BALPA and ID cards

Let me praise the pilots union. They are challenging the requirement that pilots have to have ID cards in Manchester to go airside. They argue that it will not strengthen security. It is in effect on a new tax on them to do their job, making them buy a card.

As the government steps up its expensive and unpopular bid to put these cards into effect, so the opposition is intensifying. ID cards and the big computer that goes with them is now the Number One example of wasteful and needless expenditure used generally in debate against the government, it surveillance society and its over the top spending plans.This site was an early user of this excellent example of what is wrong with this government.

How much longer can the government hold out? Even David Blunkett thinks they are “mis selling” ID cards. If you “mis sell” in the private sector the Regulator stops you to fine you.


  1. Blank Xavier
    May 7, 2009

    Nice bit of investigation from Computer Weekly.

    Basically, it looks like passports are now so expensive (they should cost around 15 UKP but are about 100 UKP and are going to get more expensive) because they are in fact being used to pay for parts of the ID card infrastructure.

    1. mikestallard
      May 7, 2009

      This incontinent government has got to get a grip of its spending – and fast.
      Next time I am stopped by a Community Support Officer on suspicion of being a Smoker, he will snap, “Your papers please!”
      Who cares whether or not it is a passport or an ID card.
      And who knows what information will be on it when he phones the details through to the Desk?

  2. Freddy
    May 7, 2009

    I’ve lost track of this stuff. If I were to go and replace my passport tomorrow, would I have to have my fingerprints taken ?

  3. Stuart Fairney
    May 7, 2009

    One hopes that to a man, they refuse to carry one (after all, how many airline pilots have unconfirmed identities?) and the government then either drops the need or closes Manchester airport.

    I suppose all the foreign pilots from almost any part of the world will not have ID cards?

    More lunacy.

  4. Robert
    May 7, 2009

    The cost of the ID scheme is the least of its ugliness. The whole concept is vile and is anathema to liberty.

  5. Colin D.
    May 7, 2009

    Could it be that the reason the Government is so loathe to stop the Identity Cards is that that this is all part of a covert EU policy and Brussels is pulling the strings?

    1. Number 6
      May 7, 2009

      ID cards are indeed an EU diktat. And we know that when this socialist superstate makes a decision it will implement it. Just look at the constitution. Ireland votes against it and is told to vote again. The EU will never stop its attempts to control every aspect of our lives and the mere ‘will of the people’ means as much to them as it did to Uncle Joe Stalin and the USSR.

      In short, ID cards, along with road charging, energy tax on your home etc etc will be back in one form or another. Cameron will be as powerless to change any of it as Brown is now.

      With the EU, the only way to deal with it is to leave it.

  6. Cliff.
    May 7, 2009

    Ms Smith, our Home Economics Secretary, has announced that we will be able to go into chemist shops, supermarkets and the Post Office to provide fingerprints etc for our EUSSR ID card. I would just like to say that, any shop or business, including the Post Office, that conspires with the government on this ID card plan, will loose all my custom and I hope others will feel the same.

  7. yellowbelly
    May 7, 2009

    BALPA, Norman Tebbit’s old muckers, more power to their collective elbows!

  8. Chris H
    May 7, 2009

    I read in one online paper this morning that Smith now wants to have the whole scheme up and running by 2012. She obviously assumes that Labour will still be in power, does she know something that we don’t? Why has no-one managed to stop this scheme once and for all, even if just based on the financial wastefulness of it, besides the emotional and liberty issues? there is clearly something else underlying it that is providing the push; Colin D is probably closest to it.

    The id card has been robustly opposed for many reasons, longer than my arm. I think it is awful to ask a law-abiding person to hand over their fingerprints like a common criminal, simply so that they can “prove” they have a right to exist. Many already have passports and driving licences; that ought to be enough because the form-filling for those is very comprehensive as it is.
    Someone who hasn’t got a passport or doesn’t drive can surely be catered for in a much more “user-friendly” manner than being frogmarched off to the nearest pharmacy for interrogation and scanning?!

    As for the pilots, well they’ve been through a pile of rigorous checks once, they dont need to do it all again. Their cards are probably worth a lot more than one of Smith’s.

    1. alan jutson
      May 7, 2009

      Agree with all you say about ID cards.

      They will be a complete waste of money, in trying to track terrorists, but this Government just want your information because they want it, no other reason than they do.

      It all about CONTROL.

      The computer will probably still not be working in 2012 if other computer project results are the norm.
      So probably wishfull thinking that it will be up and running by that date.

      Big concern is that ID cards will enter via the back door, in the name of PASSPORTS.
      Whilst you can refuse to have an ID card, you will need a passport if you wish to travel abroad.

      So there you are.

      Guarantee that the Government will force you into having an ID card as well, if you wish to claim any form of Benefit (probably including child benefit) No Card, No Claim.

      Want to open a Bank account, we need tio see your identity card.

      Only have to see what efforts they have made on money laundering to track cash.

      Anyone paying more than £10,000 in cash for any product, has to have their identity proved/verified by the receiving Company by Law.

      If the receiving Company does not implement the checks, then they can be fined.

      Business used to be so simple, not any more.

  9. Jeremy
    May 8, 2009

    It is not ID cards that BALPA members object to. Pilots all have ID cards issued by the airports anyway.

    Personally I would like work ID cards for pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers to be issued by a central authority (DfT TRANSEC?) rather than the airport companies, and if TRANSEC can make a security case for having biometric cards then so be it.

    The problem BALPA objects to is making issue of work ID cards conditional on having a natioinal ID card linked to the NIR database with the asociated privacy and surveillance issues unrelated to work. And how can the government claim national ID cards are voluntary when people’s jobs are conditional on having one?

  10. Sue Doughty
    May 8, 2009

    If pilots refuse, or delay, to get the ID cards they will not be working that run and will be put onto other flights. Thus planes will not be landing at that airport so often and the passengers will have to land elsewhere and travel the difference on land unless the airports all agree to stop demanding the ID cards.
    Imagine if there is bad weather or an incident and a plane is diverted to one that demands a pass the pilot does not have. She has to stay airside until she, or he, can fly out again, which may not be for several hours if her rosta has run out of hours for a while. If the whole system has seized up she is to sleep on plastic benches until rostered on to fly out in a serviced and loaded plane. So the airport will close – and that would be a shame because it is a pretty good and popular airport employing many thousands of people locally.
    The true cost of ID cards is therefore very much higher than they are telling us

  11. Pascha
    May 9, 2009

    Dunno why everyone is so dead set against ID cards. I think they’re gonna be popular wiv all me bezzies. You can use an ID card as a passport in Europe. So, £30 for an ID card, or £72 for a passport? Kerching! No brainer! Ibiza here we come!

  12. John, Wrexham
    May 10, 2009

    Another issue with ID cards is that they won’t even deliver the few benefits the government claims they will. I know credit cards are different but all sorts of claims were made about ‘chip and pin’. has credit card fraud fallen? probably not, it just happens differently. ID fraud will continue, just in new and yet to be imagined ways. in fact people’s trust in these new cards may actually make ID fraud easier as we drop our ‘common sense’ guard and believe in the omnipotence of technology instead.

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