Monday, March 22, 2004
It seems that even Cabinet Members cannot trust each other not to breach agreements and promises. The concerns of foreign secretary, Jack Straw, the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, the chief secretary to the treasury, Paul Boateng, and the trade and industry secretary, Patricia Hewitt that David Blunkett is trying to introduce compulsory identity cards by the back door must ring alarm bells for the whole country. The arguments against compulsory ID cards have been much rehearsed and I do not intend to go into them here. Suffice to say that they are in fact not very effective and are unlikely to achieve the outcome expected of them. The cost of £3 billion to achieve very little other than to undermine our civil liberties and strengthen the power of the state is a huge waste of public money. Imagine for a moment what the Police could do with that money in terms of tackling drug dealers and terrorism. Today's issue though is one of trust. If Cabinet members cannot trust each other then why should the public trust them?