Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards (ID Cards)

Public Opinion

It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.
- Joseph Goebbels
Update 4/7/2005:
Support has now fallen to a mere 45% even before costs are mentioned. In addition, 84% of people expect that introducing the system would cause a lot of disruption and inconvenience. Details in the YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph (pdf)or this summary graphic.

Public opinion is moving rapidly against the Government on this issue - perhaps that is why they are so desperate to rush the Bill through Parliament with little real public debate.

The Government likes to cite the 2002 "public consultation" which the Home Office claims showed 80% public support. That claim is a lie.

The "consultation" was badly publicised and the materials involved were biased. Towards the end of the consultation period, groups including Stand and Privacy International started a campaign to alert the public of the issues. Some 5000 people responded via the Stand website, the vast majority opposing the Government's plans. This compared with around 1500 people who responded to the Home Office supporting them. Despite the biases in the consultation the true result was a huge majority opposed to the plans.

The Home Office decided they wouldn't count the Stand replies because they were part of an organised campaign. In effect some 5000 people had their opinions judged irrelevant because they gave the "wrong" answer.

It seems perverse to ignore the opinion of people who feel strongly enough about a subject to join an organised campaign.

More Recent Figures:

June 2005

An ICM poll shows that when people are told the true costs of the scheme, support falls to 55% with 43% thinking the scheme a bad or very bad idea. This confirms that the more people learn about the government's plans the less they like them.

November 2004

In November 2004 the Home Office published the results of its most recent consultation. This time the figures were very different.

According to the Home Office's own figures, 48% of us now oppose their plans and only 31% support them.

If Tony Blair is worried about the political fallout from the hunting Act, he should be a lot more worried about the resistance to ID Cards. Banning hunting affects only a tiny minority of the population - compulsory National Identity Cards will affect us all. The figures show that this issue will lose the Labour party votes - and seats.

May 2004

A May 2004 opinion poll showed that around three people in four would support compulsory National Identity Cards but not if it meant paying forty pounds a time for them. That still leaves one person in four objecting to the plan on principle - hardly a resounding public endorsement. Even those who like the idea of ID Cards don't approve of paying for them or of having to keep the Government informed of every change of address on pain of a 1000 penalty.

In other words, even those who initially favour ID Cards change their minds when they learn the details.

The more that people learn about the Government's plans, the less they like them.

UK ID Cards - Introduction

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