Card declined: how Britain said no to ID cards, three times over

In my 2013 book Card declined, I trace the history of British ID cards from Second World War to the most recent scheme’s abolition.

The book features indecisive prime ministers, leaders of the opposition adopting comedy German accents, civil servants leaving secret plans in a junked filing cabinet and losing half the country’s personal data in the post, strident MPs, rhetorical peers, home secretaries resigning over fast-tracking a lover’s visa and a husband’s taste in on-demand adult entertainment, the intervention of the Pet Shop Boys, an identity minister losing her ID card on a promotional trip for ID cards and identity card holders being barred from ferries and chased through airports.

This is the story of government ID cards in Britain from 1945 to 2011: a battle for British liberty that often descends into farce.

I wrote articles on the book for The Register, Guardian Public Leaders Network and Campaign4Change. There are extracts on this site here and here, and these on The Register: How Labour lost power in a case of mistaken ID; How did something so small and pink cause so much trouble?; and Yet another Cabinet-level ID card farce.

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