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Jacqui Smith unveils the UK's new identity card - with no sign of Britain
09-26-2008, 09:33 AM,
Jacqui Smith unveils the UK's new identity card - with no sign of Britain
Quote:The UK's first identity card for 60 years has been unveiled by Jacqui Smith - with no sign of the union flag or mention of the word Britain.

Instead, the credit card-sized plastic cards carried a picture of a bull - in common with other European Union identity cards - as well as five stars drawn from the stars on the official flag of the EU.

The card is to be initially issued to people outside the EU renewing their permission to stay in the UK as students or on the basis of marriage.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 cards, which will initially cost £30 each, will be issued by the end of next March and ministers predict one million a year will be handed out from 2010.

Officials said the image of a bull represented the Greek myth in which Zeus turns himself into a bull and abducts Europa, a beautiful princess.

Campaigners said it was bizarre that there not more outward symbols of Britishness on the card, given that it will be used as a proof of residence.

Lorraine Mulally, spokesman for campaigners Open Europe, said: "The use of EU symbols, instead of national ones, is part of a wider attempt to promote the idea of a common European citizenship, which EU federalists have been pushing for some time. The Government seems happy to buy into this."

Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, added: "A British ID card without a British flag on it? Instead we have the symbol of Europa, and we know what Zeus did to her.

"We don't need or want ID cards in the first place, free people in a free country don't require them. But to have the European Union thrust down our throats at the same time is simply a load of old bull."

Miss Smith, the Home Secretary, defended the card's design, insisting that other countries in the EU did not display their national flags on the ID cards.

She pointed out that the pink and blue card displayed the Government's coat of arms on the front.

On the reverse, the four national flowers or plants of the countries that make up the United Kingdom are etched into the plastic - the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

The cards contain the individual's name, their photograph, the card's expiry date and details of how long they can stay in the country.

Other information includes people's date and place of birth, their gender, nationality, and whether they are entitled to benefits.

Biometric data, including copies of all of the person's fingerprints, will be stored on a special security chip.

Miss Smith admitted that it would be impossible to include fingerprints of some people on the card. But she denied that taking 10 prints from the elderly or those with missing fingers would be a problem.

She said: "It is so exceptional that it will not undermine the fundamental nature of the scheme. In the very few cases of people who cannot give a fingerprint, we are looking at mechanisms to deal with those categories."

The card will start to be issued on November 25 to foreign nationals at offices in Croydon, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.

From next year anyone working in the restricted areas in Britain's airports would need to have an ID card and it will be made generally available to British citizens from 2011.

Those cards, which will be voluntary, may look different and display different information but they will enable the holder to travel without a passport around the EU.

Miss Smith said the cards would protect against identity fraud, illegal working, and help people prove their identity easily.

She said: "Many people want securely and quickly to be able to prove their identity and want to be able to check people are who they say they are."

The Conservatives reaffirmed the party's commitment to scrapping ID cards if they win the next election, likely in 2010.

The party pointed out that ID cards will not be required by foreigners who are here for less than three months.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: "ID cards are an expensive white elephant that risk making us less - not more safe. It is high time the Government scrapped this ill-fated project.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis, who resigned over the alleged erosion of civil liberties and the creation of a "database state", added: "Even during wartime, ID cards did not contain fingerprints."
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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TriWooOx Podcast
09-26-2008, 05:28 PM,
Jacqui Smith unveils the UK's new identity card - with no sign of Britain
Just because the Tory's are going to scrap the id card doesn't mean they will get my vote.

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