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Stotty On Sunday: THE ID CARD TRICK.

Byline: Richard Stott

WHENEVER governments say they are embarking on a consultation process it means they don't know what to do. So it is with Identity Cards, or entitlement cards as they will never be known.

This whole operation reminds me of Labour's House of Lords reform fiasco. The Government feels it has to do something, but doesn't know what. That's why nobody has a clue what the new ID cards will actually do. You won't have to carry them, the police won't be able to demand them and they won't have much inform- ation on them anyway.

You will have to produce them if you want hospital treatment, says the Home Office. But no hospital is going to refuse a critically ill patient just because staff can't find an ID card. Nor will it help to fight terrorism or illegal immigration, you can guarantee there will be a brisk trade in counterfeit and stolen cards. It will, says David Blunkett, stop illegal employment, particularly in the construction trade. Highly unlikely. Tax evasion on building sites is as old an art as brickmaking. Is he really suggesting we all have to carry bits of plastic because of a few tax-dodging navvies?

For the privilege of this paltry benefit we'll have to pay double for driving licences and passports. No wonder the Government wants to spread the blame by its consultation process, which if previous similar ploys are anything to go by, involves neither consultation nor any noticeable process.

CAPTION(S):

MISTAKE: Blunkett
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2002
Words:252
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