Thursday, 27 May 2010


It's good to see the end of threatened ID cards for UK citizens, but why are we keeping them for some foreign nationals?

Despite the demise of national identity cards, a separate but technically similar scheme for some foreign nationals will continue. That scheme is run by the UK Border Agency and is still being rolled out.

Some 200,000 cards - known as biometric resident permits - have already been given to migrant workers, foreign students and family members from outside the European Economic Area.

By definition, these people should have a form of ID; passports. Duplicating identity documents seems like a poor use of taxpayers money (which, if you're that concerned about illegal immigration, you could spend on checking up on people's existing ID documents).

I'd be more comfortable if the the whole project was scrapped - if some future event convinces the current administration or its successors to have a Blair-like Damascene conversion in favour of ID cards for all, there will be a pilot programme with infrastructure already up and running.

Unlikely for the foreseeable, given the state of the public finances, but why take the risk?