The poisoned chalice of trying to pretend to be seen to be "consulting" the public, about the labour government's wretched Identity cards and centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register, has currently been palmed off onto the most junior Minister at the Home Office. the hapless Meg Hillier MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity)..
She is currently touring the country, at a series of not exactly secret, but certainly deliberately unpublicised meetings, with invited audiences, with notifications to the local media and invitations only being sent out less than a week beforehand.
This "consultation" appears to be a vain hope that somebody, anybody, will think of a way to "sell" the alleged benefits of ID cards to "young people" or indeed, to any substantial groups of people at all.
Note that despite the tens of millions of pounds which the Home Office has spent on external consultants and the best efforts of their own civil service staff, and the fabulous political skills of their NuLabour political special advisors, they have had no success in doing this so far, and seem to be flapping about aimlessly.
The meetings are deliberately being publicised only a few days in advance to the local media, with invitations being sent out to the attendees, less than a week before.
The NO2ID Campaign or anybody else who might ask awkward questions, are deliberately refused admission to these meetings.
Yesterday, the Edinburgh "consultation" meeting was held at a local hotel, and, nine NO2ID supporters were arrested and charged, despite their protest being peaceful and lawful.
The Questions which some people did manage to ask at the meeting, were not answered, except with newspeak slogans.
Read Geraint Bevan's first hand description of the events - it would be a comical farce, if it was not actually so serious.
The fact that this peaceful demonstration, at a low attendance meeting behind closed doors, was filmed by the local STV television news crew, seems to have foiled the Home Office's attempt to suppress publicity and reporting. You can see a flash video clip of the STV report on their website, but the sound track is mangled.
Meg Hillier seemed to be repeating the Labour cult mantras and blatant lies, that somehow their particular scheme would be cost effective against terrorism, illegal immigration or, online fraud (unlike ID Cards in other countries, there are no Digital Certificates which could be used to authenticate online e-commerce or banking etc. transactions over the world wide web).
Incredibly, after all these years, the Government still has not dared to publish a detailed business case of what exactly their scheme will achieve, how it will work and how much it will cost every else (including other Government departments and the public) apart from vague cost figures just for the Home Office itself.
We urge the Borders and Lothian Police and the Procurator Fiscal to drop these charges against the nine NO2ID Campaign supporters., and to purge the centralised database records of the personal details which have been taken from them as a result of the political arrests.
UPDATE: see also blogger James Hammerton's The NO2ID Nine account of his arrest on a "ridiculous jumped up charge" and for links to the media coverage.