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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May 2005, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
UK voters' panel: Philippa Bartlett
Philippa Bartlett
Name: Philippa Bartlett
Age: 30
Lives: Rothwell, Northants
Works: Helpdesk manager for software company
Voted: Liberal Democrat
In 10 words or less:
"Laid back Liberal, passionate about life, hates ignorance and prejudice"

The introduction of identity cards is a huge waste of time and resources.

The suggestion that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't mind ID cards, fails to take into account the flawed reasoning behind them.

Firstly, if the technology exists to create ID cards, so does the technology to forge them, so the argument that it will prevent ID theft falls apart.

Illegal immigrants won't be able to get a card, but they already can't get the legal documentation they need to work, so how will this be different?

Secondly, the idea that it will stop terrorist threats is also unfounded.


All of the 11 September terrorists operated under their own identities, as did the Madrid bombers, the Bali bombers and the so-called 'shoe bomber'.

Lastly, the only time you would be required to prove your ID on the spot would be with a police check, but such checks can already take place.

As it won't be compulsory to carry your ID cards, the police will follow the same procedures as they do now to prove identity.

The ID card bill will cost a lot to implement, the public will be forced to pay for the cards and the concept will ultimately do nothing to help the country.

What a pointless bill and what a shame to make it such a high priority in the Queen's speech.

Your comments:

Philippa's two fundamental flaws in the reasoning behind ID cards are themselves fundamentally flawed. Firstly, as Graham Rees points out, it is impossible to fake fingerprints and iris signatures and, even if technology develops, it will be extremely expensive requiring state of the art lasers putting it out of reach of most terrorists and ID thieves. Secondly, Philippa is right to say that ID cards did not stop the Madrid attacks, but they played a fundamental role in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice and have sent Al Qaeda an important message that every time they try to kill, they will lose an entire cell and a sizable chunk in their network.
Sebastian, London, England

People who object to ID cards are completely missing the point. It is not having a card that proves your ID, it is being on the database behind the ID cards that is important. If someone has forged a card, all the authorities have to do is check the database to see if the details are correct. It is the database of who is in the country that is important, not the physical card in itself.
Barry, London, UK

I had to carry an ID card when I lived and worked in Japan for six years - but one with only my photo on it, not my fingerprints. If I didn't have to carry a fingerprinted ID card as a foreigner, why should I have to carry a fingerprinted ID card to walk down the streets of my own country? And if the police choose to waste their time harassing me instead of catching real criminals, then so be it and shame on them.
Oliver Coombes, London, England

As a Conservative voter myself I fully agree with Philippa's viewpoint about National ID cards - an abhorrent waste of money that does nothing to sort out 'today's' terrorist threat. They won't be compulsory until the end of the decade. However, I am greatly concerned about the lack of clear policy developed by the Liberal Democrats - how are they planning to combat this threat. I fear this is a problem that a penny on income tax won't resolve...
Alex Finch, Sheffield, UK

I agree with Philippa, there is absolutely no need for ID cards, and is at best a complete infringement on our freedom. I hope that we take the Australian route of the mid to late 80's, when the public scuppered the implementation of ID cards because they didn't want to personally pay for them; but I have little hope. I am extremely angry about this, and hope people realise that it is far worse than the Poll Tax.
Steve Pulvernis, London, UK

While it's true that it will not be compulsory to carry one's identity card at the outset, I reckon that this will quickly change and will be yet another reason for the police to hassle the people of this country.
Alan Bromley, Brighton

Totally agree about ID cards. Who in their right mind is going to shell out 87 for something that is not mandatory, is no better than existing documentation eg passport etc and requires yet more personal data to be passed over to government. Oh and it doesn't safeguard against identity theft, it actually makes it easier.
Mark , Ascot, UK

Philippa needs to wake up and see the whole picture. The same was said about the new driving licence when it first came out; now many outlets accept this as form of ID. You can't forge an ID card which contains the owner's fingerprints. The best way to reduce murders, solve crimes quicker, etc, etc would be take DNA from all new-born children and enter this on a data-base. If a person then went on to commit a crime it would be easier to solve a case? I don't know what she is so worried about. I would make it compulsory to carry the ID card. I have worked in many countries where you have to carry an ID card, what's the big deal? There is more to worry about in life than an ID card.
Graham Rees MBE, Storrington, UK

I can only endorse the view that they would be a waste of time. Any terrorist organisation worth their salt would be able to make fake IDs if required. Use the money more wisely
Nicholas Carr, Brighton

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