Monday, May 15, 2006

ID cards - nothing we didn't already know, but...


I was at Lord's on Saturday with a mate from Manchester and we got talking about ID cards. He told me of a conversation he'd recently had with a Labour Party activist back at home. My friend had asked where the idea of ID cards had come from. The activist shook his head and said something to the effect of: "I don't know. None of us wanted it. I didn't want it. My MP didn't want it. What seems to have happened is that it was a policy idea which accidentally got announced to the media as a policy initiative, and now no one can face backing down on it."

So, there you are, from the horse's mouth. Someone launched the rocket by accident, before the control panel had been installed, and now no one knows how to stop it triggering the enemy's SDI defences. The guest that no one invited has moved in, eaten all the food out of the fridge, slept in the master bed with his shoes on and shat all over the bathroom floor, and everyone's too embarrassed to ask him to leave.

This mistake is going to cost us £18bn.

Any other metaphors welcome, by the way.


Blogger Brownie said...

Whenever you wonder about something, always follow the money to find the answer.
Some huge company in Hong Kong probably has the software and plastic stamping machine and has gone about flogging this idea because they know that a dollar per head for the entire population of Australia and the UK, is a lot of ackers mate.

Plus there is huge money to be made Servicing the plan - call centres to take the "I've lost my card" calls. etc.

3:16 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Apparently there are over 200 companies interested in setting up and running the ID scheme. The government has helpfully provided a list here, if you're interested.

They include CapGemini, who implemented the Foreign Office's computer system that twenty overseas British embassies couldn't use because of a programming error; Capita, the firm blamed for last year's mix up over school places, which was also fined in March by the FSA for inadequate anti-fraud controls and whose boss quit over the Labour loans row; and EDS, the firm behind the overpayment of tax credits and which installed the troubled computer system at the Child Support Agency, which will take another two years to work properly.

We don't need to go to Hong Kong when we can fuck it up perfectly well ourselves.

11:36 am  

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