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Friday, March 31, 2006 

Vindicative Clarke to charge full price for passports with ID - even for those who don't want it.

Charles Clarke has come up with a wicked wheeze for revenge over the Lords battering that his beloved ID scheme took - which reached royal assent yesterday after the compromise which meant that those who renew their passport can opt out of actually having a card until 2010 - those who do opt out will still have to pay the currently projected £93 cost for both passport and card, in effect, an ID card tax.
People who opt out of having an identity card when they renew their passport will still have to pay the full £93 combined cost of both cards, the Home Office disclosed yesterday.

The decision is a setback to anti-ID card campaigners hoping to develop a boycott on the back of the last minute opt-out compromise which defused parliamentary opposition.

Those who renew their passport until 2010 will be given the choice of not being issued with an identity card, although their details will still be registered on the database.

But Mr Clarke's insistence that they would not get a discount on the £30 ID cost of the combined ID card/passport is likely to prove a powerful disincentive. Ministers are hoping that only a small minority will refuse to have the card while it is voluntary.

Mr Clarke said he believed there was a public appetite for ID cards and that the opt-out was only agreed to allay fears expressed by the Lords that the cards were being foisted on people.
Ah yes, a public appetite for the cards. Could this be because the Sun newspaper supports them? The Sun also supported the loathed 90 days detention for terrorist suspects, which the government also claimed had huge public support. As for it being a blow to the anti-ID card movement, over 12,000 have already pledged to refuse to register for such a scheme, also pledging to donate £20 to a public defense fund for anyone who is prosecuted for not doing so. Today NO2ID has gone further, more or less declaring war on all those who support ID cards at the upcoming local elections:
In May, there are local elections.

We ask that, before the elections, every NO2ID supporter and ID opponent in the country asks every single one of their potential representatives their position on ID cards, and makes it clear to them (especially those who defend the ID scheme) that they will NEVER vote for a supporter of compulsory registration or ID cards. This is not (yet) a 'decapitation' strategy, nor are we proposing tactical voting in May - but if enough people do this, the aspiring political class will begin to sit up and take notice.

How many letters, e-mails or meetings will this take? We cannot say. But if you get no response, send another letter - always keep copies - and start writing to your local paper, too: "This candidate refuses to engage with the genuine concerns of a potential constituent, how fit for office can (s)he be?". Turn up at hustings and wave copies of your unanswered letters. At some point you'll get a response - and the longer it takes, the worse the candidate looks. If you do get an interesting response, e.g. vehement opposition to the scheme by a Labour candidate, do let us know [send an e-mail to office@no2id.net].

None of this is hard to do. It just requires that enough of us get organised and DO it.

Please start this weekend - find out who your candidates will be. Get their addresses. Write the first letter, construct a questionnaire, see if any of them will respond to e-mail (but don't rely exclusively on it). And follow through.

In the next five weeks you could sow the seeds of defeat for the ID scheme in your area, but you'll never know unless you try.
This government, despite all its arrogance, can only stand so much adverse publicity. This scheme can still be stopped, or at the least cut down to size, but not if we have already signalled defeat. The real battle is only just beginning.

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