‘More than half’ support ID cards

I HAVEN’T seen survey results with respect to support for, or opposition to, ID cards for a while. So I was pleasantly surprised to read this story in today’s Telegraph.

Although the paper inevitably describes the figure of 55 per cent public support for the scheme as a “slump”, it reveals that fewer than half that number are opposed to the scheme.

Fifty-five per cent. And that represents a drop in support.

Fifty-five per cent is a higher proportion of the public than has ever voted for any political party.

Yet I’m confused: according to the entirely representative section of the public who post comments on this blog, 98 per cent of the public not only oppose ID cards, but claim they will be used to usher in a police state and a new Soviet Era. So does that mean that more than half of the population wants a police state?




Filed under Politics, Society

25 responses to “‘More than half’ support ID cards

  1. Graham

    I oppose ID cards and I share your puzzlement that the Home Office claims such a high level of support.

    My suspicion is that the Home Office rigged the poll by asking questions that were phrased in a way that directed respondents to say “yes”.

  2. Andrew F

    1. We don’t do direct democracy around here. You’re supposed to use your own judgement, because the moods of the public shift quicker than Michael Howard’s eyes in the presence of fresh blood.

    I really don’t think you’d vote for everything that over 50% of the population supports.

    2. Civil liberties are not supposed to be suspended because a majority happens to want them. Liberties are there to protect the abused minorities. I don’t care of 55% are fine with I.D. cards; I care that 45% are going to be forced to have them against their will.

    3. Nor, incidentally, should they be suspended because it appears to be the pragmatic option. No one votes for a police state in the easy times, anyway.

    4.People who post on political blogs tend to be more educated on the issues than random people on the end of phones – people who think that the Arabs are trying to kill them.

  3. John

    It’s because the great unwashed are don’t understand. Seriously. Every single person i’ve spoken to strongly believes the official line that ID cards will combat terrorism and illegal immigration, and is therefore happy to have one as long as it doesn’t cost them anything, which is their main concern, cost.

    The people that oppose it are the more able and educated of the great unwashed. They are the people that are actually aware of the fact that ID cards have been expensive and totally ineffective in every country in the world they’ve been used in. So it’s more than a little arrogant of this government to think that mirroring the failures of every other country in the world will produce totally different results in this country just because they are implimenting it. Seriously, just what magic unicorn does Jackie Smith have that makes ID cards magically work?

    ID cards are expensive, and a total waste of time. I mean, ID cards to combat terrorism? Christ. I challenge anyone to try and defend that one without becoming a laughing stock by their 4th sentence. The immigration argument is equally as mute. I mean, it’s worked SO well in America hasn’t it? ID cards were going to solve the problem of mexican and south american immigration. Huzzah, what a great job they’ve done eh?

    As an aside, i’ll have an ID card when hell freezes over. I’m not the only one who feels like this either, so I hope the government is planning on building a few more prisons to house us all.

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    I totaly against identity cards and will never carry one.

  5. John

    As an aside Tom, what do you think? I’m assuming you support them? If so, why? Do you really believe they will help curb illegal immigration or help prevent terrorism?

    The main issue for me is that I can’t work out for the life of me what benefit ID cards will bring? Every benefit I can possibly think of can be instantly refuted by evidence? So, just why are ID cards worth the exorbitant cost?

  6. Tacitus

    Tom, but we haven’t had a Big Conversation yet! And how come I am never polled on these matters. Were those polled hand-picked, like those fabulous Citizens’ Juries?

    And will ID Cards stop this sort of thing happening, in the Brave New Labour World … this happened to a friend of my stepdaughter’s

    A friend of hers, a sweet, gentle young man was walking home at 1am. He was only a couple of hundred yards from his home in leafy Barnes (Yes, BARNES) when he noticed a car with blacked out windows crawling along near him. He was alarmed and increased his pace. Three burly men dressed head to toe in black lept out of the car and one said ” ‘Ear, we wan a wurd wiv you!” Thinking he was about to be set upon by gangsters the lad began to run. The men in black caught him up and threw him to the concrete. At this point they identified themselves as Police. They took him to the station, where he remained for three hours where they queried £60 cash as the most incriminating item he was carrying. The suspicious behaviour that justified their arrest of him was that he ran away from them.

    Now, like you, like anyone, this lad would have stopped immediately had they opened the car door and said “Stop, Police!”, with their identification held up for him to see. But he thought he was about to be mugged. He WAS in effect mugged. Who are these Police and why are they on our streets unidentifiable as Police, and why are they picking on middle class white kids walking home at night?

    And this response from another mum …

    This happened to our next door neighbours’ son; lovely boy who was the small HGs regular babysitter.

    Up against the pavement, what are you doing here… his father couldn’t believe his eyes on opening the double outer doors (late at night) to see four police holding their victim, who had fortunately succeeded in persuading them to ring the bell and ask at the house he was approaching.

    Do the police not know that blacked-out windows which make the occupants of a car unrecognisable are in fact illegal?

    And do they get a kick out of intimidating innocent kids on their way home?

    You can stick your ****ing ID cards up your arse, Tom. Sideways. And the same message goes to Jackboot Jacqui. That something like that can rise to power in New Labour tells me all I need to know.

    Another thing. The ruling of the ECHR on DNA means that ID cards will almost certainly be treated the same way.

    And did you know that in Germany (they know about Fascism, of course), the type of database needed to run the New Stasi ID project is expressly forbidden by their Constitution, on account of what it enables the state to do.

    A pox on your house.

  7. Tacitus

    He’s upset the Germans, The Great Helmsman, hasn’t he, Tom? Lecturing them on economics, having single-handedly destroyed our economy? They are getting REALLY pissed off with him. Of course, nothing about it on the Beeb or the Guardian, but all the other main news sources having a field day with it.

    He really is an ill-mannered, uncouth oaf. Is there no-one in your party who can tell him how to behave? It puts us all in a very bad light.

  8. Paul Williams

    Unfortunately I think a large proportion of people work on the entirely misguided principle of ‘nothing to hide nothing to fear etc, despite the overwhelming evidence to contrary.

    Where the ID cards scheme will come unstuck in my view is those that are opposed are more belligerent and will likely break the law by refusing to have one (as indicated in previous posts) and I certainly come into that category.

    And in that situation, with nearly half the country’s population refusing to have one, it has the potential to be Labour’s poll tax, if, of course, they win the next election, which they won’t.

  9. Blackacre

    Looks like a straight 100% anti from this particular small poll. When someone can please explain what the benefit will be I will consider support. So far, they look nothing so much as a solution in search of a problem.

  10. Invisibleman.

    And on the Seventh day….

    Day 1. Identity cards issued on a ‘purely voluntary basis’. Only authorised public servants such as Police and Customs officers have a right to ask to see them.

    Day 2. Every government department, hospital, doctors surgery is required to demand an identity card before offering their services.

    Day 3. In the public interest, the carrying of identity cards at all times becomes compulsory. Failure to produce a card when asked results in a £1000.00 fine or 6 months in prison. The only exemption to this will of course be Members of parliament.

    Day 4. Leaked memos reveal that access to the national database is now extended – for a small fee – to virtually any company that has ‘ a legitimate reason for requesting the information’. (See DVLA for more details).

    Day 5. The ‘authorised public servants’ now includes street wardens, traffic wardens, dustbin men, social workers, scout leaders and virtually anyone who wishes to poke their nose into your business without your consent.

    Day 6. That database is hacked or lost on a train somewhere and ends up in the hand of Nigerian spammers and Russian Viagra peddlers.

    And on the 7th day…..

  11. Invisibleman.

    ….and on the 7th day. Cloned ID cards, complete with the name and address of your choice, are freely available on the black market at £500.00 a pop.

  12. Tacitus

    Miliband on R4 this AM. Says immigrants don’t get benefits. I assume he hasn’t heard of the European Union, as surely a Minister of State wouldn’t lie, would he?


  13. Tacitus

    Brown’s democracy in action.


    Gordon Brown is risking a political row by considering blocking the Conservatives from meeting senior civil servants in the new year to discuss their proposals for power.

    Plans for the Tories to hold meetings with permanent secretaries from every department, widely expected to begin in January, have been put on hold because the Prime Minister has not yet given authorisation.

    Labour was allowed to begin talks with senior civil servants 15 months before the 1997 general election, with meetings taking place as often as every six weeks.

    What an unspeakable ***t. But utterly typical. Guess he needs time to polish up The Enabling Act

  14. Tacitus

    An alternative reading…


    Those in favour of the card now stand at just 55 per cent after dropping from 60 per cent in August.

    At the same time, opposition to the £4.7 billion scheme grew from 24 to 26 per cent in the same period, the Home Office’s own polling showed.

    In a further blow, the Government is the second least trusted organisation to keep data safe, with only online retailers such as Amazon or eBay generating less confidence.

  15. richard

    They’re described in the fieldwork as “National Identity Cards”.

    When the word “compulsory” is introduced a few questions later the support seems to drop quite sharply.

    I suspect that if you weighted the question differently you’d find less support. Clearly people don’t want to be seen to be against something that is “national”..

  16. Madasafish

    Anyone with any brains knows that 30% of the population do not vote. Ever.
    So they may support capital punishement, ID cards and giving aliens from Mars £1 million each time they visit..SO THEY DO NOT COUNT.

    And any decent pollster adjusts for that.

    The Home Office do not.

    So to say their polls mean anything is pure unadelterated rubbish.

    And Tom knows all the above as well.

  17. Tacitus

    Other thing noted noted is that these days the polls which are almost ALL conducted over landlines, by definition exclude a huge chunk of the population – many under 35, I would say, judging my my offsprings (25 – 33) peers, do not have landlines and just use mobiles.

    So the polling demographic is already distorted. And that applies to the results I posted as well as Wee Tom’s.

  18. Chris' Wills

    So you support Capital Punishment and Flogging then?

    Given that it is a Home Office Poll, the mistress of which is all gung ho to know everything about everyone whilst keeping her own actions private, I’m suprised they report such a low pro figure.

    Add compulsory and the figure will fall, add £80 fee and the figure will fall, add every civil servant will have access and the figure will fall etc

    Sorry, it doesn’t wash, Liberty and Freedom are not (or shouldn’t be) items that can be stolen at the whim of a politician nor should a majority have the right to force a minority to reveal personal data to the state just because they are happy to .

    Strange to relate, I do have an ID card (more than one in fact) but that goes with the job. Difference is these IDs are seperate and for a specific purpose (access to secured areas) no common database.
    Even for the goverment records, the Emir and council decided that individula freedom was more important.

    Have you added your DNA to the database yet?
    Will exemptions be in place for MPs and their families? MPs normally exempt themselves and their families from all these good ideas.

  19. “MPs normally exempt themselves and their families from all these good ideas.”

    I’m genuinely unaware of any such case. Can you give me an (authoritatively sourced*) example?

    * in other words, not a Libertarian blog!

  20. Chris' Wills

    Just because I believe in Freedom & Liberty doesn’t mean I’m a libertarian (though you’ld have to define exactly what you mean by that word for me to be sure, various interpretations around).

    I could be a Socialist, some of them believed/believe in Freedom & Liberty from an overbearing state, all powerful state.

    Times Do?

  21. No. How about one that got government support and therefore will actually happen (unlike that one)?

  22. jaymason

    Bit like the fall in knife crime eh, wonder what the office of statistics would make of this claim then

  23. Chris' Wills

    “Unusually for a Private Members Bill, the measure was given a second chance by the Government which brought it back for debate after it was “talked out” by MPs who opposed the move in April. ”

    Hardly a neutral position for the goverment to take, how often do they make time for a lapsed private members bill?

    As the commons has voted in its favour why shouldn’t it become law? Surely the parliament is sovereign and makes the law; or is that now a goverment perogative?

    Did you actually vote for this exemption?
    The list in the Times shows you as an Aye.



    “….. Section 54 of the Equality Bill, which is headed “Public Authorities”. Subsection 1 states that: “It is unlawful for a public authority exercising a function to do any act which constitutes discrimination or harassment”; but Subsection 3 immediately declares that: “The prohibition in Subsection 1 shall not apply to the House of Commons, the House of Lords, ……”

  24. “MPs normally exempt themselves and their families from all these good ideas.”

    So can I assume you have no specific examples of legislation which exempts MPs and ther families? Exempting certain public authorities is hardly the same, is it?

  25. Chris' Wills

    We’ll just have to wait and see if those who voted for exemptions succede.

    You never did confirm or deny your actions on that point.

    Why isn’t exempting parliament valid, isn’t parliament composed of MPs, plus civil servants.

    I do realise that the children’s minister has said MPs families won’t be exempt from the child database being set up in England; but as some childrens data is already being reduced (children of celebrities) we’ll just have to wait and see how a celebrity is defined.

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