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They mean me 

Friends who live elsewhere in Europe can’t understand my distaste for compulsory identity cards. I’m not sure I can articulate it fully, but there’s something that really sticks in my craw about the idea that I can be required to prove my identity for no reason other than some official wants me to.

Well, Britain’s historic innocence in this regard is just about over. Within the next four years, as a resident alien, I will be required to carry a “mandatory biometric identity document”. And it’s pretty clear that soon everyone else will be as well. A small consolation is that it seems that although cards will be required, you will not have to carry them, which is a delightfully odd British compromise.

The language the Home Office uses in outlining its scheme is a poor example of doublespeak. “Identity cards will provide every person in this country with an easy and secure way of demonstrating their right to be here and of asserting their place in the community. With the proper safeguards on our privacy, the scheme will bring benefits to each of us as individuals but also provide mutual benefits to our society as a whole.”

British Spin, on the other hand, reckons ID cards are okay so long as they devise a method so he won’t lose it. “I shall support iD cards when they are magnetically attracted to their true owner, seeking them out through rains and shine like a faithful dog returning to its master.”

Who invited him? 

Jonathan Freedland: “We all know the feeling. You glance at the diary and realise you have guests coming to stay next week, when nothing could be less convenient. They’re coming from abroad, expecting to be entertained for several days and it’s far too late to cancel.”

No one wants to fess up to inviting president Bush to London next week. It’s quite hilarious. Remarkably, this is apparently the first-ever official state visit of a US president to Britain. State visits in London are two a penny, so I find this incredibly odd. It will be a good week not to be in London.

Major story 

Here’s the trail in full for one of the highlighted stories on the evening news last night in Melbourne: “New research shows that wayward shopping trolleys cause more than $1 million in damage to cars each year.” This thrilling news was accompanied by footage of a trolley rolling into, and making a slight dent in, a car. Must see TV.

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