Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 14/10/2005You can't make it up - but they can. Figuresfrom the Home Office released today say that 73 percent of thepopulation are in favour of identity cards - and even if a combined IDcard and passport cost £250, 63 percent think it’s a good thing andwould cough up.

Friday 14/10/2005
You can't make it up - but they can. Figures from the Home Office released today say that 73 percent of the population are in favour of identity cards - and even if a combined ID card and passport cost £250, 63 percent think it’s a good thing and would cough up.

That's just taking the Michael. I know we're a nest of anarchistic naysayers, but a quick check of the office showed that precisely nobody was prepared to pay £250 for a passport with or without an ID card. Would you?

Finding these headline figures completely unbelievable -- even if the Reg published them with a straight face -- I had a look through the Home Office report. The methodology behind the poll was interesting: I'll be peering more closely over the weekend, but the basic thrust appears to be "Here are ten fantastic advantages the ID card will bring. Would you like to obtain these gorgeous prizes quite a lot, a great deal, or enough to sacrifice your first-born?"

The ten advantages include things like "help in the fight against terrorism", which not even the Government will say with a straight face in public these days, and "enable travel in the EU without a passport". What's wrong with getting a passport -- assuming it doesn't cost £250? Oh, and they'll help prevent sales of cigarettes to minors. Yes, really.

Of the many and varied and well-attested worries about the ID card, there was no hint.

But don't take my word for it. Download the blighter and check it out for yourself. Come up with the 10 key attributes of the ID card scheme you think most accurately reflect the nature of the beast, and go out with a clipboard. If you can find 65 percent of people willing to part with quarter of a grand for the things, I'll eat a lizard.