An ID climb-down?

The new Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, describes himself as an "instinctive" supporter of ID cards (your report, 1 July). Can we take that to mean he has no rational arguments to justify the scheme?

In the face of resolute opposition from pilots, the Home Office has been forced to retreat on its plans to target airport workers first. But no-one should be misled by Mr Johnson's announcement that carrying of ID cards will be voluntary. That was always the case.

The government has not yet backed down on its insistence that passport applicants will have to register on the intrusive ID database. They still intend to waste billions on the project.

All that has changed is that the Home Office has been forced to acknowledge opposition is fiercer than anticipated.

DR GERAINT BEVAN

Grovepark Gardens

Glasgow

In hyper-inflationary 1930s Germany people lost all numerical perspective. Our latest Home Secretary suffers from the same malaise.

When questioned on what remains of the discredited ID card scheme, namely the pointless national database, Alan Johnson refers to its 20 billion cost as "diddly squat".

Twenty billion pounds may be diddly squat to this profligate government, but it is a matter of some importance to the rest of us.

New Labour ID cards are dead, the national database is dying. Kill it off now and save our diddly squat 20 billion for things that matter.

BARRY TIGHE

Hermon Hill

London E11

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