Thursday, March 06, 2008

National Loyalty Cards

Today, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith relaunches the ID card scheme as a kind of glorified loyalty card. [BBC News, March 5th 2008, comments by Robin Wilton, Scribe, Robin again].

A sarcastic commentary on his blog from Nick Robinson, the BBC political editor:

"By stopping the preaching of her old boss and adopting the reassuring tones of a bank manager Jacqui Smith is hoping to tip those polls back [in favour of ID cards] again." [ID cards]

Like bank managers are reassuring?!? A couple of comments (from Max Sceptic and Geoff Knott) point out the irony. What kind of bank manager is Nick talking about here anyway?

It seems that most experts and many laymen are now convinced that the ID card scheme cannot possibly achieve the benefits claimed by the government. I have discussed this matter on this blog many times before (see Label: ID cards). So what is going on? There are three possible explanations.
  • The government is very clever. The government knows something we don't know, or has a cunning plan it is hiding from us.
  • The government is very stupid. Despite the growing evidence and expert opinion to the contrary, the goverment still believes that the technology will work, the costs will be contained, and the alleged benefits will be delivered.
  • The government is completely powerless. A major initiative like this has got so much inner momentum that it cannot be diverted by mere mortals. Politicians have sold their souls to the devil, or perhaps a few large contractors. Interested parties are pulling the strings.
And these explanations are not mutually exclusive. A government is a complex beast, and who knows what inner torments it is suffering? Ah, bless!


Immo H√ľneke said...

Richard, this is a terrific analysis and makes a lot of things fall into place. You're right, the three theories are not mutually exclusive. In the past we have heard people commenting about the probability of "cock-up" vs. "conspiracy" - what you've shown is that in many situations it could be both! A cocked-up conspiracy is probably the worst kind.

Richard Veryard said...

But often the cocked-up conspiracies are the only ones we ever know about. An effective conspiracy covers its own tracks. Like the perfect murder.