Cameron ignores call for a blacklisting public inquiry

MAD MEN Cameron and his cabinet sidekicks have vowed to 'kill off' the workplace 'health and safety monster'. But they are happy to overlook police and security service complicity in blacklisting of trade union safety activists, and have ignored calls for a public inquiry.

The prime minister has said the police should investigate police complicity in the blacklisting of trade union and safety activists. The response came in parliament this week after two Labour MPs had called separately for a public inquiry into revelations from the Information Commissioner’s Office that information held by covert blacklisting outfit The Consulting Association could only have been provided by the police or security services.

Michael Meacher has written to home secretary Theresa May demanding a public inquiry into the construction blacklisting scandal. Trade website Construction Enquirer reports that the former Labour cabinet minister tabled a question in parliament last week “to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will set up a public inquiry into recent allegations that (a) the police and (b) the security services supplied information to the Consulting Association leading to the blacklisting of up to 3,200 building workers.”

The call follows revelations during a recent employment tribunal pursued by blacklisted worker Dave Smith. The MP also asked “if she will refer to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation and possible prosecution the 44 construction firms listed on the Consulting Association database as having used the services of that organisation to blacklist up to 3,200 building workers.”

Michael Meacher is the second Labour MP, after John McDonnell, to call for a full public inquiry. A 21 March question in the House of Commons from McDonnell on the topic received a response from the prime minister.

The Labour MP said: “When 3,000 people, mostly celebrities, had their telephones hacked, the government set up an inquiry under Leveson. When 3,200 trade unionists have been blacklisted, and many have lost their livelihoods, the Home Secretary simply suggests that they go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Why is there one route to justice for celebrities, and another for working people?”

David Cameron responded: “There is one law that has to cover everybody in this land, and if there is any accusation of wrongdoing, that is something that the police, who are completely independent of the government, can investigate. That is what should happen.”

It is not that the prime minister is unconcerned about workplace health and safety. With the economy going down the pan, Cameron has designated health and safety his whipping boy.  In a 5 January speech to “small businesses and entrepreneurs” he described it as ‘monster’ he intends to ‘kill off’.  Hazards magazine reported this “topped off a display of ministerial bloodlust that had continued seamlessly from late 2011, with no opportunity to foam dyspeptically about the menace of safety passed over.

“As well as the prime minister, his deputy Nick Clegg, the Chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Vince Cable all joined the parade of very mad men.” George Osborne returned to the theme in his 21 March budget statement. Deregulation of health and safety got top billing in his announcement of “supply-side reform of the economy.”

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  1. Michael Houlihan
    Posted 22 March, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    No one should be in the least surprised that the Tories and their lapdogs don’t want a public inquiry into blacklisting as it is the companies engaged in this practice who bankroll their election campaigns. I’m sure most, if not all, of the Gov’t front bench hold shares in these companies, perhaps it would be a worthwhile exercise to have an inquiry into Tory financial involvement with the building Industry employers at every level, then perhaps the public at large could be enlightened a bit more as to how the system works. Keep up the good work.

  2. Edward Murphy
    Posted 23 March, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    As with your recent “negotiations” with the employers on the recent electrician’s dispute, there were none until the rank and file workers decided to take direct action to the streets to force these employers to do just that, which has been successful in the positive promotion in highlighting their grievances up to now.
    Whereas John McDonnell and Michael Meacher are restricted to writing letters to an uninterested government, led by its chief architect David Cameron, then the only real option is to continue to expose this behaviour in as many areas of the media as can be used, in order to inform the general public of what really happens behind closed doors which directly affects the lives of a number of ordinary working people; however, now these doors have been forced open, don’t let these obnoxious characters try to close it again.

  3. Edward Murphy
    Posted 16 April, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I am at a loss to see that only two Labour MP’s have so far put forward requests demanding a public enquiry: where are the others, and are they reallythat interested in the victimisation of working people, whose party they pretend to represent?

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