The Daily was amused to see that last A-lister called as a contestant in the policy gameshow was one Rehman Chishti, though actually he’s only on the B-list. Chishti is a former Labour candidate who scurried over to the Tories when his career prospects looked brighter on the other side.
This correspondent recalls Chishti as one of the less bright Blairite Labour Students activists of his generation and perhaps the most hilarious change since then is the ridiculous posh accent that he now clearly puts on for the benefit of his audience.
His pet policy, not unreasonable in itself, was on tougher sentences for repeat drink drivers. He chose to introduce it with increasingly cringe-worthy paeons of praise to “our great leader, who spoke to us on Sunday” and when challenged on the costs of extra prison places explained that “I was speaking to the Shadow Chancellor about this only the other day”. And apparently, the Shadow Chancellor intends to fund some new prisons using the money saved by axing ID cards.
Now, there may be a number of good reasons to be sceptical about ID cards, but as the budget stands, the costs will be covered by funding already allocated for the switch to biometric passports (necessary for travel to the US among other places) and the fee for the card.
So unless Cameron is planning to either charge everyone to not have an ID card, or give up his trips over to Washington to visit his
CIA paymasters neo-con allies, there won’t be any extra money available for prisons or anything else.
This is, in fact, a Lib Dem gimmick from the last election which many Conservative candidates had fun trashing at the time. So either Chishti’s chat with the Shadow Chancellor wasn’t quite as he recalled, or Gideon Osborne is about to unveil a reheated Lib Dem policy so laughable that the Tories have already rebutted it themselves.
Update: Chishti’s proposal netted 11% of the audience’s vote, putting him in the fourth position out of, erm, four. Looks like the hunt for that safe Tory seat could take a while longer.