Dear Home Secretary,
You will be aware of the article in the Observer on Sunday concerning the involvement of the Police and Security Services in the compilation of a blacklist of workers by the Consulting Association used to deny these workers access to employment.
The operation of the blacklist is contrary to law and morally reprehensible but to also discover that the Police and Security Services have been involved in the blacklisting process is extremely worrying and a matter of considerable public interest.
I am writing therefore to ask whether you are intending to make a statement to the House on this important issue.
I am also writing to urge you to establish an independent public inquiry into the operation of blacklisting in this country given that over 3200 workers were found to have been blacklisted and given the severe effect this has had on their lives.
I would welcome a prompt response to these questions.
John McDonnell MP
Meanwhile Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group was on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show yesterday lunchtime talking about the issue (fast forward to 36mins after Kate Bush).
For the sake of 'balance' I guess (or just because it would be boring to simply talk about an injustice, you need some controversy or because union members can't be allowed to talk unchallenged) they had an alternative point of view from Alex Singleton. He is a blogger with the Daily Mail having previously worked for the Telegraph. So when he said: "I think a blacklist is entirely sensible and quite reasonable." it wasn't that unexpected. It doesn't matter whether the implications have been thought through or the contradictions addressed. It's just enough to spout something controversial and get the phone lines buzzing. I don't blame Alex - he's doing what he's paid to do (and probably even believes). But the programme makers need to try a little harder.
Anyway: Alex appears to run two PR companies. One is Alex Singleton Associates and the other us Incorporated PR. I am sure that no firms implicated in the blacklisting scandal have been clients. He's very keen on freedom and liberty is Alex considering the number of organisations he is associated with that have the words freedom or liberty in their name or reason for existing. He jointly wrote a report for the Adam Smith Institute on Labour's first 500 days in office and its record on individual freedom. Seems slightly contradictory that the report should bemoan the fact that teenagers can't buy cigarettes and fox hunting bans but when people want to express their views on trade unions or health and safety they should be put on a blacklist. Perhaps personal freedom only extends so far as it doesn't impact on a corporation.