There's still time – just – to get over the Passport Office's website and renew your passport before the end of the month. I did mine a couple of days ago.
Why do it?
Because, as far as we can tell, if you get it done by the end of the month then you avoid going on the national identity database – the real Big Brother scariness behind the ID card scheme.
This is from the Renew for Freedom website:
You may have heard that you'll be able to opt out of having an ID card if you renew your passport before 1st January 2010. But the card is not the point. Even if you chose not to have it, you would still have to pay for it. And you will get no choice about attending an official interview, producing numerous personal documents to be recorded, and having your fingerprints and eye scans taken for the records.
Once you are on the Register, you will never get off until it is abolished. But you'll be exposed to all the risks and dangers of the scheme immediately. The Home Office is building the most complex and intrusive ID control system in the world. It will certainly go wrong.
Renewing by the end of May keeps you from having to sign up for the database for a decade – by which time hopefully it will have been abolished – and also sends a two-fingered signal that you don't believe in that sort of thing.
According to Nick Clegg, Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary and one of a number of senior Lib Dems to have renewed in protest: “ID cards will be expensive, intrusive and ineffective. I urge everyone who is concerned about their introduction to join the NO2ID 'Renew for Freedom' campaign and renew their passport over the coming weeks.
“The Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote against the introduction of identity cards, and we're making our opposition clear today by buying ourselves 10 years of freedom from this unnecessary scheme.”
Now, speaking personally, I know who I am and I don't see why I should have to prove it to some pointy-headed little bureaucrat from the Home Office at the instruction of some faceless New Labour government beetle who went from student unionism to the House of Commons without discovering real life in the middle.
Just my view. Might not be yours, but it's mine.