Behind closed doors…

Re-posted from archive of infinite ideas machine 2004:

…or at least very expensive* ones to get through!

So Mr. Blunkett wouldn’t ‘face the music’ last week at the LSE [read Dr. Simon Moores’ review in Computer Weekly, via White Rose] but now expects his colleagues – and, by implication, us – to believe that he can overcome all the technical and financial objections to the ID cards / NIR scheme in a paid-entry briefing to the very people who stand to make the most money out of it:

Home Secretary David Blunkett, has told MPs his department has been working closely with the IT industry and is to offer a seminar quashing the technical and financial impact of the scheme “once and for all.”

The Home Office seminar is to be held with IT supplier, Intellect, and will take place at the Grange City Hotel, London on 24 May 2004. – ‘Coalition of the unwilling: ID cards branded a faulty idea’ on Contractor UK

*Today’s Intellect event ‘ID Cards: Next Steps‘ is sponsored by BT Syntegra, Sun Microsystems, Siemens Business Services Ltd & EDS and a ticket for a non-Intellect member would have set you back £464.13 – assuming members of the public could even have got one.

If Blunkett had these ‘conclusive’ arguments last week, then why could / did he (or a Home Office representative) not provide them to a PUBLIC meeting on the issues? If he didn’t have them, then where did he get them from over the past few days?

All we are getting from the Government at present are assertions, made-up (and increasingly shaky) statistics, laughable guesstimates and a demonstration of almost unprecedented arrogance in their unwillingness to even participate in an open debate with opponents of the scheme, or even members of the electorate who express genuine concerns.

ID cards almost brought down the Australian Government in 1987 – does New Labour want to follow Blunkett and Blair over the same cliff? We shall have to see…

N.B. there are some encouraging noises being made in certain quarters of the Conservative camp, but do not forget that in 1995 Michael Howard (then Home Secretary) announced Government plans to bring forward a Green Paper setting out the various options available for a national identity card scheme – despite the fact that as recently as 1990 the Tories had said: “the government is not persuaded that the case for a voluntary identity card scheme has been made out, in terms of benefits either to the individual or the state” (HC Deb vol 146 c1302). – Charter 88 ID cards archive.

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