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Thursday, July 9, 2009

I reported earlier on the continuing encroachment on freedom in Europe. I now have the pleasure to write that the UK has, at the least, postponed its march towards a more authoritarian form of government. (I will have more on the ideological spectrum in a later post).

The UK's new home secretary, Alan Johnson, will not make ID cards mandatory for UK citizens. However, the long-term contract to produce the ID cards has only been delayed, not canceled, with production now scheduled to begin in 2011 or 2012.

Fortunately, the resurgent Conservative Party has publicly promised to abolish the program altogether if they win the next general election. The Liberal Democrats (completely different meaning in the UK) also reject the mandatory ID cards but lack the popular support to win the next general election.

While this is a positive step, everything may not be fine if the Labour Party remains in power. The Party will be unlikely to completely scrap a program for which they publicly lobbied and supported. Additionally, the Financial Times reports:

Mr Johnson said on Tuesday he was an “instinctive” supporter of ID cards and announced plans to extend a voluntary scheme in Manchester to the rest of the north-west. The cards would be useful for young people to provide proof of age and for tackling antisocial behaviour [emphasis added].
The British spelling of "behavior" aside, it is not the proper role of government to legislate morality.

Posted by Eleutherian

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1 Responses to UK Postpones Mandatory ID Cards for All Citizens

  1. I'd be willing to wager the ID program dies out, even if Labour stays in power.

    The main reason they switched to a voluntary model (at least as I understand the issue) was that the program had been an absolute disaster with regards to management - most notably the failure to buy any of the scanners needed to read the cards (http://questingforatlantis.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/the-freedom-report-27/).

    I'd wager that by keeping the program voluntary it'll have low enough adoption rates to make it unfeasible and it'll be quietly scrapped. Might even be the case that Labour did the switch to voluntary as the first step of a quiet phase-out in order to save face.


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