* Posts by Captain Mainwaring

65 posts • joined 30 Jul 2009

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Paper driving licence death day: DVLA website is still TITSUP

Captain Mainwaring

Re: Eggs in one basket

Next time I hire a car, I think I will go to the extra trouble if it's possible, to get a printout of my driving licence record the previous day, along with the required reference number for the hirer. At least that way, if they are unable to get online for some reason when I turn up, they at least have a printed record of any points I may or may not have. Perhaps if they are busy or just short of customers at that time, they may accept this print out at face value, without waiting until the website comes back online again before they hand the keys over.

I know this new system is a bit of a faff and a hassle, especially for people who do not have internet access, but I would imagine this is a sign of things to come as more and more government services come online under the " digital by default " program being driven on by GDS.

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Captain Mainwaring

Eggs in one basket

As long as the DVLA checking system remains up and running 24/7 and can cope with any level of demand placed upon it, everything will be just fine. At times when it is not able to cope, expect long queues, frantic telephone calls and drivers giving up and going by public transport instead.

In the end, it just depends how good DVLA's IT infrastructure turns out to be.

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My life under Estonia's digital government

Captain Mainwaring

Re: ID Card

" A better question would be why opening a bank account requires proof of residence at all. Proof of identity, sure. But an address is a pointless exercise now that you are no longer associated with a specific branch for your services. Not to mention the trap it puts on poor people, who often have no fixed abode, but can't get one because they can't get bank accounts, et cetera."

You try opening an account in most high street banks without providing proof of address and 9 times out of ten you'll be left standing out in the rain counting your pennies back into your trouser pocket. Right or wrong, that just how life is here in the UK and is not just limited to opening a bank account either. My central point is that ID cards commonly issued on the continent of Europe, don't show residential address and as such are not the all in one master identity document they are frequently trumped up to be. As far as I can see, an ID card does nothing that an ordinary Passport cannot do. I suppose you can easily slip an ID card into your wallet after you've finished using it, but a Passport allows you to travel the world over and is not just limited to travel in EU countries.

I do take your point about issuing a common unique identifier, perhaps a long number that could cross-reference all the other government service account numbers. Whether there is the political will, expertise or money to undertake such a project is another question though. But if that process is linked to the universal roll out of ID cards across the whole nation, I doubt if it will ever come to pass.

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Captain Mainwaring

Re: ID Card

Most National ID cards that I have personally seen and I have seen most of them from the EU, don't even have the bearer's home address on it. This includes the aborted UK ID card that was scrapped by the last coalition government back in 2010. What this means in reality is that when the service that you are applying for needs proof of residential address, ie bank accounts, grants, welfare payments etcetera, a separate document such as a council tax or utilities bill is required to prove where you actually live. This hardly makes the ID card a one-stop shop document that it is mooted to be. For general use, where nationality is not a particular issue, A UK photocard driving licence is probably more useful as it also includes the bearer's home address as well. Replacing disparate numbering systems, NHS, Driving licence, National Insurance, to name but a few, would be a large and costly undertaking at a time when most government departments are having their budgets slashed. If a country is starting from scratch, then yes a unique personal identifier is probably the best way to go.

I have worked in HR for the past ten years or so and have had the task of checking the identity and immigration credentials of all job applicants from all over the world, but mainly from the EU. From a UK perspective at least, a National ID card is little more than a sawn off Passport at best. It is also an easier document to make a convincing forgery of than a modern Biometric Passport, which usually has hidden watermarks and security features spread over multiple pages.

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Captain Mainwaring

Re: ID Card

" The other key requirement for this process is a unique ID for every person, here in the form of a card and a USB stick. "

Whenever I do any interactions with various government departments, both national and local, I'm often asked for my National Insurance number as part of the transaction. This is a unique reference number that most individuals are issued with to work, pay tax and other official functions too. In some cases, I've even been asked to produce my Passport or Driving Licence as well to prove I am the person standing before them. As a majority of people these days already have one or both of these official ID documents, a separate ID card and it's multi-billion pound cost all seems a little bit unnecessary to me. And that's before you factor in the privacy and civil rights issues that go with their introduction.

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Captain Mainwaring

Jobsworths say no

To implement an end-to-end, integrated government IT set up here in Blighty would take a major shift in Civil Service culture and outlook, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Most online government services that I have personally used seem to be a digitization of existing system systems and practices, with no apparent sideways integration with other departments and services. To get to a true cross government IT platform will probably require a major re-organisation of how the Civil service and government departments work and relate to each other. At the end of the day, widespread computerization in central and local government is going to cost many white-collar workers their job and dismantle many an empire that has taken many decades of careful construction to build up. Given the prevalence of Sir Humphrey types that form the upper echelons, I can't see that there is going to be any great appetite for radical re-organisation that is likely to be needed.

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Carry On Computing: Ten stylish laptop bags for him

Captain Mainwaring

Bag within a bag

Been carrying in a laptop to work everyday now for the past 16 years and tried just about every combination of carrybags there are available on the market. The best solution I think is to purchase a well padded laptop sleeve in the matching size and place that in the briefcase or whatever external carry bag you use for work. Although it significantly increases the weight of the bag, if it should be dropped or occasionally rain soaked, the laptop seems to get away unscathed. The padded sleeves seem to be very reasonably priced as well, certainly on Amazon a good quality item can be purchased for under 20 pounds, a far cry from some of the laptop holder bags being reviewed that are coming in at over a hundred quid!

I do drive to and from work, so I don't have to carry the bag for more than a few minutes at a time, but for people who commute on a train for hours on end, perhaps a separate laptop bag may be the best solution.

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E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard

Captain Mainwaring

Re: National Identity Card

I agree with the idea that people should be required to produce official photo ID to vote in an election. But spend billions on rolling out an ID card scheme, why? With about 85% of the population already having either a passport, driving licence or both, I would have thought there is already enough official ID about to do the job.

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Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Captain Mainwaring

Non - IT bod here

Having spent the last 3 years working in HR, one thing I have particularly noticed that there is a lot of what I would call serious professional-grade apps available entirely online, without any need for locally installed components. These apps include Sage accounting suits and HR database, to name just a few. Having recently purchased a Chromebook out of my own pocket for home use, all of these apps are available directly on this new laptop as though I was sitting at work on my Windows desktop.

My point is this though, if more and more professional grade apps are going to be available directly from the cloud, is a full fat, fully featured operating system like Windows 10 going to be required to service mundane everyday office tasks as in the past? Or is a lightweight cloud-orientated OS like Chrome going to be sufficient in a majority of cases? I'm not an IT professional and my comments might seem a little naive, but from a common sense point of view, I can't see the mainstream Windows PC business model from the past continuing a long time into the future.

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Scotland to get National ID system 'by the backdoor', campaigners mull challenge

Captain Mainwaring

Re: Why the fuss?

Well we already have several large nationwide registers here in the UK, covering most if not all of the population. DVLA driving licence database, Passport database, NHS patient database, HMRC taxpayer database to name but a few. I don't think we really need to spend any more money in creating yet another nationwide database with all it's associated cost and bureaucracy. Perhaps the existing NHS number could be used as a common identifier across all registers, but I can well understand people's concerns over the desirability of using this in a blanket fashion. As far as ID cards are concerned, well again not really needed, as passports and driving licences are already very widely used to carry out ID checks on individuals. With around 50 million UK passports and some 45 million driving licences in circulation, most people these days have some form of official identification.

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Pitchforks at dawn! UK gov's Verify ID service FAILS to verify ID

Captain Mainwaring

Offline fallback required

If central government plans that everybody should be using this system to access their online services eventually, then an offline registration process is definitely going to be required for those people who have an insufficient credit trail. Perhaps the Post Office could get in on the act here, offering a document examining service in the local branch to those people who cannot, for whatever reason, be verified online. I would have thought that things like passports, driving licences, council tax bills, bank cards, etc , would be sufficient if presented by the applicant in person. My experience of the main credit reference agencies is one of incomplete or just plain incorrect information held on my record and getting them to correct/amend it is a triumph of perseverance. I would be very surprised if I was to pass an online check, even though I have lived in the UK for all of my adult life.

I hope the problems of this new ID verification service are ironed out in the near future, for if not, I can see the age old demand for National identity cards rearing it's head again.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Captain Mainwaring

Re: The Mossie

" Perhaps not so good in some other theatres though; my grandfather, who was a photographer with an RAF recon unit in Burma, had a lovely story about two Mossies arriving there, only to be eaten by the local insects before they could be suitably housed... "

Perhaps they should have sprayed them with insect repellent upon first arrival!

Just a thought...

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Captain Mainwaring

Re: The Mossie

My Grandfather worked at the De Havilland factory during the war, working as an armourer on the Mosquito. He often said that the Mosquito's greatest asset was it's wooden airframe that gave it lightness and subsequent speed advantage over all metal designs. Bizarrely, the wooden airframe could also take more punishment from enemy fire than stressed all metal aircraft and could still fly on with many bullet holes in it's fuselage without catastrophic break up.

As an interesting footnote, many Mosquitos became completely unserviceable after the war due to rotting of the wooden fuselage. Still, they survived just long enough to wreak havoc on Goering and Co!

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Home Office boffins slip out passport-scanning Android app

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Of limited value in the real world

This Android app as it stands is OK as a basic chip working/not working check, but of little use in the commercial admin world. Perhaps by adding an online element to this program, it could become a useful Passport authenticator, checking that the Passport that has been scanned is indeed an original, authentic document as issued by HMPO. This might well have applications in the world of HR, banking and legal services and if provided for free, would probably enjoy wide spread use.

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Tracy brothers are back: Thunderbirds Are Go! again in 5... 4... 3...

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

F-A-B

I often wondered what the exact meaning of the expression " F-A-B " was, usually uttered after a command from one of the senior puppets on the film set. It's probably equivalent to "aye aye", " yes sir " or perhaps the word " jawohl " in the German language.

Does anyone know the exact meaning of the expression or is it a made up term designed to sound hip and trendy in the swinging sixties?

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O2 outage outrage blamed on new Ericsson database

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

One way to beat the outage

Dual-Sim mobile phone. They are readily available and can work on entirely seperate phone networks if the best possible resilience is required. Having dual sim cards also has the advantage that if one network is providing poor coverage in the area you are in, the second network might possibly give a usable signal to allow for making/receiving calls.

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NHS trust loses personal data of 600 maternity patients, kids

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Everyone should have one

What about installing a standard encryption package on every PC within an organisation? Should any individual feel the need to take home any confidential information, they could create a self extracting encrypted file on their memory stick and take it home to work on. If they were to carelessly misplace the said memory stick at any point, they would be safe in the knowledge that at least it's contents would be hard to get to if it did fall into the wrong hands. Would this be too costly or impractical for an NHS trust to implement across the board? I'm sure most people who work on a PC day-in, day-out, would have the knowledge and experience to handle such an encryption package with little or no training.

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Australia Post launches inbox and cloud storage for all

Captain Mainwaring
Go

Royal Mail please note

“Australians have told us they want to be able to collect their parcels at a time and place that suits them,”

I'm sure there are millions of Brits who would wish the Royal Mail to do the same here in the UK.

A lot of people are out working during post office delivery hours and end up going to the local post office, usually the following saturday morning, to pick up their parcels anyway. Even if this service was only available to say, ten o'clock at night, for five days a week, it would make life a lot easier for the legions of internet shoppers out there who just want to get their hands on their ordered goods as soon as possible.

Perhaps under this system, the purchaser could have the facility of marking the parcel as to be picked up at the post office only, to save the postman the time in not having to deliver it to the home address. The recepient could be advised by SMS text and/or email that the parcel is available for collection at their nominated local post office.

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UK Home Sec: 'I authorised biometric bypass pilot'

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Things have moved on quite a bit

" Seeing as the vast majority of passports don't actually have biometric chips, I can't see what the problem is. "

According to the latest figures I have seen, a little over half of all current valid UK passports in circulation are indeed of the new chipped biometric type. The Passport office issue upwards of 5 million new passports a year, all of these of course are of the new biometric type. By 2016 all valid UK passports will incorporate this new technology. The equivelant figures for non UK passports may be lower, but the number of chip enabled passports in circulation around the world is increasing every day as most countries around the world now issue them as standard.

Figures aside though, the whole point of chipping passports was to make them much more difficult to forge. If immigration agencies routinely disregard this feature and just check the picture inside the cover, there seems little point in going to the bother and expense in producing tem in the first place.

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UK.gov needs fresh law to protect taxpayers' ID

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

The question that nobody seems to be asking

Once this private sector operated ID assurance scheme is up and running, who is going to be paying the bill for its day-to-day usage exactly? Will it be the various government departments that hope to be using it for normal every day transactions? Or perhaps more likely, will it be the end user (ie You and I ) who is requiring access to these government services? If it is the latter, what will be the level of transaction charges payable be?

Just a thought.

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ID and Passport Service uncloaks 2012 online plans

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Slightly different direction

The National ID card may well be dead and gone and it's probably unlikely that it will ever be ressurected by this present coalition government. However don't be too surprised if forthcoming legislation doesn't promote the UK passport as a de facto National Identity document for the delivery of many public services. Nothing compulsory like, just incovenient when you don't have one at your disposal. As a majority of UK citizens already have a passport, this would prove to be a relatively non controversial option as well as providing a high level of identity assurance amongst the general population.

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Cabinet Office allocates £1.6m for single government domain

Captain Mainwaring

Or even...

hopeless.gov.uk

That's the kind of handle most people would associate with UK governments of the past 30 years.

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Cabinet Office talks to Facebook & co about new ID system

Captain Mainwaring
Alert

So, right back in the beginning....

How do these various trusted personal data agencies establish the authenticity of the applicants who would wish to use their services? This part is the absolute critical element of any identity verification system, particularly one that will eventually involve all government departments, both national and local. Unless the initial enrolment system is very robust indeed, the opportunity for fraud and criminal deception could potentially be enormous. Social security and pension payments alone run into billions of pounds a year and a half-baked registration regime could provide some lucrative earnings for the criminal masterminds out there. I hope I'm wrong about this, but this does seem like a " all eggs in one basket solution" that might well become ripe for exploitation.

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Google floats monthly subscriptions to Chrome OS notebooks

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Desktop market could be key

A lot of the talk surrounding Chrome OS seems to be centred around the netbook/touchpad market, where new models seem to proliferate. There are millions of traditional desktop machines sitting around in offices, schools, homes etc, which only have basic, straightforward requirements. With more and more everyday functions being available via the web browser, there could be potentially a huge untapped market for a web only " Chromebox ."

Key to all this of course would be initial pricing point. If this type of machine was available at a significantly lower cost than a traditional desktop, corporate and home users alike with only modest requirements might see this kind of set up as viable. If the Chromebox spec also included a HDMI output and remote keyboard, perhaps there would be new untapped market in the domestic sector as well. This does of course all depend on what faith one has in Google to safely retain their data and what Google might otherwise do with that data without the owner's knowledge!

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Gov will pay £2.25m compo to ID card suppliers

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Well, look on the bright side Mr Blunkett....

At least the nation now won't have to shell out the 5 Billion quid your government said it would cost to roll out the National Identity Card scheme.

Viewed in that light, the 2.25 million pound cancellation charges seem quite a bargain.

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End of the line for ID cards

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Now Off The Agenda

With the ID card legislation now repealed and the cards themselves no longer legal tender, perhaps we can now consider this whole controversial matter as being over and consigned to the last chapter in our history books.

Unless of course, our Lords and Masters in Brussels have any different ideas.

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Queen set to outlaw ID cards today

Captain Mainwaring
Thumb Up

Fits Most Pockets

Having travelled and lived abroad over many years, I can't say that I ever had a problem in transporting my passport around on my person. It seems to fit in most trouser/jacket/shirt pockets quite comfortably and is generally less obtrusive than a wallet or purse.

The new passport, although coming with enhanced security features, carries no more personal information on it than the previous model did. Speaking as a naysayer, I am quite happy that this Nu Labour Stasi card has been abolished from these Islands, even if it means our expat friends abroad have to walk around with a slightly fuller pocket than they might like.

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Airport face-scan gate unilaterally imprisons traveller

Captain Mainwaring
FAIL

View from Down-Under

I visited family in Australia this time last year and despite being in possesion of a recently-issued UK electronic Passport, was unable to use it through their automated border gates as they were, at the time, only set up to work with Australian/NZ e passports. Whilst standing in the rather long manned border queue, I only noticed a gaggle of confident-looking Quantas aircrew using the automated border gate facility; everybody else seemed to be studiously avoiding them.

During my stay in Oz, I read a couple of articles in the local press about the efficacy of their own home-grown borderdgate system, which according to one article, had been installed at Sydney's International airport for a few years. During the pilot trial phase, the border machines has been throwing up so many false negatives that they had to reduce the system's matching accuracy to the lowest level possible, 40% I believe, to make the system usable during busy periods. A government aviation spokesman was quoted by the paper as stating that at even 40% matching accuracy, it's performance was broadly similar to that of an experienced immigration official.

I don't know if this is typical of other such systems used in the rest of the world, but at this relatively low level of matching accuracy, I wonder if it was worth spending such large sums of money on the whole e-passport/bordergate infrastructure. Employing a few extra border personel at peak times would probably be just as effective at keeping long queues down to a minimum and come with the in built advantage of common sense and human intuition that machines cannot provide.

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UK.gov fishes for ID ideas

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Less than 5 per cent

When the DSS carried out it's own internal survey of benefit fraud a few years back, it estimated that less than 5% of benefit fraud was down to people misrepresenting their true identities. That means that a majority of the 2.5 billion pound fraud that is reckoned to be lost every year, is down to people mis-representing their personal circumstances rather than lying about who they are. On these figures, the true cost of benefit fraud deriving from uncertainty about an applicant's ID is probably in the region of a couple of hundred million pounds per year or less.

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Underweight passport pic left traveller stuck in Amsterdam

Captain Mainwaring
Go

Same with e-passports too

I have been using my e-passport for the past 3 years now in pretty much the same way at my local airport and have breezed through the automated border gate in less than 30 seconds on every occasion. What amazes me is that there never seems to be a queue to use this automated facility, despite there usually being a queue stretching back several hundred yards for the manual passport gates.

The IPS recently stated that there are already some 25 million e-passports in circulation, about half the total number of all valid UK passports out there. Perhaps people feel a little bit intimidated by the automated border machinery or are not aware that they are in possession of the new style e-passport.

I suppose if everybody starts using the new facilities however, then this may not necessarily be the attractive option any more!

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Did ID card applications surge after scheme was scrapped?

Captain Mainwaring

Unfortunately not

To get an ID card you would first have to either be in possession of a current passport or go out and spend an additional £77.50 to purchase one. No one without a current passport, as far as I am aware, was entitled to purchase a stand alone ID card for 30 pounds, so their was no bargain option for travel in Europe.

Something else Messrs Smith and Johnson kept quite about whilst doing their promotional sales tours.

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Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Obtaining a pristine original, maybe?

I don't know whether it will still be against the law to make copies of the now cancelled ID card, once they have ceased to be legal tender. If not, perhaps there might be a new lucrative market out there for the online fake ID card makers. With the pristine original in their hand , they can set about making a perfect replica, authentic in every last detail, for an up and coming fake family heirloom market. To keep everything as original as possible, they could charge 30 quid for the beautifully - crafted item to all those millions out there who never got the chance to get one the first time round. In years to come, these cards could be seen doing the rounds in family photo albums and antique road shows, a graphic reminder of the days when obstinate Labour Home Secretaries ruled with an iron fist and dismissed all dissention.

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ToryDems stoke ID card 'bonfire'

Captain Mainwaring
Thumb Up

Right On!

Good point, well made.

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Captain Mainwaring
FAIL

Every little helps

If our local ASDA is anything to go by, the answer is probably no. I have seen two incidents over the past few months there where two European students from the local Uni have attempted to purchase alcohol, duly presenting their National ID cards as proof that they were over 18. In both cases a supervisor was called over , who patiently explained to them that European ID cards were not acceptable forms of identification and that they would have to come back with their Passports. The German student rather indignantly pointed out that she did not have a Passport and had travelled to the UK on her German ID Card and could not understand why it was not accepted by the store as proof of age.

I don't know if this is general throughout the UK or even mainland Europe, but it does make one wonder how genuinely useful a UK card may have been on the continent if it had survived the axe.

Has anyone else come across incidents like this?

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Captain Mainwaring

For all the fire and brimstone

For all the venom and bitter words Alan Johnson hurled across the chamber at his successor, the former home secretary also announced that his party would not be opposing the passage of this bill through the commons.

Nothing like going down fighting for a cause you believe so passionately in.

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Google morphs Chrome OS into netbook thin client

Captain Mainwaring
FAIL

Major disincentives

No local printer drivers, no local apps. Sounds like an ultra-lite operating system suitable for web-browsing only. Perhaps it was only developed to increase Google's advertising real estate potential. Anderoid with it's increasing plethora of local apps sounds more appealing and versatile, even in netbook form.

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Strippers hit historic Marconi HQ

Captain Mainwaring
Unhappy

Another Relic of de-skilled Britain

I worked there back in the 1970's when I believe there was in excess of 1000 people employed over the whole site. I was told the site was expanded during WW2 to accomodate numerous MOD contracts that were required in support of the war effort. I have to say, even back in the 70's, the whole place looked like a relic from the great days of the British Empire and if the whole site was demolished and replaced by a brand spanking new Tesco branch, it could only be an improvement.

I wonder where all those hundreds of skilled jobs and lucrative government contracts went to or if the core GEC-Marconi business still exists today. I expect like a lot of our jobs in the high tech industry of the time, they have been dispersed throughout the free world in the ever expanding push for globalisation.

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ID card scheme barely broke 13,000 mark, minister confirms

Captain Mainwaring
Happy

Glass houses, stones and all that

Same for many commentators here of course AC, yourself included. Perhaps this particular topic has been flogged to death now.

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Captain Mainwaring
Paris Hilton

You might be surprised to learn

Your assertion that a large portion of the population has neither a Passport or a Driving Licence I'm afraid is incorrect. It has been estimated that about 85% of the population has either one or both of these documents. That means that only 15% of the population is without any official government-issued Identity as such. That is why many people regard ID cards as an expensive White Elephant, as there is plenty of official ID out there already.

I am rather surprised you cannot obtain a Passport without any existing photo ID. My grown-up daughter obtained a first-time Passport less than a year ago without any form of photo ID, although like all first time applicants, she had to go along for a formal interview at local IPS office armed with a Birth certificate, National Insurance card, etc.

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Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Is that all they could manage?

" In March, former Home Sec Alan Johnson had predicted 17 million ID cards would be in circulation by 2017, a staggering 28 per cent of the population."

When asked last year, the Home Office stated there were some 52 million valid UK Passports in circulation and over 80% of the population were in possesion of one. Since Labour's ID card was in effect little more than a sawn-off Passport as far as the end user was concerned, could they have not used Passports for the same purpose and pocketed the 5 Billion pound cost?

Perhaps more pointedly, someone should have asked Alan Johnson last March how many years it would take for his ID card to reach the same level of public ownership that the British Passport enjoys today.

It seems to me that Labour's only interest in ID cards was to build up a massive e-dossier on every man, woman and child in the country and use this monolith to monitor and control the poulation ever after. That and conforming to the norms and expectations of the EU of course.

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ID cards poster girl laments her £30

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

That's the trouble with democracy, Angela

Back in 2005, Labour won the general election with 33% of the popular vote and assumed it had got itself a solid mandate for the role out National ID cards.

The opposition parties objected, the pressure groups complained, but to no avail, the legislation was passed and the procurement contracts obtained. Five years did pass by dear Angela and the Con-Libs did prevail, with 60% of the national vote, they said it was time for change.

So that's where we stand today. Both Conservatives and Liberals have made it quite clear at least for the past 3 years that were implacably opposed to ID cards and would go to the bother of scrapping them should they be elected back into power. Like the Labour party back in 2005, they assume they have a solid mandate from the electorate to pursue this policy and by the end of the summer, hopefully these wretched things will be history. Form a pressure group for their retention if you will Angela, but Labour's ID card project has come to the end of it's natural life-cycle and a hole is being dug for it's burial.

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Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund

Captain Mainwaring
Happy

It's alright David, problem solved.

Those awfully nice people over at Citizen card have just come up with a very generous offer to help you all out. You can now exchange your 30 quid national ID card for one of their government-approved PASS Cards for free! For those people out there in the wider population who bemoan the passing of the National ID card scheme, fear not. You can also get one for the knockdown price of 15 pounds and you won't even have to have your fingerprints taken.

No good for travelling to Europe of course, but owners of the National ID card didn't seem to fare any better either. So there you go, David, Jacqui, Alan, Gordon, Tony; a nationally-approved ID card that didn't require a single penny of tax-payer's money to implement. Why didn't you think of that?

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No refunds for ID card pioneers

Captain Mainwaring
Megaphone

And the real winner will be......

I think it will be the great British public that has the last laugh here, as it happens.

It has been said that at least 29 million ID cards will have to be sold for the project to break even in financial terms. That's at least 29 million people who will now not have to stump up the cash to buy into Nu Labour's Stasi population control project. That's at least 29 million people who will not have to pay up to a £1000 pound fine should they forget to update their details with the all-surveying National Identity Register. That's at least 29 million people who will now not have to carry an ID card around with them in their wallets to show to every jobsworth and petty official on every street corner. That's at least 29 million people........ oh well, I think I could go on all day about the numerous disadvantages and problems that this socialist dystopia project would bring with it.

Whether cancelling this project saves the treasury 2 Billion pounds or 2 pence, it will be the man in the street who will be quids in once it has been passed out of law.

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Biometric passport 2.0 scrapped alongside ID cards, NIR

Captain Mainwaring
Coffee/keyboard

Driving costs back down

So... No more ID cards, no more NIR, no more fingerprints on Passports, no more major spend on IT infrastructure to support the above. Does that mean that the cost of a UK Passport will come back down again to a more realistic level ?

Fat chance.

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UK hot-swaps leaders - Brown out, Cameron in

Captain Mainwaring
Pint

Identifying Real Citizens

Probably like a lot of UK citizens, I am not of the opinion that one should have to identify themselves on a regular or routine basis to satisfy the wants of official beurocracy or legislation. According to figures produced by the Passport service last year, there are already some 52 million valid UK passports in circulation and I think it would be fair to say that a majority of UK subjects are in possession of one. Now that the UK ID card and it's attendent National Identity Register is set to be scrapped, I don't think that the new government has to look very far, should it have the need to, to find a new document that would fulfill the same role. For occasional official use and only where strictly neccesary, a Passport would, in my view, be more than adequate to take on the anticipated role of a personal identity card.

Non-EU overseas residents will still have their Biometric Resident Permits issued by our government to prove their legal status and EU citizens will already have their own ID Cards/Passports to do the same. Costing many billions of pounds to produce and roll out, ID cards to me seem like a very expensive hammer to crack a relatively small nut.

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Johnson: ID cards will pay for themselves

Captain Mainwaring
WTF?

More fatuous nonsense from postman Alan

ID cards will pay for themselves Alan? Er... no, not quite. At least thirteen million people will have to buy one before they start paying for themselves. Given a choice I'm sure that most of those thirteen million people would rather pass on that one and spend the money on something useful instead.

I think the Home Secretary's logic goes something like this. We spend billions of pounds up front for an ID card project which eventually we would like to force you all to have and then, when you all have no choice in the matter, we will recoup our initial investment and claim it was all self-financing. Neat eh?

Mind the door on the way out Mr Johnson; oh and good luck in your new career.

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Tories put ID cards, Contactpoint on manifesto hit list

Captain Mainwaring
Unhappy

Sad, but very true

Very well put AC.

It's a sad reflection on the two-party horse race we call a general election where a significant portion of voters end up being disenfranchised by the inevitable Labour/Conservative outcome. I do not envy either of them this time round however; whichever party wins the next election is sure to find itself very unpopular after they start swinging the axe on public expenditure.

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Captain Mainwaring
Stop

Pleased to hear it, but.....

I am pleased to hear that the Conservative Party has re-affirmed it's intention to scrap ID Cards and the Orwellian national identity register that lays behind it, should they be elected next month. It would appear from what I have been reading this afternoon, that the tories still intend to embark on a mass fingerprinting excercise of the civil population when the phase 2 Biometric Passport is rolled out in a couple of years time. Although obtaining a passort is obviously a voluntary act, a large percentage of the population (80% or more) are in possession of one at any given time. Within a generation, a majority of the UK population could find their fingerprints included on the passport database, an idea I'm sure today's Nu Labour politicians and many Whitehall mandarins would find very palatable indeed.

Although a new Conservative administration would probably ensure that the new Passport database only contains the minimum amount of personal information required, we would still have a large biometric database of the population not too far different from today's proposed national identity register. The International Civil Aviation authority does not at present require any country to include fingerprints or other Biometric identifiers in their Biometric Passports, ony a facial image as we have at present. If there is a regime change in Downing Street next month, perhaps the new government might reflect on this more Orwellian aspect of it's proposals and drop the fingerprinting requirements from the next generation of passports. In keeping with many of it's cost-cutting ambitions, the removal of this feature is bound to save money in the longer term too.

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Manchester ID staff suffer isolation as new dawn fades

Captain Mainwaring
WTF?

National ID Cards, useful throughout Europe.

Just come back from local Sainsburys superstore where I witnessed a young German student from the local Uni, attempting to purchase a Bacardi Breezer type alcopop drink. The checkout assistant asked her for proof of age and after waving away her student ID as unsuitable, the young woman produced her Personalweiss (German National ID card) to prove that she was indeed over 18. With rather a puzzled look, the checkout assistant called over her supervisor who carefully checked the student's strange new ID credentials. After a minute's muted discussion, the supervisor then announced to the young freulein that this type of ID was not on their list of accepted ID and that she would have to return with her Passport to complete the transaction!

It would appear then that a EU national ID card then can legally allow you to take residence in any EU country, but not to be an acceptable form of ID when purchasing age-restricted goods from the local supermarket. I wonder if our UK National ID card would be treated with the same disdain on the Continent as this student's National ID card was here? If it is not accepted as a general means of personal identification and a national passport is always required for personal ID purposes, then the card is basically just a sawn-off mini passport, with few practical applications outside one's own country of residence.

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Captain Mainwaring
Happy

For those who don't look old enough...

For those unlucky souls who are blighted with an eternally youthful appearance and find difficulty in being served in pubs and clubs around the country, there is a cheaper alternative to the National ID card. It is the excellent Citizen Card, an officially-approved ID card that can verify your age for age restricted goods and services and available at the bargain price of only ten pounds.

Oh, by the way, it is not suitable for continental - bound P&O ferries from Hull, for that you will need a full National ID card!

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