back to article Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund

David Blunkett this morning claimed he may sue the government for a refund on his £30 ID card, which new laws will render worthless by the end of summer. The former Home Secretary and political originator of the ID cards scheme went on Today this morning to explain why he was right to introduce the scheme and the ConDem …


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  1. mafoo

    Collectors Items?

    Surely the issued ID cards will be worth more than £30 as collectors items?

    I think we can give Blunket back his £30 if he returns the hundreds of millions wasted on his project to the country.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      New Labour in a nutshell

      (with emphasis on the 'nut').

      He knows the *cost* of cancelling Blunkettcards in pounds and pence, but doesn't stop to think about the *value* of cancelling them - ie. not living in an Orwellian nanny state.

      Like the article says he's probably really pissed off that his ID and DNA consultancies might be drying up real soon now.

      But there is one thing Blunkett has taught me - and that's not to automatically feel sorry for blind people.

  2. hplasm Silver badge

    May I be the first to say-

    Cheeky tw4t!

    Besides, pal- that's not your ID card, that's your Tesco clubcard.

  3. Flugal
    Thumb Down

    What a brazen cunt!

    So, he stitches the population up to pay for something the overwhelming majority neither want or need, and then wants us all to compensate him for introducing this repulsive scheme in the first place!

    They just don't get it, do they?

    I feel really angry now. Time to go and kick a blind man.....

  4. Ben Raynes

    I think...

    ... he was probably joking!

    Anyway, I've got to say, while I was against a lot of this biometric data being stored on our ID cards, I don't think an ID card as a whole is a bad idea.

    Having a little bit of plastic that has a verifiable identity on it would certainly be easier to carry round for internal flights and EU flights and what-not than having to carry your passport. Handy for if you need to open a bank account and such as well, or for when you get accosted by the constabulary for taking photos of, well, anything really.

    Most European countries have a COMPULSORY ID card scheme - although they don't have to pay for them - and have for many years. My other half (who is Slovak) has an ID card and uses it when she flies home - no faffing with passports for a start!

    If it hadn't been for the insistence on all this advanced biometric malarky, and the card was just issued as a plastic passport whenever you applied for or renewed, much like the placky drivers licence and the A4 counterpart, it would have been a decent idea.

    That would probably have been too simple though.

    1. Alfred

      @Ben Raynes

      Ben Raynes - "no faffing with passports for a start!"

      What, exactly, is the difference in faff between holding a passport in your hand, and holding a card in your hand? Is the size and weight difference really that much of an issue for you?

      1. Campbeltonian


        If you travel to a country where you are required to have your national ID card or passport on your person at all times, then having a card as opposed to a passport is a significant benefit.

        I carry my driving licence, Oyster card (despite living in Scotland), credit and debit cards and railcard with me at all times simply because they fit in my wallet, but never my passport.

        I opposed the ID card scheme because of the National Identity Register (and associated nonsense such as £1000 fines, etc.), not because of the cards. If, for an extra £30, I could get an additional card for travel to Europe when I renew my passport, I'd probably go for it.

        1. The First Dave


          So if I am a mugger, I get absolutely everything in one go? Cool.

        2. BossHog

          Their problem

          "If you travel to a country where you are required to have your national ID card or passport on your person at all times, then having a card as opposed to a passport is a significant benefit."

          Not really - it's still a document that you have to carry, and makes you into a crook if you lose it.

          At any rate, all your are doing is pointing out how flawed and unreasonable these laws are.... I'd like to say I'll never visit these authoritarian regimes, but there are a lot of them!

      2. Ben Raynes

        I've got nothing better to do...

        ... so I'm going to actual field some responses here. Yes, it's a Friday!

        @Alfred - "What, exactly, is the difference in faff between holding a passport in your hand, and holding a card in your hand? Is the size and weight difference really that much of an issue for you?"

        The difference is nothing more than convenience - the fact that I can put the thing in my wallet and always have it on me, rather than having to scrat around trying to locate my passport is a modest benefit, as is being able to do same and not have to hide the thing away somewhere in a hotel in a foreign land.

        I never claimed it was a *big* benefit.

        @gerryg - "Please try obtaining some context. Read the back story here and elsewhere.

        The point about Labour's ID card was that the plan were for you to need it to walk down the street not leave the country."

        I know the back story and the context. My stated position (elsewhere) has always been "It makes little difference, as if the country is that curious about your habits, they can find it out already." An extra card wouldn't have made the slightest difference.

        And yes, I agree that the walking down the street part of it was completely ridiculous - although you'll note I haven't actually included it in my musings on potential minor benefits in the original post. In some countries however - I know for a fact it used to be the case in Germany - this has been implemented for a long time.

        Oh, and with the bank accounts, Labour only changed it so photo ID was required, rather than preferred. You still needed to tip up with four or five bits of paper to prove your ID and address because of money laundering laws. Nothing else really changed there - I remember opening a joint-account a few years ago for paying bills with my flatmate being a bit of an affair.

        @Richard 39 - "Internal flights - Driving License perhaps?

        Bank account - Driving License perhaps?

        and the icing on the cake

        "easier to carry ... than having to carry your passport" etc."

        I'm not sure if your photocard licence is suitable for internal flights (within the UK) - it's been a long long time since I had to take one. It's certainly not accepted for flights to elsewhere in the EU. Your point about the bank account is valid, although counterproductive as if you're happy to carry a photo drivers licence, why not another bit of plastic with a slightly different function? Especially as the photo drivers licence actually means nothing without the counterpart paper.

        As for the entry visa to the US, well, they have a labyrinthine system at the best of times. Nothing the UKGov can do about that. In this case, you'd only replace the card with the actual paper passport, so you're not INCREASING the number at all, you're just not DECREASING it.

        @Campbelltonian - I see at least one person sees my point. Thanks!

        @CynicalObserver - "In all those countries that stamp a visa on a PAGE in your passport. (Or as in Turkey, they affix a nice paper stamp - not dissimilar to a postage stamp, and then cancel that)

        Where does that go on the plastic card?"

        You OBVIOUSLY (or, perhaps, deliberately) missed the part of my post where i said "internal and EU" flights. But don't let that get in the way of a perfectly irrelevent comment.

        I'm also going to refer you back to the part where I said the biometric nonsense was completely unneccessary as well, just for good measure, and the part where I suggested if it just got issued as PART of your passport instead of a replacement for everything etc. etc.

        Sometimes, and in some jobs, it's handy to have Government backed ID such as this and the driver's licence. Sometimes, you might need more than one bit of ID. The associated National Identity Database and what-have-you was the part of it that had people up in arms.

    2. gerryg

      You must be new here

      Please try obtaining some context. Read the back story here and elsewhere.

      The point about Labour's ID card was that the plan were for you to need it to walk down the street not leave the country.

      And as for opening a bank account, the Labour party created the requirement for a passport to create the opportunity for the ID card. It's called "softening up". And how many bank accounts do you open in a month, not on line, not with banks sharing information so the account can be opened automatically?

    3. Richard 39

      RE: I Think...

      "Having a little bit of plastic that has a verifiable identity on it would certainly be easier to carry round for internal flights and EU flights and what-not than having to carry your passport. Handy for if you need to open a bank account and such as well"

      Internal flights - Driving License perhaps?

      Bank account - Driving License perhaps?

      and the icing on the cake

      "easier to carry ... than having to carry your passport"

      ok then, well consider this.

      I went to America and the list of documents/papers I took are -

      Parking stub for the long term parking

      pre-booked parking booking reference paper

      online e-ticket

      boarding pass

      hotel information

      reference of my visa (or equivalent)

      pen (to fill out the immigration forms before entering the USA)



      all carried on my person.

      Now all of these items combined makes for quite a bundle so having the space taken up by my passport being reduced to that the size of a credit card is pointless as it wont do anything to remove the need for all the other bits of information I need (and no you cant fold all those bits of paper up and put them in your wallet). IF (big if) the ID card allowed me to travel without the need for all this extra dead tree offcuts then and only then would I have ever considered the ID to have any actual use for me.

    4. Cynical Observer

      And outside Europe

      In all those countries that stamp a visa on a PAGE in your passport. (Or as in Turkey, they affix a nice paper stamp - not dissimilar to a postage stamp, and then cancel that)

      Where does that go on the plastic card?

      Ah! Still need passport ... well then sod the ID card, one document is enough.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Country that requires you to carry ID

        When I go to any country, I leave my ID locked away. If some busybody of an official asks for my ID, I won't have it. I really don't care what the rules are - the ID that got me into the country is not going to be lifted by a pickpocket just to meet some arse requirement bureaucrats have drawn up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          So what you say is

          You don't care about the local laws of the place you visit?

          But when someone comes to your country and ignores the law, you'll be whining about them

  5. Richard Jukes
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Nice to see that the author is not a biased Labour voter. The term 'ConDem' may indeed be derogatory, however I belive its quite apt. We were subjected to 13 years of Labour misgovernment and now its taking a coalition to sort out this condemned country.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    If only he really had wanted an entitlement card, or weren't so completely incompetent to see that what he got us certainly wasn't that, and worse, didn't catch on to the fact when it was repeatedly pointed out to him and the rest.

    If only, then I would have had some sympathy left for this utter and complete failure. Now, I think him getting sued for UKP 257M is getting off too lightly. He's certainly not the only one; elsewhere people of his ilk are still in power.

  7. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    I'll give him £30 for it

    eBay, here I come.

    Seriously, though, Blunkett is a few bricks short of a full load. He comes up with the idea for ID cards and the intrusive NIR. He wanted them to be compulsory. He wanted people to pay £30 for something most of them didn't want.

    Now he wants a refund on a charge *he* imposed on himself.

    He's wackier than Jacqui.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Are they still charging people if they don't update their details?

    Not that I'd ever encorage anyone to do anything silly, but...

    During the interview he also revealed that the secret question that he had chosen was what was the name of your first pet, and that his first pet had been a budgie called Bimbo.

    He said he wasn't sure what use it would be to anyone now the scheme has been anounced as being scrapped, but since it hasn't yet, I feel that he might be a bit premature in revealing that little titbit.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Pound to a penny...

      ...that Bimbo was his govt password recovery question when he was Home Sec. Isn't it wonderful to think that State secrets could possibly have been protected by a budgie.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Security Question...

    DB went on to reveal that his first Pet was a budgie called Bimbo... quite why he thought he needed to tell everyone I have no idea!

  10. chr0m4t1c

    An entitlement card you say?

    Well that all makes perfect sense now.

    I can see exactly why I would need to give over thumbprints, retina scans, DNA, etc, etc. if it allows me to take out some library books or visit my doctor.

    And all for the paltry sum of £30. As long as I already have an £80 passport.

    Yes, that's much better than what happens now and not in the least bit overkill for those tasks.


  11. Paul 25

    "it won't change anything for anyone out there"

    If cancelling the ID card scheme "won't change anything for anyone out there" it rather implies that the whole idea was rather pointless, doesn't it?

    And I'm sorry, but you do not need some über-database in order to provide an ID card the is sufficient for travel in Europe or to control access to public services.

    They (the politicos and journalists) keep missing the fact that my objection (and many others) was not to a voluntary ID card, after all my driving license already gives me that, it was to the database and the amount of data that was to be collected and then made available to so many petty bureaucrats.

    They had some muppet who had paid for one on the Today programme this morning claiming it was useful because he could open a bank account with it, although he still needed his driving license to prove where he lived. So just like using a passport and driving license then to open a bank account then.

    If you want an id card that lets you travel in Europe we can still have that, just upgrade the driving license, or provide a card version of the passport. You don't need an über-database for any of that.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Out of Pocket ?

    Can’t believe he didn’t pay for it on expenses

    1. Piro

      Slip of the tongue

      Of course it was on expenses. He wants to give the 30 quid back to the public finances. How kind.

  13. Geoff Campbell

    "I wanted an 'entitlement card'"

    Never a truer word said by any politician, anywhere, I feel....


  14. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


    He should sue the parliamentary Labour Party, and they can recover costs form the person whose idea it was...

  15. Chris Byers

    And they wonder why they lost the election!

    And the Labour party wonder why they lost the last election so horribly. Well, that and the huge financial mismanagement of the economy, increase in the states interference in our lives, and the attempt to turn us into a failed soviet style state which they almost had us all stubling blindly into. Not Blunkett though, he was there anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @And they wonder why they lost the election!

      Yes, they make the Tory Govt. that lost in '97 look positively benign and competent. I think I'll still be flabbergasted by them 20 years from now. I don't think I'll ever quite believe it even when I'm on my deathbed.

  16. Greg J Preece

    Did he just admit it was pointless?

    >>He criticised the new government for scrapping the scheme, warning "it won't change anything for anyone out there".

    If scrapping it won't change anything, will keeping it change anything?

    And if it won't, then it's a waste of money, and should be scrapped. Am I missing something?

  17. Chris_B


    Did he actually buy the card with his own money or did it go through on expenses I wonder ?

    1. Steve Evans


      There really should be a way us the tax payer can audit the govt and sort out all the back handers and miss management. Has the man really forgotten that he was once the Home Secretary so is therefore partially responsible for this fiasco?

  18. TkH11

    Bad design

    The ID card was a complete joke. Take a look at it. The card itself is plastered with information on the front and reverse sides of the card with biometric information stored within.

    By placing information on the outside of the card which can change you immediately create a requirement to re-issue the cards when the information goes out of date.

    The cost of this whole mechanism would have added tens of millions to the running costs of the scheme, most of which I'm sure would have been paid by Joe Public in direct fees to have the card re-issued and the rest would have also been paid by Joe Public in the form of taxes which are then paid to the not so-civil civil servants being gainfully employed in handling the changed information.

    Ah, so not everyone has a card reader and they need the information on the outside of the card?

    Rubbish. Card readers are everywhere these days, even battery powered and portable with wireless connections.

    Stick one in your cop car, stick one in your benefits office, stick one in your local hospital, stick one in the immigration office and in Customs at the airport..

    Let's face it, Labour didn't understand technology and never ever will.

    Personally, I think the problem is the lack of technical people in the political classes. Too many lawyers, accountants and not much else. And far too many people with degrees in History that ran this country into the ground.

  19. ElFatbob
    Thumb Down


    annoyed over £30? More like he's pissed off his pork barrel's been taken off him.

  20. TkH11

    Financial Saving

    So scrapping the ID card system isn't worth it because it wil only save 86million quid?

    Given the state of the country's finances, we're going to have to save every quid wherever we can, sure, cutting large capital projects will gain us a few quick wins to eat into the mountain of debt, but we'll soon be scratching around trying to save the odd million here there and everywhere. We will have to.

    Saving 86 million quid when you're almost bankrupt is necessary. Perhaps Blunkett doesn't understand money to well. Not to mention the year on year savings in running costs

    Perhaps Labour didn't understand money too well and is the reason why we are in the serious financial mess we are in. What they did to this country was dispicable. The truth is now starting to come out as the new government uncover what has really been going on behind those closed doors in Whitehall.

    Admittedly, the ID card issue isn't just about money, it's about putting right the gradual erosion of our civil liberties which Labour inexorably dug away at, quite intentionally, as a way to monitor and control the people in a form of Stalinism but dressed up deceivingly as anti-terrorism. Because that's exactly what it was. Why else would ContactPoint database need to store records on every child in the country when all that is needed are records for those that are on the at-risk register with social services?

  21. Ian K
    Big Brother

    Blunkett also pointed to the relatively small saving....

    ....£86m over four years - that will be made.

    That number's only "small" because that's the direct government spend - the rest of the cost was going to be covered by charging people for the supply of the ID Card itself and ongoing update of the National Identity Register.

    Which is pretty typical of NuLab thinking; set up an (ideally) compulsory system, charge people for it at the point of supply, then claim it's really cheap because there's not much showing up on the public expenditure books.

    Bleedin' fraudsters.

  22. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Big Brother


    He wanted an "entitlement card", eh?

    "The bearer of this card is entitled to..... Social services. Legal advice. Medical assistance." Surely those are the rights of a citizen? Why attach it to a card?

    Ah... so it can be taken away perhaps? Or perhaps instead it was a way to measure the differences in entitlement between one citizen and another? Because, surely if we all had the SAME entitlements we would NEED a card to denote what entitlements we had?

    "Platinum Citizen Cards are required to access this facility and it's services. Bronze Citizen Card holders will be turned away."

    1984 was a warning, not a guidebook. The same goes for Brave New World.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      small savings

      And there are all the contracts that NuLab setup before getting the boot. All with big fat cancellation fees I bet. You can't save money they already spent.

    2. BongoJoe

      Change of status

      When exactly did we become 'citizens'?

      We used to be Subiects of Her Majesty and not citizens of the state. Was this another insideous change by nuLabour?

  23. dave 93

    An entitlement card is not a bad idea, really

    Having to produce photo ID when you access state benefits or state health care sound like common sense, doesn't it? As a taxpayer it is nice to think that there is a check before dishing out cash and services to people.

    For example, my wife was working as a GP in Luton when she noticed that she was filling in the same address a lot, and a quick look in the files revealed 60 people using the same residential address that didn't even exist.

    I don't live in the UK any more, but where I do live, everybody has to register their address at the police station, and that form is used everywhere from banks to doctors to the tax office to confirm that you are who you say you are. Sounds bad, but actually makes life a lot easier because you only need that one form and not a bunch of utility bills, or even worse,for taxpayers footing the bills, nothing at all.

    I recon Blunkett's ID card would go for more than 30 quid on ebay!

  24. Matt Hawkins

    ID Cards Are Simply A Stupid Waste Of Money

    Most people committing benefit fraud are quite happy to do it in their own name. How exactly will an ID card stop them? Proving who they are is not the problem.

    Same with terrorists.

    Illegal immigrants are hardly going to be bothered by ID cards ... they already travel fairly light in terms of official documentation. That is why they are illegal. Its simple really. Unless you are a nu-labour drone.

    I just love the way the Labour government kept changing its mind over the justification of ID cards. Terrorism, benefit fraud, illegal immigrants, under-age drinking, buying cheese, getting into nightclubs ... they tried them all.

    Great to see them arguing over history. Idiots.

  25. dogged

    How about

    We give him a Tesco Clubcard istead? He won't know.

    1. dpg21


      So tell me, in this ID card nirvana of yours do the police get to take away ID cards of 'trouble makers'? A very, very effective form of population control is to take away access to doctors, hospitals or banks on the whim of a police officer. No judges or courts or appeals.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Tesco Clubcard? Don't be ridiculous. Tesco Clubcards are useful.

  26. Steven Jones

    Mini passport

    For those who want to carry a mini ID card rather than a passport (and I can understand wanting a credit card-sized bit of ID) then maybe the passport authorities ought to consider issuing such a thing with the full-sized passport. I'm sure they could agree with the relevant European authorities that it could be used as a piece of personal ID.

    1. Oz

      Re: Mini passport

      And that was the basic problem with the ID card as it was. Large numbers of places both inside and outside the UK were refusing to take it as a legitimate source of proof of identity. You couldn't even guarantee who would or would not take it, so you have to carry your passport as well - a waste of £30, and a whole lot more cash wasted by the government. I'm not sure that a photo Passport would fare much better?

  27. Velv Silver badge

    Entitlement Card

    You carry the card to prove you are a citizen of the country and therefore entitled to those library books, doctors visit, unemployment benefit, etc,


    (sorry for shouting, but I guess whoever is readin this to Mr Blunkett can add the correct emphasis)

  28. heyrick Silver badge

    Can we...

    ...remove him from the gene pool?

  29. blackworx
    Big Brother

    Not to prevent terrorism?

    So his wish for "an entitlement card" being granted in the wake of 9/11 was pure coincidence?

    What a cunt.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £257M ??

    If only it were such a trivial amount. I don't know where you got that figure from but even Alastair Campbell wouldn't have the brass neck to try and sell that figure to the masses. The actual current figure is in the region of £5bn with projected increases that would dwarf this.


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