Thursday, January 31, 2008

Defending our liberties...

This excellent piece in today’s Grauniad reminds me of UNISON’s clear policy of opposition to the introduction of ID cards. Against the backdrop of all party support to restore dangerous powers to a police force with a track record of misusing them, (and plans to increase the length of time people can be imprisoned without charge) this country feels more dangerously illiberal with each passing day.

Our trade unions generally adopt good policies on civil liberties, but then soft pedal on them because they aren’t at the centre of our members’ day to day concerns – and because we rely on campaigning organisations to lead the charge.

The state does not exist to protect citizens but to sustain and perpetuate a form of society which does not serve the interests of trade union members – we need to defend liberty so that we can use it to achieve social change. We need to mobilise our members in defence of freedom. ID cards probably give us the sort of opportunity which was presented by the poll tax to develop a campaign of mass non-compliance.

Do we need to return to this topic at UNISON National Delegate Conference? (And will be allowed to debate a topic if we suggest we might be in favour of defying unjust laws…?)

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