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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another nail in the coffin

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties pressure group Liberty, is absolutely right - the comments by former MI5 chief Stella Rimington yesterday are "another nail in the coffin of the massive identity card folly."

Dame Rimington told the Association of Colleges' annual conference in Birmingham that "ID cards have possibly some purpose. But I don't think that anybody in the intelligence services, particularly in my former service, would be pressing for ID cards.

"My angle on ID cards is that they may be of some use but only if they can be made unforgeable - and all our other documentation is quite easy to forge. If we have ID cards at vast expense and people can go into a back room and forge them they are going to be absolutely useless.

"ID cards may be helpful in all kinds of things but I don't think they are necessarily going to make us any safer."

Downing Street's response is to describe Stella Rimington as a private individual who is entitled to her views. Well yes, she is. But she is also a former spook who has had extensive experience of fighting terrorism at the highest level. Whatever happened to evidence-based government?


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