Wednesday, 10 September 2014

stall mart

Both sides had stalls inside an Asda shop, at Chesser in west Edinburgh, on successive Sats. Both sides as a result have an ethical responsibility to their volunteers, to continue to lean on Asda for an answer, until it gives one, as to how safe we were. Politicans who supported or took part in the stalls need to do this, to make sure their own ethical position is secure for the future, to make sure it stands that they supported something ethcial and cared about participants' safety. In the postmorteming of the referendum, this scrutiny will be there.

The problem? It dates back to the 1990s without it having ever been exposed as a big consumer story and without it yet being known to have ended. There was an issue known to solicitors then, where Asda security would arrest anyone high-handedly on arbitrary accusation from anyone else without willingness to listen to any explanation. A solicitor in Fife recounted from an actual case, that they refused to admit even in court to a sheriff's question, that there had been any error of judgment in refusing urgent toilet access to a person they were holding, with the result of forcing him to defaecate on the floor, in a food shop.

Asda security still stride around in black slack uniforms with a heavy thuggish air unlike in any other supermarket. Their hand may have been stayed, protecting us, by the note I handed into customer service 20 minutes before we began, raising this. But they have never given any actual answer to it. Not while we were there, nor ever since. Undoubtedly they never want to. Sorting out all outstanding questions of campaign ethics from this campaign after it is over, which wil happen for both sides, will include forcing this question with Asda, getting them for broken ethics unless they give an answer that means the end of that bad corrupted security culture.

Among Asda's responsibilities to show we were safe, is to force the question that no one who has ever experienced that security culture shall fins they have any difficulty in visiting the US. Its position as an American-owned company, part of Walmart, helps in enabling it to do this. It arises because the US has long had a practice, in violation of the oldest basic human right of all, innocent until proved guilty, of judging foreign visitors from arrests where there was no conviction and asking them as a single question "Have you ever been arrested or convicted?" The lack of media focus on this, happening even to citizens of the US's closest allies, has always been a particular failiure in our political system. This is a moment of opportunity to work against it, so it must be seized.

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