Monday, February 05, 2007

The Tories and identity cards

Iain Dale crows:
The LibDems seem to take great delight in asserting that they are the only Party which is totally opposed to ID cards. Well they won't be able to trot out that old canard again.
Today David Davis, has today written to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell giving formal notice that an incoming Conservative Government would scrap the Government's ID card project and asking what provision, if any, has been made in the relevant contractual arrangements to protect the Government - and public funds - against the costs that would be incurred as a result of early cancellation of the scheme. A similar letter has also been sent to the likely major contractors warning them of our intentions.
This is good news and the Conservatives are to be commended. But I wonder how this will play with the membership.

I remember one of my walking holidays around the South-West coast from the early 1990s. I spent the night in Kingsand - a charming village across the Tamar from Plymouth. It was one of those magical evenings where you make friends with the locals and people keep buying you drinks.

Towards closing time, the local Conservatives came in from a meeting and I got talking to them too. They had been talking about identity cards and asked what I thought. I said (a little pretentiously) that I didn't see why, as a freeborn Englishman, I should have to carry a card to show my right to be in my own country.

Yes, they said, there was one person at the meeting who had said that, but the rest of us are all in favour of cards. There major reason for supporting them was their belief that the country was overrun with illegal immigrants.

Perhaps none of us can be quite so sceptical about that as I was in those days, but this anecdote does serve a reminder of just how far the Tory rank and file will have to travel if they are to embrace Cameron's attempt to bring the party back into the mainstream.

I wish Cameron well, but a lot of people will pounce on him gleefully if he fails to improve the Tory performance markedly at the next election.


Iain Dale said...

Jonathan, Look at the 70 or so comments on the thread. Even I was a bit surpised by the general euphoria which has greeted this announcement. The Tory Party is changing.

The Cat said...

But Iain (and I'm not deliberately stalking you across the LD blogs - honest!) that's hardly surprising in terms of even the Tory readership of your blog - typically younger & more libertarian tories.

You well know that the Tory grassroots (average age somewhere in the mid-60s) has a very different political profile to the relatively small numbers on the net.

Praguetory said...

Are you saying that nothing should be done about illegal immigrants?

Jonathan Calder said...

No, I am not saying that nothing should be one about illegal immigrants.