"Nobody will be forced to carry ID cards," says Jacqui Smith, New Labour's propagandist-in-chief. So what, precisely, is the point?
The real news, though, lies just below the soundbite: from 2011, everyone applying for a passport will automatically be fingerprinted and stuck on the ID database. Which is a bit like tying someone's foot to the accelerator pedal while telling them they don't have to speed up.
UPDATE: Not even Jacqui Smith could spin her way out of this one. So now ID cards will be consumer-led (I think that means you still have to pay for them).