Scottish Parliament ID card vote
The Scottish Parliament is expected to vote decisively against the introduction of ID cards.
However, the policy is reserved to Westminster and the first cards will be issued this month to foreign students entering Britain.
It is planned to make them available to everyone in the UK by 2012.
An SNP motion condemning ID cards as an expensive invasion of civil liberties is expected to be backed by all parties, except Labour.
The Scottish Government has rubbished the plan, claiming the UK-wide scheme would cost £5bn, but would not boost security or deter crime.
The Tories, Liberal Democrats and Greens are expected to back the SNP’s position, during a government-led debate in Holyrood.
Good for them.
Labour attacked ministers for debating an issue reserved to Westminster.
Scotland’s public safety minister Fergus Ewing will argue that ID cards will do nothing to fight crime or improve national security and would have serious implications for the civil liberties of ordinary citizens.
The first biometric cards are being issued to students from outside the EU and marriage visa holders this month, before being issued on a voluntary basis to young people from 2010 and for everyone else from 2012.
The UK Government has said claimed there is strong public demand for ID cards
Labour’s justice spokesman at Holyrood, Richard Baker, said the SNP should be bringing forward more important issues to debate.
“At a time when our prison system is at breaking point through overcrowding, corners are being cut in an effort to hit police recruitment targets and when crimes of dishonesty on our capital city are increasing, it says everything about the Scottish Government’s failure of leadership that they have chosen to use parliamentary time to debate a UK issue outwith their control,” he said.
Er no, they have control over devolved matters – how, for example, ID cards will be used in Scotland. So Baker is dishonest or incompetent.
But Baker’s point is interesting, in that we can turn it back on him: in a time of financial hardship, something every member of the public is undoubtedly concerned about, why is the UK Government (the Labour Government) talking about spending £12bn (that’s £550 for every household in the UK) on yet another intrusive mass surveillance database system?