The Brown Government is carrying out so many policy U turns it is difficult to know which way it is facing! What's good though is that pretty well all of them have been the right thing to do but they have displayed an almost unbelievable level of crass stupidity in the making of the original decisions. For me one of the most significant changes after what I believe has been some eight years of wasted time is the announcement by the new Home Secretary Alan Johnson that there will be no compulsion to get an Identity Card. Thank goodness for that! I had always been irritated by the prospect of having to shell out more money for something for a person in my situation that was totally, utterly unnecessary.
Two particular points to be made about the ID card nonsense: firstly Johnson has said that the Government should never have allowed “the perception to go around that they were a panacea for terrorism”. I think it was David Blunkett who set the ID ball rolling and it was always being sold on the idea that it was essential to have them in the fight against terrorism. Although I never was entirely sold on this reasoning I did think that if that was a real justification then yes I would have to go along with that. But that argument put up by Labour now seems to be entirely bogus. Point number two concerns the money that has been spent so far on this exercise which is over £200,000 million evidently. I'm sure that money could have been spent more wisely.
ID cards haven't been abandoned entirely - Alan Johnson maintains that he and other Ministers are still committed to them and that they will be rolled out on a voluntary basis. This sounds like a bit of face saving for the Government to me. Another indication too of the great value of the internet is the fact that the organisation 'NO2ID' has been able to make its arguments heard. This government just can't get its head around the power of the internet and how it can influence attitudes.