Questions Unanswered about Issue of ID Cards
N a political climate where tackling terrorism is at the top of the agenda, the introduction of some sort of an ident-ity document has had an air of inevitability about it.
The issues have been discussed and debated at length inside Parliament and outside, and Parliament has made a democratic decision.
That's not to say there are no problems with the introduction of the cards. The issue of cost is yet to be resolved - and has degenerated into an unseemly spat between Ministers and one of Britain's leading universities - and anyone who has followed the sorry tale of major Government computing projects will have little confidence the ID cards scheme will be without a few glitches.
Prime Minister Tony Blair says the Government has 'won the argument' on ID cards, feeling that the public has been convinced that, on the issue of data held by the state there is little more on an ID card than there is on a passport. Ministers feel the anti-fraud line has also helped swing the debate their way, but it is more likely that the intervention of the House of Lords may have done more to dampen down any row.
The Lords have managed to persuade the Government that a new Act of Parliament will be necessary before the cards become compulsory. That debate is now kicked well into the long grass - until after the next election, at least, when Gordon Brown or even the anti-ID cards David Cameron will be Prime Minister. …