An effective ID management regime must accomplish two things. It must enroll individuals in the ID management system and it must establish a means of verification when an enrolled individual makes a claim as to their identity.
Britain's issues with timely verification have been well documented and well publicized lately.
See: UK Border Scandal Update: Independent Inspector's Report Published and
UK Airlines Warn Government of Potential Gridlock this Weekend.
The enrollment process (collecting information, issuing identity documents such as passports and visas, etc.) had avoided embarrassment... until yesterday, that is.
You can take your pick of the British news outlets below, but the gist of it is that yesterday the UK Border Agency temporarily lost the ability to create enrollments in their ID management system, inconveniencing a whole lot of people.
BBC: UK Border Agency (UKBA) ID card system crashes
CIO: UK Border Agency ID system crashes amid queuing chaos
The Guardian: UK Border Agency computer failure leaves thousands unable to travel
The Register: UK Border Agency servers go titsup, thousands grounded
It's unlikely that there is a technical connection between the problems on the enrollment side and the problems on the verification side of the UKBA ID equation, but there is definitely a management connection. It is also clear that many lack confidence in the international ID management infrastructure of the United Kingdom.
The timing for a crisis couldn't be worse. The UKBA is confronted with the challenge of improving its performance under conditions where simply maintaining its service standards would be seen as a great accomplishment, given the heightened security concerns, increased volume of travelers and the international visibility associated with the Olympics.
Border checks could be eased for 'trusted' passengers to cut queues (Daily Mail)
UK-US Bilateral Border Agreement in the Works? (SecurLinx blog)