Good men have pointed the fatuity of Blair's support for ID cards as an issue of "modernity." What's not so appreciated is this invocation of modernity is one of Blair's common rhetorical tropes. For example:
Sure Start is one of the Government's greatest achievements.This is what a modern welfare state should do. Be on the side of people, when they need it - allowing them greater freedom, greater choice and greater power over the things that they want to do. (5 Oct 2006)
The purpose of the reforms is to create a modern education system and a modern NHS (24 Oct 2005)
The UK will develop a strong, modern knowledge based economy (17 Nov 2004)
We want a modern police service more responsive to local communities (30 March 2004)
A modern Britain needs a modern transport system. That means fast, punctual trains; a modernised efficient London Underground (25 Feb 1999)
What's going on here? You'll not be surprised to hear that I reckon this is a managerialist trick. Managerialists like Blair don't like the language of value judgment and choices. So they try to pass these off as things that are inevitable, modern. David Marquand has said that this is the "myth" of New Labour:
There is one modern condition, which all rational people would embrace if they new what it was. The Blairites do know. It is on that knowledge that their project is based, and by it that their claim to power is validated.
The M word, then, carries a lot of ideological baggage.