At the very moment the government is rushing through a new bill to provide the British state with enhanced policing and spying powers – one of the leading witnesses giving evidence to the inquiry into undercover police surveillance of protest groups (Spycops) has been stopped from making a statement.
Dave Smith, core participant in the public inquiry was scheduled to make the opening statement on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group at 4:15pm onThursday 6 November.
Following a legal challenge regarding issues raised in the opening statement this will not now take place. A meeting before Sir John Mitting, chair of the Inquiry into undercover policing, will take place on the morning of Monday 9 July.
See below extracts from Dave Smith’s opening statement, and also the full text of the statement here.
“In 1919, ex-military intelligence officers together with Conservative MPs and the captains of British industry set up the Economic League, to wage in their own words ‘a crusade for capitalism’ by keeping left wing union activists under surveillance and denying them work. The Economic League had both direct formal and countless informal links with the police, that resulted in thousands of workers losing their jobs in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, mining, engineering, banking and local government.
“The Inquiry will find that after the Economic League closed down, Cullum McAlpine, a director of Sir Robert McAlpine Limited bought part of the Economic League blacklist to set up a new organisation called The Consulting Association. This secret body comprising major construction companies including; Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Costain, Skanska, Kier, Bam, Vinci, AMEC and AMEY, illegally orchestrated the blacklisting of construction workers. A former Economic League employee, Ian Kerr was appointed as Chief Executive. Files were kept on 3213 individuals, which included their name, national insurance number, address, photograph, phone number, car registration, information about their medical history and family members.
“When a blacklisted worker was elected as a union representative, raised concerns about safety on a building site, submitted an employment tribunal, or took part in a protest or strike, this was recorded on his or her blacklist file. Every job applicant on major building projects, had their name checked against the blacklist and if there was a match, the worker would be refused work or dismissed. This includes workers engaged via sub-contractors and employment agencies. ..“