Moot my foot AC
"... A lot of the ID card stuff is actually tied up in treaty obligations for full biometric passports, and as it's not compulsory anyway, what are you winging at."
I have a biometric passport. I quite like it and I've used the biometric recognition to get out of Stanstead Airport. It was great. It's also my choice to have one.
More importantly, it's not simply a form of identity (although as one it's probably the best but as flawed as any other form of ID - see previous Reg articles).
The inside cover of my passport says this:
"Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"
The ID function is secondary to the meaning of the passport - the ID part proves my entitlement to the passport which is there to allow me free passage through foreign states - the passport isn't there to prove my identity.
Having said that, I might start to carry it with me at all times. I'd like to see the look on a copper's face when I quote that at him or her if they try to stop me from taking photographs. Especially since they technically answer to HM and not HMG.
My passport is already sufficient ID if I need ID for anything. Being in my thirties I shouldn't be ID'd to get into a pub; so far I've not had to but I've seen people older than me ID'd on the way in.
That starts to sound compulsory to me. It's conditioning people to accept being ID'd as normal.
One of the greatest things about being British is that I don't have to prove me identity just because I'm on the street. I have nothing to hide and so there's no need to compel me to identify myself - I'm not a criminal and I'm not wanted so proving my identity to a copper serves no purpose.
That's the flaw in the 'nothing to hide' 'argument' - it shifts the presumption of innocence.
"If you don't want an ID card don't have one, but you won't be able to leave the UK."
I'll just use my passport thanks very much. See above for the difference.
"Most of the studies on how much it will cost have totally ignored that, I doubt ID cards themselves will actually cost that much when compared to the costs of the full biometric passport."
I refer you to the above point, viz. the function of a passport is not that of an ID Card.
"Oh, and for those of you who haven't already noticed, a lot of things already require you to use your passport as ID, in some places you need to show an NHS entitlement card to get treatment, and so on, so a citizenship card isn't really that big a deal."
Even if you don't have a passport you're still entitled to whatever services require confirmation of your identity.
A passport happens to be a convenient way of asserting identity. If it's not possible to prove your identity through means other than a passport then it's impossible to prove your identity to get a passport. Furthermore, I don't have an automatic right to a passport - the state can withdraw that right if it so chooses.
That doesn't entitle the state to withdraw my right to leave the country - I just no longer have the state's protection if I choose to do so.
One of Iraq's crimes against humanity was restricting people's right to leave Iraq. I might have a hard time leaving the country and a harder time when I arrive wherever I'm going, but if things have reached that stage then it's likely that I'd be claiming asylum anyway.
So, you see that a 'Citizenship Card' is a big deal. Other European countries are cited in the arguments for ID Cards in that 'they all have them'. They've also had dictators in the last 70 years and the ID Cards are simply a hangover from then.
Finally, the implication of a 'Citizenship Card' is that if you don't have one, then you're not a citizen. That's the creeping horror which those of us who understand what it is to be British fear.