They’re Coming For You Barbara…

We’re rather spoilt for political stories at the moment. Last week there was yet another failed coup against Gordon Brown, the NI first minister is fighting for his political life after a series of scandals, and David Cameron has discovered photoshop and is busy trying to improve his face for the campaign pictures.

But I would like to draw your attention to a little story in the Evening Standard – “Jobless could lose benefits if they refuse drugs test”.

It seems a pilot scheme is being launched in which suspected drug users will be forced into a drug “assessment” if they wish to claim their benefits. I suspect this will garner a large amount of support from the tabloids, but this policy presents a grave breach of a persons right to privacy.

Without due cause, a person should be free from suspicion, and if a person is suspected of a crime then it is up to the justice system to determine their guilt. The benefit system should not be used to blackmail people into proving their innocence to a body who are not a part of the justice system.

Unemployment benefit is a system that we all pay into with the assurance that the state will support us if we fall on hard times and cannot support ourselves. Under this new proposal a person who, having previously paid taxes whilst in employment, is now refused financial aid because they do not consent to taking a drug test.

For those of us who will always refuse a test of this kind on principal, perhaps we could be exempt from tax as the benefit system no longer applies to us?