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
    Joke

    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
    Flame

    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

        Belgium

        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

          @Campbeltonian

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

        2. BossHog
          Stop

          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
      FAIL

      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)

      and

      passport

      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
      FAIL

      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
        FAIL

        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
    Go

    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
      Alert

      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
    Boffin

    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
    Coat

    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.

    Muppet.

  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
    Alert

    Out of Pocket ?

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

    1. Piro
      Pint

      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
    Go

    "I wanted an 'entitlement card'"

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

    GJC

  14. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Maybe

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

  15. Chris Byers
    FAIL

    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

    Expenses?

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

    1. Steve Evans

      Exactly!

      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

    smokescreen..

    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

    Entitlement?

    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
      WTF?

      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
    Welcome

    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
    Megaphone

    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
      Stop

      Nirvana?

      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
      Pint

      Clubcards

      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
      Stop

      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
    FAIL

    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,

    WHY NOT JUST STOP THE UNENTITLED FROM ENTERING THE COUNTRY IN THE FIRST PLACE

    (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.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we...

    ... just give him a cheese grater to read?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      £5bn?

      No it isn't.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    where's the title gone?

    @Ben Raynes "Most European countries have a COMPULSORY ID card scheme" - most european countries were invaded by Germany <waves at Godwin>. Not having ID cards and officious little twats on every street corner is about freedom. You know, that thing (great?) grandad fought for. Kids these days...

    re the "If you travel to a country where you are required to have your national ID card or passport on your person at all times" meme: how about going somewhere nice? Or taking a chance you won't get picked up? Or telling them you no speaka da lingo? Or telling them you're a free born Englishman?

    Lest we forget, blind boy Blunkett is the methodist lay preacher who fathered a kid on his mistress, and then had the gall to go for access!

  33. Tim 3

    Too expensive

    They could have rolled out ID cards by making learners driving permits a 10 year permanent form of ID adding the biometric gubbins on there. I wonder how much that would have cost? Or maybe have a passport card for your wallet to go with the traditional form factor for travelling outside Europe, to be included in the current price.

    I'm sure neither of these would have cost £4.5+ Billion and then most people would have been automatically carrier of the ID card quickly, or certainly within the 10 year period in which their existing ID will expire.

    As for an entitlement card what happens if you're mugged and it lands you in the hospital, are you not entitled to treatment? If you're stopped on the street without your wallet are you not entitled to avoid prison? Would you have needed it when catching a bus?

    Having an ID scheme in Russia didn't stop terrorism, so why will it work here?

    1. Number6

      Long-term roll-out

      Some of us still have an old non-photo licence. Until I move house or it expires I see no reason to change.

  34. Andy Livingstone

    How does he know it's not just a blank bit of plastic?

    Well?

  35. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Blunket Driving Licence

    Not entirely sure that Blunkett having a driving licence is a great boost to public safety.

    Wasn't the whole point of the ID card scheme that he was sulking because he couldn't have a DL?

  36. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I'm David Blunket - and so's my wife

    Now that we know the details on Blunket's card and his security question couldn't we all just apply for a David Blunket card?

    The point of the card is to prove that we aren't foreign or a terrorist - which David Blunket isn't.

    So if everyone has a David Blunket card we will all be safe!

  37. N2 Silver badge

    Total utter wankers

    What a jerk, as if he diddnt make enough out of being an 'advisor' a term I use in the loosest possible sense.

    I dare say that the entire Labour front bench have pissed trillions down the drain & no chance of getting any of it back and Gordon Clown the biggest waster of all with his foolish selling of our gold at its lowest price ever.

  38. Alfie Noakes
    Pint

    payback time!

    Maybe he has a point? Perhaps we should keep the ID card system in place just for the likes of Blindgett and his type who need to fly to a very limited number of countries or "open a bank account" on a regular basis.

    We could then avoid the various contract cancellation charges (although scale things back quite a lot) and in ten years time (or should he change his address or phone number, far sooner) we can divide the running costs (circa £17B i believe) by the number of card holders and charge him said amount for renewal!

    ...and do the same in another ten years, and another ten years ;)

    What a stupid twunt!

  39. Shady
    Megaphone

    Entitlement Card?

    Why doesn't he become one of Labour's beloved? An umemployable thug with a drug or drink problem and a pram load of illegitimate children in tow?

    Then he'd have been entitle to everything!

    1. Jim Morrow
      Paris Hilton

      fuck me! we have a daily express/heil reader!!

      > Gordon Clown the biggest waster of all with his foolish selling of our gold at its lowest price ever.

      Yes, Brown is/was an arsehole and good riddance to him and his shitty government. However this "selling our gold on the cheap" bollocks is self-righteous bullshit that defies common sense. It depends on hindsight because it uses information that's known now (today's gold price) that couldn't have been known then. Or is it part of the job description for our government overlords that they have the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy?

      Unless you worked at the Treasury N2, you will not be aware of all the factors that were considered before gold and currency reserves get sold. Presumably those decisions will be the right ones given the information available AT THAT TIME. It's also very likely that the civil servants and master of the universe bankers recommend these sales or approved them. And there was consensus for that. It won't be a decision made by one individual in isolation. Democracies have mature processes and procedures to prevent that. Even Brown wouldn't have been stupid enough to decide to sell the gold without getting expert advice beforehand.

      I wonder if the retards who write this "selling gold on the cheap" wanky tosh ever say to themselves "if only I held on/sold my shares/house/whatever instead of selling/keeping them just before the price went sky-high/down the toilet". Perhaps these fuckwits and the morons who swallow their bullshit will blame Brown for not time-travelling to get next week's lottery results and then coming back to buy the winning ticket for that draw. Sheesh!

      Paris icon 'cos she's not dumb enough to read the Daily Diana or Daily Heil and believe the utter shite they print. Besides everyone knows it was asylum seekers and foreign paparazzi on motorcycles that forced Brown to sell the gold.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        That gold again

        "Unless you worked at the Treasury N2, you will not be aware of all the factors that were considered before gold and currency reserves get sold. Presumably those decisions will be the right ones given the information available AT THAT TIME. It's also very likely that the civil servants and master of the universe bankers recommend these sales or approved them"

        You are assuming they did that in the interest of the country, but there is only one solution - GET IT PUBLIC. Practically anyone with a functional brain advised against it at the time, so it would be worth knowing WTF drove them to be this stupid. It's not like they left the UK with a pile of money now they have been thrown out.

        Until that time I concur with the people who stated at the time that it was a VERY, VERY bad idea. It still is just that, with hindsight.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Where is our £257m Mr.Blunkett ? Come on pay up, your desire to spend our money to control everyone has cost us and we are entitled to be repaid for the cost of your bad deeds.

    1. David McMahon
      Thumb Up

      Yeah

      Subheading got it right, smug even out of government, No Labour vote for me until front bench goes.

  41. DaveB
    WTF?

    Hang on a minute

    I bet that David Blunket got his card, along with other members of the then great and the good, as part of the initial roll out.

    I bet no £30 changed hands in order for him to get his card.

    So first I would like "proof of purchase" , if not then.....

    His assertion that he will sue for his 30 quid back is obtaining money by false pretences.

    Which is standard on last years Members of Parliament.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Expenses?

      OK, you assertion seems to suggest it probably that he got it for free, but still expensed it :-).

      The ID Card scheme had some good drivers (NHS numbers were and still are a complete heaving mess), but the problem started when the good intentions had to align with the evidently very bad ones of the people involved.

      Feasibility study: yeah, sure, let it be done by the same people that are likely to get the job. Anyone who believes in Chinese walls at this level of income needs his naivety surgically removed.

      Costs: if you allow the people who are going to charge you to set the price you will pay, or rather WE will pay. The people who built it were organised so badly that those, say £1500/day consultants set on their rear ends for weeks, to the point where some asked to be taken off the project (but weren't allowed). So it started off as a heaving mess, sucking up money well before there was a semblance of a plan, but surely there is..

      Supervision? Well, the nominal role of the NAO is to check that such abuse doesn't occur. The only problem is that friends don't hurt friends. It's easy to rig an audit: brief the interviewees beforehand, and use college leavers as auditors.

      Most of the people that seriously cashed in on that scam have retired, so good luck catching them now.

      There are ways of doing identity documents properly, but you'll need a couple of people who keep an eye on the original concept, and slightly less than 99% of people solely interested in scraping as much money out of the treasury as possible. It is needed, but it needs to be done right.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        AC@16:34

        It would make the UK match *most* of the rest of Europe. But needed?

        And if some kind of ID is "needed" is the National Identity Register "needed" as well.

        The comment the UK ID card would provide more comprehensive surveillance than *any* other country *including* China, and that most descriptions of European systems indicate they operate at regional level within a country at *most* suggest (fairly strongly) it is not.

        Given he UK's *very* high level of surveillance and ID requirements for doing *anything* in public life I would suggest this is a non solution to a non problem. Unless your "problem" is how to monitor the movements and abilities (in terms of driving licenses etc) of *everyone* in a country from cradle to grave.

        Put that way does it sound more like a paranoid control freaks wet dream?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it really?

    ""I don't believe anybody's surveilled anything that they didn't already know about me.""

    Does it really say he's a twisted little prick on his ID card?

  43. Dennis
    Big Brother

    Re: Entitlement?

    "He wanted an "entitlement card", eh?"

    Now why did I read that as "Internment Card" ?

    I am not a number, I am a free man.

    If they give me a number I am prisoner.

  44. Ashley Stevens

    Whip round?

    How about a Reg-reader whip-round to raise 30 quid for the blind guy? I'm sure there's many who'd happily donate a quid or two not to have to have an ID card and it should be enough to get him a new white stick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How about...

      ...we all post him a dog turd?

  45. 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?

  46. Warhorse

    Hmmm....

    Blunkett don't need an id card, whenever anybody sees him they will think "Here's that idiot that thinks id cards are a good idea".

  47. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    tell him

    to go forth and fornicate.

    No hold on, he's already done that.

    And in any case if some jumped up community liason officer( aka plastic policeman) stopped me in the street and demanded my identity card, he'd get the same message.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's Your Tescos Club Card You Dimwit!

    How can he tell that he's got an ID card? It could be another type of card. As far as I know they never did braille for ID cards, so if he's rubbing his fingers over the card to work out what it is then he needs to be rubbing something else.....

    ....Paris comes to mind, I can't think why.

  49. Badbob
    FAIL

    I got one....

    Purely for convenience. It's quite handy for EU travel (it's a rare occurence for me to go outside the EU, in which case I would need a visa anyway). I've never had a problem when using it and all operators I have used (AirFrance Régional, bmi, BA, Eurotunnel, P&O) have taken it without issue. Some EU countries do also require you to have your passport or national identity card on you at all times, so forgive me if I think something that slots in my wallet is a tad more convenient than a ruddy gert book.

    I see it as less of an ID card, and more of a small passport. In fact, my drivers licence has more visible sensitive information on it. Someone get's my drivers licence, they also get my address. The only visible useful info on my ID card is Name and Date/Place of Birth and let's face it. The average street mugger doesn't have any interest in trying to access biometric data or would even know how to pass this information on. I would be far more concerned about my Credit/Debit cards and Drivers Licence falling into their hands.

    It is not, and should never be compulsory. Even Labour knew they would never get away with making it compulsory. If you don't want one, don't get one. But given the sums spent on it, I think the ConDem's are wasting an even more obscene amount of cash by scrapping it purely out of spite.

    I probably won't fight to get my £30 back, because it's not a battle I have any chance of winning. But please Dave/Nick, can we at least look at introducing a small passport for EU travel, because I'm not sure my actual passport will last for much longer in my pocket.

  50. Mr Sceptical
    Stop

    @Jim Morrow - no hindsight required!

    Actually, | recall at the time several articles pointing out it was bloody stupid to announce to the World + dog the UK was about to flog half its gold reserve.

    Other nations sold some of theirs at around the same time, but had the good sense not to announce it first and drip fed it into the market.

    Brown's stupidity was to dump it in one go, thereby getting the worst possible price - same as happens when there's a surplus of oil on the market > price goes down, simple economics of supply & demand. Doesn't take a genius to work that out, and as I recall GB went against the direct advice of the Treasury...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    There is

    not enough money in the country to be able to have id cards, the last government wasted it on 2 jags for some people and expenses.

    You would have to be blind not to be able to see that.

  52. tr7v8
    Happy

    Schaedenfraude in my view

    Surely he must have seen this coming......

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