Ian Dunt writes in a comment piece on the Politics.co.uk web site:
Remember that Crewe and Nantwich by-election in 2008? Back then, the controversy was all about how Labour tried to paint the Tory candidate as posh. But those same Labour leaflets had something else interesting in them. “Do you oppose making foreign nationals carry an ID card?” they read, in a mock-up Tory MP application form. In actual fact, the Conservatives opposed ID cards for everyone. This was desperate, ugly prejudice, the vain attempt to press that racist button in the British electorate. The media thought prejudice against rich people was more important, as is fairly typical. Labour seized the opportunities offered it by the EU law and ran with it in the most irresponsible way possible.
The legislation for foreign nationals was never even in the ID Cards Act – it was completely different legislation. The only similarity was that the government tagged the two things together and tried to pretend it was all one problem. And now its an entirely different problem. The ID Cards Act is being repealed, but that won’t stop ID cards for foreign nationals. The legislation for this is in the UK Borders Act 2007 and the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.
So far, the coalition’s hands are clean. It’s the EU’s fault that foreign nationals are required to have cards. It’s Labour’s fault it seized on that requirement to promote its unique brand of political barbarism. What could the coalition do? Well, it could scrap the National Biometric Identity Service (NBIS) for starters.
Cards were only after half the problem. The systemic cancer comes in the form of databases, where countless details are kept and cross-referenced, without any thought for privacy, in an endless bid to organise the population of Great Britain. There is simply no need for the NBIS. The only database we need is one detailing which cards have been sent out to foreign nationals under the EU requirement. It should cost pennies, rather than the reported £265 million given to IBM to set it up and run it.