The 1952 Committee are a group of ex-Tories who have left the party for good because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals, plus some who'd already left the Tories but have been made even more determined not to return because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals, plus a couple who can't vote in UK general elections but, if they could, wouldn't because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals.
So where does that leave me? As far as I can see, what unites these people is, to a lesser or greater extent, some degree of surprise. Why? All Howard has done is exactly what anyone with half a brain always knew he or any other Tory leader would do. ID cards are not a Labour scheme. Labour just happen to be the government who will finally manage to push them through. It's not like the Tories never supported the idea when they were in power. It's not like the Tories have paid anything more than lip service to the idea of personal freedom for many, many years. It's not like they have a Libertarian wing worth speaking of. They're a bunch of authoritarians. Their solution to every problem ever is to give greater power to Whitehall. Howard was a typically authoritarian Tory Home Secretary, and he hasn't changed. I was surpised at the reaction from so many Libertarians when Howard became leader. "Oh," they said, "now we'll see a strong leader make the Tories electable again!" I can see why a traditionalist party-loyal Tory Conservative like Peter Cuthbertson might support Howard, but why on Earth would any Libertarian with a memory think the man had anything to offer?
I actually have grudgingly to applaud Howard for his honesty. Because, had he opposed ID cards while in opposition, I absolutely guarantee that he would have tried to introduce them if he ever became PM. At least, this way, you know what you're voting for. Or against.
So I approve of the 1952 Committee in principle. But I don't think I can join, because I never would have voted Tory, because I always knew that they would do this.