The annual disclosure of documents under the 30 year rule always throws up some interesting, some shocking and some embarrassing documents. So the government must be somewhat embarrassed by the feelings of the last Labour administration's take on ID cards.
In 1978 Labour felt that their introduction "would require major changes in practices and powers reaching far beyond immigration control". They stuck to their plans in 1978 not to introduce immigration quotas, as they didn't want the "objectionable2 measure of making everyone carry identification papers. They described the measures of Margaret Thatcher back then as draconian. They felt that such measures in the past were only introduced in times of war.
Step forward 30 years. The war we are apparently fighting is a war on terror in 1978 we were at the height of another terrorist threat. One that struck far more often and far more deadly than the current situation. Yet Labour then did not deem ID cards necessary in 1978 to combat the IRA.
If you consider that most of the current string of domestic terrorists are citizens just as those of 1978, you do have to wonder just what has changed? The only thing is the level of technology that can be used on an ID card. But if Thatcher's measures were described as draconian where does that leave the current situation?
One thing it does show is that Labour are laying aside their principles. In 1978 they were facing serious competition for power, yet were still prepared to stand on matters of principle. When they starting talking about ID cards themselves they were riding high, and the principles of 1978 were forgotten.