You can say many things about the civil liberties record of the previous government, but one thing is irrefutable: they rarely know when to stop chasing a lost cause.
From 42 days to control orders, they were a model of illjudged and overbearing persistence. And so to today, during the report stage debate of the Identity Documents Bill – which is set to scrap the hated ID card once and for all – Big Brother Watch favourite Meg Hillier was moaning:
"When something is bought in good faith there needs to be some recompense for the individual. We recognise, reluctantly, that both parties in this Government have a mandate to get rid of ID cards… but this issue is very important."
And promptly introduced a motion to force the Government to pay back £30 to the misguided individuals who signed-up to a lifetime of living on a database.
Up stepped Damian Green, Big Brother Watch actual favourite, who said:
"I just do not believe there is a single person in this country struggling for money who would have decided an ID card was the best way to spend £30.
"Taxpayers have already paid out £292 million with fewer than 15,000 cards issued, at a cost of more than £20,000 per card.
"This is by any standards a scandalous waste of money which lies squarely at the door of ministers in the previous government."
And Hillier's amendment was defeated, 302 votes to 189.
Common sense reigns and hopefully that will be the last we have to hear of it.
By Dylan Sharpe