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Tories Advising Private Sector Not To Invest In Bonkers Id Card Scheme

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I am no fan of Cameron, but the Tories' pledge to scrap Labour's bonkers ID card project may well result in me giving them my vote next year.

What astonishes me is Alan Johnson's assertion that ID cards have "widespread public support". I have yet to meet one person who is keen to spend £60 on one of these laminated pieces of nonsense; either Mr Johnson is deluded, or he's lying.

Roll on next year - when our nail-biting jaw-dropping emotionally-stunted joke of a prime minister will be sent packing.

Tories warn firms off ID scheme

The Tories have written to five firms bidding to supply ID cards warning them not to sign any long-term contracts.

In the letter, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling says one of his party's first acts, if it wins the next general election, would be to scrap the scheme.

He said he was urging the firms against large investments that may be wasted.

The government says ID cards, being trialled in Manchester from this autumn, will combat fraud, terrorism and organised crime.

'Substantial bill'

They want a nationwide roll-out of the scheme by 2012 but with a general election due within a year, the Conservatives say they intend to scrap it.

Mr Grayling's predecessor as shadow home secretary, David Davis, issued a similar warning to firms in February 2007 and gave Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell formal notice of the party's intention not to continue with the scheme.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats oppose the scheme, estimated at costing about £5bn, and some Labour MPs have expressed doubts.

ID CARD TIMETABLE

2009: Workers at Manchester and London City airport

Autumn 2009: Manchester pilot

2010: Students opening bank accounts offered ID cards

2011/12: All UK passport applicants

2015: 90% foreign nationals covered

2017: Full roll-out?

Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was concerned about "a number of signals" recently suggesting "quite big penalty costs" were being built into contracts which will leave a "substantial bill" for the taxpayer.

"I want companies to be cautious and recognise that if they invest large amounts of money preparing for this business, it may not happen," he said.

"There's a danger the government will build more poisoned pills into the contracts that will simply make it more difficult to scrap."

Asked whether the Tories were trying to paralyse government plans, he said: "I would be delighted if this slows down progress with the ID project because I think it's the wrong thing to do."

Later this year, airside workers at London City and Manchester airports will be issued with ID cards.

'Conditioning' public

And, from the autumn, people in Manchester will be able to voluntarily sign up for a card as part of a pilot project.

It is the beginning of the main phase of the scheme which ministers say will result in cards being available nationwide by 2012.

Within the next three years, the Identity and Passport Service plans to issue "significant volumes" of ID cards alongside British passports - but people will be able to opt out of having a card if they do not want one.

“ We remain on progress to bring in what we believe has widespread public support â€

Alan Johnson Home secretary

Earlier retired law lord Lord Steyn accused the Home Office of introducing the cards in stages as a way of "conditioning" and "softening up" public opinion.

He added: "The Home Office now proudly asserts that comprehensive surveillance has become routine. If that is true, the resemblance to the world of Kafka is no longer so very distant."

The government believes that the public support the scheme - former home secretary Jacqui Smith said she was regularly approached by people who said they did not want to wait several years to register for an ID card.

It has been reported that Alan Johnson, who replaced Jacqui Smith as home secretary in the recent cabinet reshuffle, might be considering a U-turn on ID cards, after ordering a review of the scheme.

But in a statement Mr Johnson said: "In my very first interview as home secretary I made clear that identity cards was a manifesto commitment and that legislation governing their introduction was passed in 2006.

"We remain on progress to bring in what we believe has widespread public support."

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Guest X-QUORK
I am no fan of Cameron, but the Tories' pledge to scrap Labour's bonkers ID card project may well result in me giving them my vote next year.

+1, unless the Lib Dems commit to take the same decision - have they stated what they'll do yet?

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+1, unless the Lib Dems commit to take the same decision - have they stated what they'll do yet?

Yes, the Lib Dems are also anti-ID cards.

I think pretty much everyone's anti-ID cards apart from Nu Labour and its sycophants.

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Yes, the Lib Dems are also anti-ID cards.

I think pretty much everyone's anti-ID cards apart from Nu Labour and its sycophants.

I'll only believe this if/when it happens.

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I live in Manchester, and so as from this Autumn I am entitled to pay £60 to have my biometric data taken and stored by our illustrious government.

Bet you're all jealous: "These days are all,

Share them with me. (Those Happy Days)

These days are all,

Happy and Free. (oh baby)

These Happy Days are your's and mine.

These Happy Days are your's and mine, Happy Days."

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I am no fan of Cameron, but the Tories' pledge to scrap Labour's bonkers ID card project may well result in me giving them my vote next year.

The cynic in me thinks that

1) all these companiesd already knew this was the Tories plan - which is why the companies were looking for strong penatly lcauses in their contracts.

2) this letter will strengthen their case for such penalty clauses

3) when the Tories get in they will be able to say - sorry I know we promised but the penalty clauses (which are all Labour's fault) mean we have to continue with the scheme.

After all those in the security services that want the ID card will still want it whoever is in power. And whoever is in power has to live with the "if anything happens we'll go public on how you refused to give us the tools to stop it" threat.

Wasn't one of the reasons behind David Davies flouncing out of the shadow cabinet supposed to be that Cameron would not be sufficiently specific regarding ID cards? Or is my memory at fault.

I'm not believing any promises on this one, I'll wait until it is actually scrapped.

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One would hope that ID cards will be a major issue in the run up to the GE, one of those areas with clear blue water between Tory and Labour policy. The Tories dare not go back on a manifesto pledge if it's been the Big One that gets them in.

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The cynic in me thinks that

1) all these companiesd already knew this was the Tories plan - which is why the companies were looking for strong penatly lcauses in their contracts.

2) this letter will strengthen their case for such penalty clauses

3) when the Tories get in they will be able to say - sorry I know we promised but the penalty clauses (which are all Labour's fault) mean we have to continue with the scheme.

After all those in the security services that want the ID card will still want it whoever is in power. And whoever is in power has to live with the "if anything happens we'll go public on how you refused to give us the tools to stop it" threat.

Wasn't one of the reasons behind David Davies flouncing out of the shadow cabinet supposed to be that Cameron would not be sufficiently specific regarding ID cards? Or is my memory at fault.

I'm not believing any promises on this one, I'll wait until it is actually scrapped.

Possession is 9/10th of the law, but possession of parliament is the law.

So if Cameron decides to do it, it'll happen and in such a way that there is no comeback either, those penalty causes can stand, but they'll maybe get taxed as windfall, or other things happen to persuade the companies that messing with the government is a losing proposition.

Will the Tories do it? I doubt it, but if they want to, it's of course possible. I just don't believe that we'll see an acute breakout of common sense anytime soon, and especially not from a the Conservatives. :P

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Yes, it IS an attractive idea to vote for a party that promises to scrap ID cards. Once in power the Tories will abandon this pledge ("too much money already spent", "penalty clauses", "now that we can get to read the secret files we couldn't see in Opposition...", etc., etc.).

Politicians of all parties love to poke their noses into other people's business & their addiction to Control simply won't allow them to consider scrapping it.

ID cards are going to be coming whoever gets elected. But to be really safe, get yourself three or four of them...

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Yes, it IS an attractive idea to vote for a party that promises to scrap ID cards. Once in power the Tories will abandon this pledge ("too much money already spent", "penalty clauses", "now that we can get to read the secret files we couldn't see in Opposition...", etc., etc.).

Politicians of all parties love to poke their noses into other people's business & their addiction to Control simply won't allow them to consider scrapping it.

ID cards are going to be coming whoever gets elected. But to be really safe, get yourself three or four of them...

You could be right. But I do think if the Tories prove to be the same as Labour they will only get one term and then it will be someone more extreme like UKIP.

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I think the Tories will make the scrapping of ID cards one of the key points in their manifesto.

When they get elected I think the first thing they will do is keep that promise.

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