Leading article: City limits

Do they never learn? The government has chosen Manchester as the guinea pig for the pilot scheme for the introduction of national identity cards. It was the people of Manchester who gave a massive thumbs down to another government pilot project recently. A significant 80 per cent of them said no to an extensive congestion charge, far bigger than London's, which was the precursor for schemes in all Britain's cities. Yet despite a lot of high-minded talk about combating global warming Manchester said No.

The reasons voters gave then were strikingly similar to those they voiced about the ID pilot on the city's radio stations and website yesterday. The details were ill-thought out. It would not work as billed. It would cost more than claimed. And those proposing it had a hidden agenda. Here we go again. Perhaps all dubious political projects should be presented to the people of Manchester first, to save the rest of the nation time.