Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The hidden cost of ID cards - and driving licenses

It was a bit late in life that I eventually passed my driving test. The reasons were complicated. A bit of renegade environmentalism, a bit of personal economics and a bit of fear. By the time I passed the photo license had been introduced and as much as I may have objected to having one there was no visible national resistance - as there is against ID cards now.

Ten years down the line and I have just received a license renewal form. I have to provide a new photo - even though the photo on the license is so small (22mm x 17mm) and foggy (it looks like it was printed on a first generation inkjet printer) and that I any wrinkles I may have accumulated are clearly invisible. I had no hair then and I have not been using any hair restorer nor have I resorted to follicle implants.

I don't remember being told (when I wasn't given the choice about having a photo license) that it was going to have to be renewed every ten years - nor, more significantly, that it was going to cost £20 every time.

I've long cautioned about objecting to the introduction of ID cards on the grounds of cost - it would be so simple to placate such objections by simply saying that instead of charging £100 they can be had for £25. Many objectors would then say, 'actually, that sounds quite reasonable' and roll over to be shafted by the tool of the police state under the impression that they were getting a bargain.

But it should be noted by those who may not object to an affordable tyranny that it may well be unknowingly sold to them on the never-never.

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