Re: Could someone please explain me this British anti-ID obsession?
the Dutch example you make is utterly, utterly irrelevant. The Dutch central records helped the Nazis identify many Jews. True. But, even if you are worried about something similar happening in the UK in the 21st century, well, ID cards would not store any sensitive information like race, religion or political affiliations.
There are certain pieces of information which simply MUST be stored (tax records, birth certificates, DVLA records, etc); if a V-for-Vendetta-like dictatorship were to come to power in the UK and wanted to target specific minorities, it would have an excellent chance of doing so by relying on these existing records and, for example, make very educated guesses on people's origins and backgrounds by looking at their names. It doesn't take a genius, for example, to come up with ways to determine if a surname is likely to be Irish/Italian/German/African/Hispanic etc. Of course every instance of data collection lends itself to potential abuses. I'm just saying that ID cards would not result in any additional dangers compared to the current situation. And no, the alternative is not to avoid storing that data altogether, as that would result in pure anarchy. Of course if you want to believe that having data scattered across HMRC, the Police, the DVLA etc is such a great defence measure, well, be my guest, but you're deluding yourself.
It is also most irrelevant whether ID cards were historically introduced by oppressive regimes. One must look at the current situation, see through the bull**** and distinguish theory and practice.
The UK formally requires no ID (but de facto does: try getting by without a driving licence or a passport!), but has one of the highest number of CCTVs installed in the world, many transactions are logged (e.g. Travel for London tracks and logs our every movement, when we enter and exit each station etc) and commercial, private, for-profit credit reference agencies have such a detailed access to our sensitive financial information that it would be every dictator's dream.
By contrast, in many other European countries where IDs were historically introduced by oppressive regimes, there are way fewer CCTVs, many more transactions can be done with cash, transportation companies don't monitor citizens' every moves the way TFL or British rail companies do, credit reference agencies do not have such a pervasive presence, etc. I ask you again: which of the two poses a bigger threat to privacy and freedom?
If anti-ID groups were really keen on addressing all the huge threats to privacy currently present in the UK, I could understand it. But when someone focuses only on the (wrongly) perceived potential risks of ID cards, ignoring the many other threats which are real and current in the UK (but no so much in may countries which use the much-despised ID cards), well, that's like sticking your hand in the sand.
Finally, as for tangible benefits, even if you're happy with the current bureaucratic procedures which require super-easy-to-fake banking and utility statements for pretty much anything, you cannot deny that ID cards would be extremely useful when travelling to other European countries, since most European countries require foreigners to carry some form of ID, especially when driving, and driving licences are not accepted for this purpose.
PS I haven't had the pleasure of an answer: do those who oppose ID cards really think that the UK doesn't require identification documents? In which case I'd be delighted to hear an explanation of how they manage to open a bank account, collect a parcel or start a new job without a passport or a driving licence. Or do they think there is something wrong in a system which formally requires no ID but makes life impossible for those who really don't have any?