The House of Commons is debating the issue of ID cards and biometric passports today.

Rushing the process through now means most British people are preoccupied by Christmas preparations, and too cold to considering taking to the freezing streets in protest. A masterstroke. Expect all future controversial legislation to be implemented in inclement weather.

According to official figures, it will cost £415,000,000 of public money per year to run a biometric passport scheme, plus £85,000,000 for ID cards.

As yet, the government has come up with no convincing reason how ID cards might protect Britain’s security. Charles Clarke, the new Home Secretary, has written an article in the Times in which he seems to claim that biometric passports are considered necessary to fit in with the USA’s requirements, no matter what the cost. “Under current plans, for example, from next autumn British tourists who need a new passport will have to get a biometric one to visit the US or get a biometric visa. We will — rightly — have to bear the costs of introducing the new technology to enhance our passports anyway.”

Why do we need to bear the costs of introducing invasive technology to comply with one single nation’s far-right agenda? He doesn’t say. It’s taken for granted that we’re the 51st state, all too ready to comply for a pat on the back and a choccy biscuit.

Clarke goes on to sat that “a secure identity system will help to prevent terrorist activity, more than a third of which makes use of false identities.” The naivete of his assumption that ID cards will not be stolen, traded or expertly forged is shocking.

His closing remarks are worthy of “plain speaking” (aka arrogant and rude) Blunkett himself: “I claim that the ID Cards Bill that I am introducing today is a profoundly civil libertarian measure because it promotes the most fundamental civil liberty in our society, which is the right to live free from crime and fear.” Labour again employs doublespeak to introduce something as its exact opposite. See also – tuition fees, which made higher education “more accessible”. And many, many more.

Anyone who seeks to question how exactly spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ pounds on biometric data storage can lead to a utopian life “free from crime and fear” is told they are guilty of “woolly liberal thinking”.

Let’s pause for just a moment and remember this is another member of the Labour Party talking.

Ask for specifics, for facts and data, for proof that this isn’t an obscene waste of money which would put the Millennium Dome to shame, and you’re just being difficult.

Predictably, the so-called Opposition party are providing no opposition at all. Having weighed up their options to see which opinion would best give them the reputation of serious potential government, tough on crime and immigration, they’ve fallen in line with the ID card scheme. And no doubt cursed Labour once more for stealing their right wing thunder.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party officially opposing the scheme.

Campaigns against the government’s latest insane idea are making lots of noise, but we know how much notice Blair’s coven takes of public opinion. With any luck, this might be another nail in the coffin of his career. And it might galvanise the electorate into punishing Labour severely next April.

But if ever we needed a viable opposition party who aren’t afraid to challenge our neo-Stalinist government and the legacy of 25 years of Tory/Labour dismantling of public services, it is now. If you’re out there, you have my vote already.