19 February 2007
Tony Blair has written to everyone  who has signed an anti-ID cards petition on the notorious Number 10 website, reiterating claims that have
been refuted many times over , and trying to sell the system on the basis of ‘feature creep’ which ministers promised Parliament would never be
allowed to happen.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator said:
’70% would be spent anyway’ is a fabricated figure. Mr Blair is repeating an arbitrary piece of creative accounting as if it were meaningful. The
truth is that passports are only being re-engineered in this hugely expensive and bullying fashion in order to provide cover for the ID scheme.
The PM’s claims on this subject are not exactly lies, so much as fact-free. Endlessly repeating a fabrication doesn’t make it real, Mr Blair.
Notes for editors:
1) The full text of Tony Blair’s e-mail is reproduced on NO2ID’s forums, here: http://forum.no2id.net/viewtopic.php?t=15378
2) Other pseudo-facts used by the government in ID propaganda include:
* £1.7 billion as the annual cost of ‘identity fraud’ – see Andrew Gilligan, Evening Standard, 20/6/05:
or Silicon.com, 2/2/06:
* 900,000 crime scene marks (which might be multiple, or indistinct – leading to false ‘matches’) are misrepresented as separate crimes.
* Changes to the passport are required due to “international obligation”. UK passports are already ICAO-compliant, and continue to qualify for the US Visa Waiver scheme, due to the inclusion of RFID chips and machine-readable data on the photo page. The NAO reports that the total cost of this ‘upgrade’ was just £61 million.
The government refuses to detail how it intends to spend £378 million per year (“70%” of its current 10 year estimate for the Home Office costs of the ID programme, divided by 10) for the next 10 years on ‘improvements to the passport’ – let alone the ‘additional’ £162 million per year that it implies is for stand-alone ID cards. If these changes are required anyway, what is it hiding?
3) Tony McNulty, then Home Office minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality, clearly stated in Standing Committee D on 6 July 2005: “There
are safeguards not only against state agencies, for want of a better phrase, *going fishing in the database* but against misbehaviour and abuse of the
database by those who manage the system.” – reported in Hansard:
but clearly no longer the case, since the Prime Minister’s e-mail directly contemplates ‘fishing expeditions’ and both data-sharing within UK government and passing information on citizens to foreign governments.
4) NO2ID is the non-partisan national campaign against ID cards and the database state. NO2ID is affiliated to by the National Union of Journalists:
Scroll down NO2ID’s front page http://www.no2id.net for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that the campaign is working to actively oppose.