ID cards in “not panacea” shocker

12:00 am Politics

Home Office minister Tony McNulty has admitted that the Government “oversold” the benefits of ID cards, I read today. “We did suggest, or at least implied, that they might well be a panacea for identity fraud, for benefit fraud, terrorism, entitlement and access to public services,” he says.

I’d like to venture that they didn’t “suggest” or “imply” such things at all - “claimed” or “promised” or even just “said” would be close to the mark. But anyway. Obviously the opposition parties are jumping up and down and pointing and going “Told you!”. But I think there’s a little more to this. In the same speech, McNulty trailed a cost ceiling announcement to counter all those pesky surveys that suggest (or at least imply) that the damn things’ll cost a million pounds each, and also attempted to shift the emphasis on to how useful it would be to us as individuals now that apparently “there are now so many almost daily occasions when we have to stand up and verify our identity.”

This isn’t a backtrack or a U-turn or anything like that. It’s just dropping a duff bit of marketing and changing tack. They started with all the claims about terrorism and benefit fraud and all the rest of it, people said, “Never mind that, it’ll cost me money, what do I, personally, get out of it?” And now they’re just responding to that. One thing’s for sure, they’re not going to drop this one any time soon.

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