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?