Blair on ID Cards

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, The Right Dishonourable Tony Blair still thinks his pernicious ID cards scheme is a good idea and in the Telegraph today he continues to tell us why

I had hoped that the mendacious rapscallion would have gone by now, but, no, like a blockage in the soil pipe, the malodorous stench reminds us that he is still there festering away…

The case for ID cards is a case not about liberty but about the modern world.

Here we go, the old “modern world” bollocks again. The case is all about liberty. His scheme will remove it.

Biometrics give us the chance to have secure identity

Sigh… This would be the biometrics that government experiments proved to be so unreliable, would it? Let me make this clear; my identity is just that, mine. It is not yours, it is not the state’s, it is mine and mine alone. It is up to me to decide who will be privy to information about that identity. I will not, absolutely not, be fingerprinted like a criminal in order to satisfy your obsessive control freakery. This is not negotiable – and, looking at some of the comments on the Telegraph piece, I am not alone.

I am not claiming ID cards, and the national identity database that will make them effective, are a complete solution to these complex problems.

That’s because they aren’t a solution to anything. Indeed, they are a solution that has been desperately seeking a problem to solve ever since the egregious Blunkett first revived the idea post 9/11.

That is the tactic of opponents who suggest that, if their introduction is unable to prevent all illegal immigration or every terrorist outrage, they are somehow worthless.

We don’t suggest that. You are an idiot and this comment confirms it. We are opposed because they will make minimal or no contribution to the prevention of terrorism, illegal immigration or whatever the problem du jour is, while causing maximum inconvenience and invasion of privacy for the law abiding citizen. They will reverse the relationship between you, the representative of the sate (servant) and us, the electorate (master). I recommend that you remind yourself of this principle. I do not intend to serve you or prove to you who I am, because it is none of your business.

Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition.

Indeed. And if I do not wish to participate, I can decline. There is a significant difference between private companies and state control. That difference being “choice”.

Visitors to the United States now digitally record their fingerprint

Which is why I will not be travelling to the States. Again, I choose not to participate.

A national identity system will have direct benefits in making our borders more secure and countering illegal immigration.

You have no idea how many illegals are in the country, you disingenuous prick. We are an island. Do you really think people will enter illegally through ports when they can come ashore anywhere along our coastline undetected and once here just disappear into the black economy? If you do, then you are a bigger fool than I took you for and that will be going some.

I also want to see ID cards made compulsory for all non-EU foreign nationals looking for work and when they get a National Insurance number. This will enable us, for the first time, to check accurately those coming into our country, their eligibility to work, for free hospital treatment or to claim benefits.

Sigh, you really do believe your own rhetoric, don’t you? Those who wish to evade the system will do so – see above.

I am convinced, as are our security services, that a secure identity system will help us counter terrorism and international crime.

Bollocks. Within weeks of this scheme going live the black market will be flooded with fakes.

It will also help us tackle the problem of identity fraud, which already costs £1.7 billion annually – a figure that has increased by 500 per cent in recent years.

Liar! That figure is manufactured by the home office and bears no relationship to identity fraud. You’ve been called on this before. I will keep calling you on it. Identity fraud does not cost £1.7bn annually.

Building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.

Given that forged cards will be a matter of greasing the appropriate palm and the system will be the typical government IT fuck up, forging a new identity will be much simpler than now. The cards will not be routinely checked against the central system because not everyone asking to see them will have access, nor will they want to. If they do, the inevitable false positives and negatives caused by the unreliable biometrics mean that it will not be trusted. Security staff will find that constantly checking cards will undermine their instincts, so waving a fake will open doors. That’s human nature and human nature is by far the biggest weakness of the scheme.

The National Identity Register will help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children.

Like the 2,000 people wrongly accused of having criminal records? The 2,000 people to whom you owe a grovelling apology for which they are still waiting? You arrogant, self-righteous arsehole!

More than two million shoppers in the US already use a “Pay by Touch” system that links their fingerprints to their bank accounts, and a similar system is on trial here in the UK.

This is private enterprise. People choose to partake. Repeat after me “private enterprise means choice; fascist states mean compulsion, there is a difference”. People who choose to partake of pay by touch are welcome to do so if they so wish. Others, like myself, choose not to. Do not draw comparisons with free enterprise and your nasty little scheme.

It was also very clear from last week’s arguments about surveillance and the DNA database that the public, when anyone bothers to ask them, are overwhelmingly behind CCTV being used to catch or deter hooligans, or DNA being used to track down those who have committed horrific crimes.

The public is also in favour of the death penalty, but I don’t see you lining up to hang Saddam Hussein. Indeed, quite the opposite. It seems that public support is all very well, so long as the polls suggest that they support what you want them to support. The word “hypocrite” here, seems apposite, yet far too mild. If the public was suitably educated, you might see a different story. Indeed, the comments to your twaddle in the Telegraph suggest as much.

Then there is the argument that ID cards and the national register simply will not work. This rests largely on the past failures, which I accept exist, of IT projects of all governments.

Indeed. So far, this one is showing all the signs of following in its illustrious forbears’ footsteps.

That leaves the cost to the individual. Here, too, there has been some confusion. I simply don’t recognise some of the figures that have been attached to ID cards which, too often, include the costs of biometric passports. This is unfair and inaccurate. We will have no choice but to have a biometric passport, if we want to travel abroad. The United States has started to require them. This will soon be the case throughout the world. On present estimates, biometric passports make up 70 per cent – or around £66 – of the cost of the combined passports/ID cards we want. The additional cost of the ID cards will be less than £30 — or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan. Not a bad price for the problems I am convinced they will help us tackle and for the benefits they will bring.

Assuming these figures are accurate and don’t conceal hidden costs that the taxpayer will pick up, it’s about £30 too much. They will tackle nothing, they will achieve nothing, I will not have one. I know exactly who I am. If I think you need to know, I will decide just what information is necessary for me to share in order for us to do business. You, my friend, are not someone I wish to do business with. You can, therefore, take your identity card scheme and along with the fifty one registrable facts insert them sideways into the orifice from which your article dribbled.


  1. “the public, when anyone bothers to ask them, are overwhelmingly behind CCTV being used to catch or deter hooligans, or DNA being used to track down those who have committed horrific crimes”

    Well, duh. If you ask a loaded question like that, of course they do, because they don’t think the being spied on, followed, tagged, stamped and recorded applies to them. It really makes me angry when people use stupid arguments like this. But for a more reasoned response, see NotSaussure.

    God, Blair really is an unspeakable tit. I still want to know who did his law exams for him, as he doesn’t seem to have a clue.

  2. Indeed, it sort of reminds me of some of loaded questions that Blair gets from some of his brian-dead backbench MP’s at Prime Ministers question time.

    You know the type of question that makes you close your eye lids while your eyes roll around to the back of your head when you hear it.

    Thanks for the link, the blog certainly deservers to be put in my ‘noteworthy’ list. Indeed, the post on surveillance deserves a link just by itself.

  3. Thank you for your kind words. I should have mentioned, but didn’t, that it would have been very interesting to see the actual question people were asked that elicited the response that seemed to show CCTV is so popular.

    I’m willing to bet, if was an open-ended question about what measures do you think would make you feel safer on the streets, ‘More visible police presence’ came out streets ahead, with CCTV a poor third. Indeed, I’d be interested to know what the second choice was, since I think most of us — certainly me — would have difficulty naming, off the top of our heads, three measures we thought might make streets safer at night which didn’t include CCTV. Permanent night-time curfews for the under-25s? The death penalty for muggers?

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