On the one hand they're pulling back, with the idea of allowing people to have passports instead of ID cards. On the other hand they're pulling them forwards, by insisting that people like airport and security workers will have to have them, and students will be encouraged to have them. Luckily I have no plans to get a job in baggage handling.
As for the airport workers, El Reg points out some of the issues involved there. As for the students, does the government really think that students are too thick to notice what they're doing? Yes, probably. And I shall consider it my bounden duty to point out to my students what the trap is that they're falling into if they start signing up.
I think that Phil Booth of NO2ID, quoted in the BBC report, is quite right to say it's ID cards by stealth. But the pressure that we have steadily maintained has steadily been forcing the government backwards, so I regard this latest initiative as something of a triumph. But only a partial triumph; it would not be sensible to regard this as a victory and ease off the pressure. There is still a great deal of work to be done to push them back still further towards some kind of rational policy about identity, security and privacy.