Apparently not. In fact, unless my being extremely busy with that real life thing has meant that I missed the conflagration of criticism, there has been little comment on the matter. It would seem that the public's general penchant for sneering at the lives of those deemed inferior has blinded almost everyone to the unthinking idiocy of the plan.
I say almost everyone because Angela at Liberal Vision has nicely filleted it, whilst also raising valid points about the mission creep for which it could pave a nice flat, smooth path with pretty raised brick border and colourful - yet tastefully nuanced - shrubbery.
You see, this is how IDS views the world of the underclass: (cue idyllic 1930s English countryside ditty)
Bert: 'Ere, Joe. The social 'av just given me this 'ere smart card. Instead of me benefits, I gotta use this in shops and it won't work if I try to get me fags and booze!Whereas anyone who has ever lived amongst or near the type of people IDS is targeting know the conversation would, more likely, go like this:
Joe: The bastards! So what yer gonna do, then?
Bert: Nuffink I can do, is there? I'm just gonna 'av to give up the drink and smokes and go get a job!
Bert: 'Ere, Joe. The social 'av just given me this 'ere smart card. Instead of me benefits, I gotta use this in shops and it won't work if I try to get me fags and booze!So, in short, IDS's plan will only work for those who can count on no-one trustworthy enough to do a deal with. Not so much smart cards for the feckless as for the friendless. It also shows his astounding lack of understanding as to the resourcefulness of working class (or, indeed, non-working class) folk. They've been dancing round the - mostly class-motivated - avalanche of sin taxes and government regulations on their way of life for millennia, why would they stop when faced with something as poorly thought-out, and easily counteracted, as selective smart cards?
Joe: The bastards! Anyfink I can do to help, mucker?
Bert: Well, I suppose. You can still buy that stuff, can't ya?
Joe: Yeah. 'Ere, tell you what. Why don't I get your baccy and beer, and I'll give you a food shoppin' list for the same amount. Then I just come round your gaff and we swap.
Bert: Sorted! Cheers, mate.
A convenient headline grabber for the Daily Mail contingent, then, while also gently introducing the idea of smart cards as a means of lifestyle control to a largely bovine public.
Just what we've come to expect from politicians of late, sadly.