ID cards and foreign nationals
Prime Minister’s Question Time (BBC):
Mr Cameron asked if it was still government policy that ID cards would be compulsory for all. He read out a quote from Chancellor Alistair Darling, who said: “I do not want my whole life to be reduced to a magnetic strip on a plastic card.”The Tory leader added: “Compared with being Chancellor in his government being a magnetic strip on a plastic card is probably a welcome relief.” If it was the policy of the government to press for compulsion, why did the PM say in an interview with The Observer that they would not be compulsory for existing British citizens, Mr Cameron asked the prime minister. Mr Brown said he had made those comments because there had to be a vote in Parliament before they became compulsory. He asked if Mr Cameron supported identity cards for foreign nationals, which are being introduced this year. Mr Cameron said he was against compulsory ID cards and asked why Mr Brown could not give a straight answer to the question. “It is the government’s policy to move ahead with this,” said Mr Brown, depending on a vote in Parliament and how the voluntary scheme works. …
Mr Brown replied: “I see his incursion into identity cards did not last long”. He asked again if Mr Cameron supported ID cards for foreign nationals. “I suggest the whole of the country supports ID cards for foreign nationals,” said the prime minister. If Mr Cameron could not answer that question, he was “not fit” to ask questions on other issues.
I would be interested in more information about these identity cards for foreign nationals. He seems to be pushing this idea quite a bit recently.
I do hope this isn’t an attempt to turn concerns about immigration into support for identity cards.
What foreign nationals does he mean?
Of course, if you are an EEA national, this doesn’t apply.
From 2008, we will make biometric ID compulsory for all foreign nationals coming here for work, study, or to stay for longer than six months, unless they are from the EEA, and will begin to issue a National Insurance Number only when a biometric identity has been established.
From 2008, we will begin to introduce biometric ID cards for foreign nationals from outside the EEA who are already in the UK and reapply to stay here, working with employers to trial these in areas where this will be most useful to them.
Gordon should therefore be a bit more careful about his language: when he says foreign nationals, he really means non-EEA nationals.
And when he says ID cards, he really means biometric visas, which David Cameron said he supported.
But lots of people are (rightly or wrongly) primarily concerned about EEA nationals from countries such as Poland and Romania. People are very concerned about the sheer amount of immigration into Britain.
Is Gordon deliberately conflating the immigration of EEA and non-EEA nationals in order to drum up support for identity cards?
Does he think that if he said they didn’t apply to Romanians, he might lose some support?
Is Gordon deliberately conflating biometric visas and ID cards?