association carried the news (link here) that the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, has announced that the trial scheme “which would have required some airport staff and pilots to carry the controversial cards” has been abandoned.
Mr Johnson said: “Holding an identity card should be a personal choice for British citizens – just as it is now to obtain a passport. Accordingly I want the introduction of identity cards for all British citizens to be voluntary and I have therefore decided that identity cards issued to airside workers, planned initially at Manchester and London City airports later this year, should also be voluntary.”
Asked if the cards would ever be made compulsory he said: “No”. “If a future Government wanted to make them compulsory it would require primary legislation,” he added.
He also ruled out ever requiring the public to own a card. Previously, ministers said ID cards could become compulsory once 80% of the population was covered.
Which, superficially at least, is good news, especially from the point of view of those trans people who are in the difficult position of having “no-match” documentation. As the Daily Mail reported it last November:
People who are undergoing a sex change will be allowed two cards – one in each gender. But they will also be forced to pay twice – landing them with a £60 bill.
It has decided they will have to hold a card in their current sex, which can be used for travel in the EU.
But they will also be able to apply for a card – with corresponding picture – in the name and sex they are undergoing treatment to become.
In other words, they will dress and appear as they will once the sex change is complete.
For anyone falling into that category, a more offensive and frankly ludicrous proposal would have been hard to concoct. I hope that it will now be consigned to the history books.
But-there’s-a-but: “the cards will still be compulsory for foreign workers”, according to Mr Johnson. That’s bad enough in terms of the inherent racism, but there’s another reason to object to it, which is that it can only mean that the centralised database remains intact. The whole concept of the ‘database state’ has been described in detail, and campaigned against solidly, by NO2ID, and I’d once again recommend any interested party spends some time browsing their excellent website – here’s the link.
I don’t believe we’ve heard the last of this foolishness, not by a long way, but I’ll reserve further comment until I’ve tracked down the full details of Mr Jackson’s announcement.
Previous related posts on this blog:
- Manchester ‘launch’ for ID cards (May 6, 2009)
- ID Theft? (April 8, 2009)
- National ID Card Petition (February 7, 2009)
- ID Cards update (November 24, 2008)
Links to external websites:
- Gender Spectrum UK – ID Cards Discussion (Public Forum)
- Identity and Passport Service – Identity cards and the National Identity Service
- Identity Cards Act 2006