This Monday (8th Feb) the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) began the next phase of the ID Card Con - targeting 16-24 year olds living in London.
Minister for Identity, Meg Hillier invited the media to come and see the first 'volunteer' be fingerprinted at 8:30am. A dozen or more hardy NO2ID supporters mounted a chilly white protest in biting winds and the odd flurry of snow outside Victoria passport office. IPS security decided to stay in the warm, and keep an eye on us through the window.
Getting there half an hour before the minister meant we caught the media going in - and also coming out. Phil Booth gave interviews to ITV news and the Press Association cameras, and reporters from several London university newspapers. Guy Herbert spoke to news radio.
Inside the passport office, according to one person watching, the volunteer actually referred to himself as a guinea-pig. Shame he didn't get the full message on the flyers we were handing out, which is *don't* be a guinea-pig.
Bizarrely, one young man walking past our protest waved what looked like an ID card at us. He was turned away from the front door, but headed in by the side entrance. Members of the media said later he was a member of an IPS Public Panel "independent scrutiny" groups, hand-picked by IPS - which may explain how he came to be issued with a card before the
Glimpsing Ms Hillier through the glass around 9:30am, we rapidly relocated our protest round the corner. But to no avail. The Minister snuck out another way, leaving another decidedly low-key media event without directly engaging her critics.
For more information, flyers to download and print off, and notice of upcoming 'Stop the ID Card Con' events in London and across the North West [UK], please visit: http://www.no2id.net/idcardcon/