Downing St have responded to another anti-id cards petition with yet more mealy words:
However, identity cards will be phased in for the wider UK population on an entirely voluntary basis.
…until you want a passport, and probably in time a drivers’ license or CRB check. Then it’s suddenly not voluntary anymore, as you can’t get one without the other.
You will not be fined if you refuse to provide fingerprint biometrics, you simply will not be recorded on the NIR and will not receive an identity card. There are no criminal penalties for not applying for an identity card.
You will be given a reasonable period of time to contact IPS in the case of updates to the NIR and there will be no criminal penalty for those who fail to contact IPS.
There will indeed be no criminal penalties. Specifically in order to avoid poll tax-esque matyrdom en masse, an entirely new kind of fine has been invented: the civil penalty. This marvellously self-contradictory idea is exactly the same as a fine, except that it’s not criminal, so the court (probably) cannot send you to prison for not paying it.They just attach your earnings instead.The quotes given above are not lies, but they are deeply misleading and dishonest.
Under the legislation in the Identity Cards Act 2006 no services may be made dependent on the production of an identity card. You will not be prevented from renting or selling a home, staying in a hotel, buying a car, registering with a doctor or from accessing any other public or private services just because you do not hold an identity card.
This is indeed true: but it is not the point. Such services will required ID cards eventually, anyway. There is clearly no point in a gold standard of identity if people do not require it. If a gold standard existed, why would you accept anything else? If people do not have an ID card, they will not be able to use services which require them, whether the legislation says so or not.
The critical missing word from this response is “yet”. There is no explicit compulsion, yet. Making services dependent on production of a card is indeed not allowed, yet. This will change. If it did not, it would defeat the point in having identity cards in the first place.
Even this government aren’t that stupid.