In the long battle over ID cards, the argument that they would tackle terrorism was abandoned long ago. Now Home Secretary Charles Clarke is quoted as saying that “the cards would help tackle serious and organised crime, although not street crime.”
With the actual benefits of ID cards seemingly disappearing before our eyes like chilled pints of Stella on a hot summer day, Clarke has apparently thought of a new reason why we should sign up for their introduction.
Mr Clarke hit out at civil liberties’ fears, stressing: “There would be no compulsion on anybody to show their ID card in the street.” They would also help people identify themselves and help attack the “Big Brother society” where a lot of information was already held about people, he said.
Quite brilliant. In one fell swoop, Clarke has taken on the criticism that ID cards could infringe our civil liberties by arguing that the cards would actually act as a guard against just such a development. Genius.
Presumably, if this tactic doesn’t work it will next be revealed that there are other hitherto unforseen benefits of ID cards; that they are vital in tackling global warming, or in making poverty history. Who knows? They may be required in finding the cure for the common cold.
Personally, I would be happy if Mr Clarke could just explain, if there is already a fear about our personal information being kept on databases all over the place, how can yet another database of information possibly remedy the situation?