Highlighting the gains, limiting the pain. That is what today's ID card strategy seems to be about. Ministers are aware that when Tony Blair mounted his pulpit to proclaim the virtue of ID cards and "biometrics" he looked like a man with blind faith in the latest technological wheeze rather than someone with a practical case about how the cards might help change all our lives for the better.
Thus, today's strategy:
• Targets foreigners (or, at least, those from outside the EU) and people working in sensitive locations, such as airports, for the first compulsory ID cards. You can hear ministers at the next election asking their opponents - "Would you rather we didn't know who was coming here and we didn't check on those with the access to place a bomb on a plane?"
• Lures young people to apply for a card to help them apply for a bank account, accommodation or a loan. I await publication of the strategy to see if it answers the question "Will you be able to get a student loan without being finger printed and, if so, how much harder will it be?"
• Seeks to convince the rest of us that ID cards will be a "stronger, safer, more convenient way" to protect our identity.
• Reassures people that we won't have to carry the card and, indeed, could do without the things altogether if we're happy to use our passport (or something else carrying our fingerprints) as an identity document instead.
Postpones any discussion of making ID cards compulsory for all a long way into the future - probably after the election after the next one
Opponents will insist that "it's the database, stupid". In other words, what matters is not the card itself but the storing of your fingerprint and other data by the state and the growing demands that you should produce them to go about your ordinary business.
The polls - once overwhelmingly in favour of ID cards (on the "I've got nothing to hide" argument) recently tipped over to opposition ("You can't trust them with your data").
By stopping the preaching of her old boss and adopting the reassuring tones of a bank manager Jacqui Smith is hoping to tip those polls back again.
Update: Fascinating new insight into last night's Commons vote from the team at Revolts.co.uk. Cameron suffered a big rebellion last night with Eurosceptics marching into the lobbies with Bill Cash ignoring their Master's Voice.