So, once again Manchester is to be a pilot for an unpopular government initiative. A voluntary scheme to buy an ID card is to be made available to us. Why?
Once again, the people will speak, just as they did when plans for a congestion charge were rejected in a poll. And the reason is the same too. People ask: "What's in it for me?" And the answer is the same: nothing. I will be amazed if a card in one city is accepted as proof of identity. It just doesn't solve any of the issues if it is voluntary and limited, therefore it won't be accepted. It's also an expensive political folly that is doomed to fail. David Ottewell makes the point here.
Lord Peter Smith (him again) says here, that this is some kind of triumph for the city region. And they will "welcome a chance to get an ID card early".
I also note, however:
There will be a marketing campaign to raise awareness amongst the public and business communities in the Manchester Metropolitan area, with a national campaign targeting specific business segments.