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Saturday, 11 July 2009

Which teenage problem matters more to you?

Have you ever visited Postman Al's website?

Postman Al Johnson runs the Home Office, and a quick trip to his crazed online realm is all you need to know what's wrong with things in BloatoLand.

This is the lead story on the site, dated a month ago (they must be so busy, busy if they can post that rarely):

Identity cards will be rolled out more quickly under new government proposals.

Residents of Greater Manchester will be able to apply for an ID card before the end of this year, and residents in the northwest will be able to apply from early next year.

From 2011-12, ID cards will roll out to the wider population on an entirely voluntary basis.

This accelerated roll-out will benefit those people who need the cards the most. ID cards will be particularly helpful for young people who need to prove their age, and will empower businesses to ensure that they aren’t selling items such as alcohol and cigarettes to those who are underage.

What is all this drivel about? Why does it matter? And by the way, wouldn't it be a good idea to shoot people who use the word "empower" - immediately after crucifying the ones who write "accelerated rollout"?

Well, there is a line much quoted by politicians which I think Louis XIV said first: "To govern is to choose."

Wouldn't any half-competent economic manager - let alone the brilliant "I saved the world from financial meltdown" Toadocrat - say: "Hmmm. Let's divide all expenditure between that which is essential and that which isn't, then take the money we're pissing away on the latter and allocate it to the former"

Does that take too much brain power? As a congenital ditherer I am sure I'd be useless as a governor, but isn't it obvious?

Nobody wants these cards. All available reports suggest they will achieve nothing. And since nobody has to have them they're pointless anyhow. Yet the cost of introducing them is somewhere between £5.4 billion and (says one report) £18 billion.

How the hell they could cost anything like that mystifies me, though I bet the phrase "thieving consultant" comes into it.

But how the hell it can possibly be a sane investment mystifies me even more.

Is that money wisely used in making sure businesses don't worry (as if they give a shit) about selling booze to kids - which it won't, as the stupid cards aren't compulsory? Wouldn't it be better spent on proper equipment for those kids' friends fighting unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Surely some choices are easier than others, even to the collection of crooks and village idiots running Britain.

What also amazes me is the equally alarming inability of Cameron's bunch of expense account clowns to choose between what matters and what doesn't - and speak out.

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