Just to worry anyone who might have qualms about a national I.D. scheme, I thought I ought to share with you the problems I am having with direct.gov.uk.
A year ago I thought I'd apply for a new driving license. Direct.gov.uk claimed that it could marry up my details from my passport and my driving license and would therefore save me the hassle of having to have more photos done, posting forms, etc, and that this would be a shining example of joined up thinking by the government.
Sadly, when I filled everything in online last year, the computer system was unable to find my details, told me my passport didn't exist, and I had 21 days to send though a new photo to them, at which point they would issue a new driving license. I couldn't believe how stupid this was, so didn't send anything in. The address on my driving license is a family address still so it's not doing me any harm to have an old license.
Anyway, move on 12 months and I thought I'd have a go again on direct.gov.uk and see if I exist now. Well in part, the government do know that I exist because they tell me I already have a direct.gov.uk login, but they refuse to allow me to use it. So when I phoned them and asked them to reset my password, I realise just how serious a problem I might have. You see, because I didn't send in any photo ID last year within 21 days, I have been banned and barred from using direct.gov.uk AND they have no way of re-instating me and no number I can contact in order to be allowed to use the system ever again.
Whatever does this say about the government's ID card plans that they can simply ban people from government IT systems and not allow them any way of being able to re-activiate themselves.
This is an issue I will be taking up with my MP.