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"If they make it compulsory, they make it free. End of."
James, there's no way it can be "free", as in "not costing us anything". Either the costs come directly from our pockets or they come from our taxes - either way, we pay.
I thought Nick Cohen put it quite well in the Observer at the weekend:
"On identity cards, intellectual clarity would demand that Mr Clarke begins: 'We're so worried by crime, terrorism and illegal immigration that we want to impose a new law-and-order tax on the public. Our estimate is it will raise £6 billion. Others say £18bn. Let's split the difference and call it £12bn. OK. Now we won't spend it on capturing criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants. That would be mad. Rather than wasting money on new police officers, we will force people who aren't criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants to carry an expensive piece of plastic.'
"Does it work for you? Me neither.'"Eleanor Crawford, 13 years ago.