Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

ID cards are not passports

Following a trail from no2id Mrs R found this article in the Manchester Evening News, which says that
Some 1,736 people in Greater Manchester have bought the £30 cards after the Home Office promised they could be used to travel in Europe.
Unfortunately it would seem that the Home Office didn't bother to tell immigration staff or airlines in other European countries, including Germany, who
said they would not accept the cards until they had been officially recognised by the German federal authorities.
Cyrus Nayeri was treated like a criminal when he used his new ID card to travel to Bonn
So - it's important to remember that if you choose to spend £30 on an ID card (that will lock you into a pernicious system of checks, rules, and fines for non-compliance) it offers no advantage whatsoever outside UK - because nobody else knows what it's for.

At £30 the ID card may be relatively inexpensive, now, but it cannot be used as a cheap substitute for a Passport. It has to be used alongside a passport.

It seems to be reaching the time that UK has to become a full signatory of the Schengen Agreement. Failing to do so has meant this country cannot fully access the database, and pretending reluctance is related to "protecting our borders" has proved a fruitless exercise because, with hundreds of miles of unpoliced coastline, it's like trying to keep water out of a sponge.

Being a full signatory to Schengen would also make travel easier, both to and from other European countries - which would ease congestion, possibly reduce costs and would also make employment in other EU states an easier option for British nationals - if they can speak the language (but that's a wholly different subject for discussion.)

1 comment:

Simon said...

Most British people do not want to join Schengen, or indeed remain in the EU at all. The politicians do not dare put the matter to a referendum, because they know the answer. Currently Britain is, for all practical purposes a vassal state of Brussels, just as the 26 other member states are ruled by Brussels. We feel it more keenly because we are terrible at foreign languages, and our legal, cultural and business frameworks are very different from those prevailing on the Continent. They are not going to do it our way, so we will do it their way. The resulting upheaval is unpleasant for most of us (even if 'it is for our good'). If you read the details of the Schengen agreement you will see that (A) Brussels can force Britain to join Schengen willy-nilly, it is only a matter of time and (B) Schengen assumes that all EU citizens will carry ID cards. ID cards are almost impossible to avoid unless we leave the EU (which we won't). But we do not have to endure the National Identity Register. If we can get that demolished by the next government (along with many other databases unilaterally imposed on us by the totalitarians in power at present) then the ID card itself will be useful. Almost no-one in the country (including, one suspects, the man who signed it) wanted us to be a party to the Lisbon Treaty. But we have signed it, so we may as well do the best we can in our reduced and powerless circumstances.