The announcement that the government will now be issuing ‘foreign national ID cards’ is another step along a slippery slope. Although initially they will only be issued to foreign nationals entering the country, things will not stop there. A substantial timetable has already been drawn up which could see their universal use by 2018.
It is predicted that this scheme will cost £311mn of taxpayers’ money. Considering that a majority of the population are against the introduction of ID cards this is grotesque misallocation of government money. One of the main arguments for the introduction of these cards is to combat terrorist events such as the 7/7 bombings. But those terrorists were British; they would have been free to travel on any buses around the country with or without ID cards. If a foreign terrorist is determined to kill for his religion, will a piece of laminated plastic really make him think twice?
This is simply an expansion of the surveillance state and another example of poor top-down schemes from an out-of-touch government. Perhaps rather than simply adding another layer of bureaucracy to national security, the government should concentrate on freeing-up the police force with less Whitehall control.
The second main reason for the introduction of these ID cards is that they should help control immigration. But since 2004 there have been falls in the level of net migration into the UK and we have seen waves of past migrants leaving the UK in recent months. Perhaps our over-regulated and stifled labour market isn’t as attractive to migrants as the government thinks.
Personally, I think the government needs to rethink its strategies for combating problems such as national security; clearly generalised and half-blind schemes such as ID cards are not only an injustice on civil liberties, but also a waste of valuable money.