As marc brought to my attention, whatever is in a manifesto is basicially gifted through the parliamentary process (a fact of which I was shamefully unaware). And guess what? ‘Voluntary’ compulsory ID cards are in the New LAbour Manifesto.
So, as earlier reported, the government plans to add fingerprints to passports, sometime after 2006. And, to save on government wastage, obviously, and not for any sinister big-brotherish reasons, it makes sense to take those fingerprint records and use them as the foundation for an ID card. Obviously.
A Labour Party spokesman told us first: “It’s voluntary. You don’t have to carry it.” This seemed doubtful to us, but we asked if, in that case, you were still going to be registered for an ID card when you registered for a passport. He said he’d call us back.
Later, he explained that ID cards would initially be “piggybacking” on passports, and that you would be offered an ID card along with your passport. Which, we suggested, you could always refuse? But you’d still be registered for an ID card, right? Possibly. He conceded that the data collected for passports would be pretty similar to the data collected for ID cards, but pointed out that “we’re not at the stage of having worked out all the details of how it would work. But it would work at passport renewal.”
We suspect that it is “voluntary” in the sense that it is a matter of personal choice whether or not you want to have a passport, and that if you choose not to have a passport, nobody will force you to register for an ID card until, er, they do. We’ve heard this somewhere before.
Well, if it’s voluntary in the sense that you don’t really have to have a passport, then I’m quids in. Irish passports all the way, and you can take your Blunkett inspired fingerprinting scheme, wrap it in tinfoil and stick it so far up your arse that you can taste tin when you vomit.
If you don’t currently have the possibility of carrying a non-UK passport, may I suggest that you start the genealogy reseach now? Irish passports are available to all those who have a parent or grandparent born in Ireland, which means either the south (post 1921) or anywhere on the island (before 1921).
Just so you know.