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Think about opencast men's families.

Ihave followed with interest your articles over the past nine months about the opposition to the proposed extension to Stobswood opencast coal site by some residents.

I say some, as it is only a small minority who are against the extension. Given the employment situation in our area, would it not be a nice gesture for these people to say "all right carry on with the work, which would be only for two years more, keep the noise and dust levels to a minimum, which I know UK coal do so anyway.

This would mean work for 115 men for a little longer as these men have families too to consider and mortgages to pay.

So please residents, think about these men's families. Would you like to be told a month before Christmas you have no job?

E TELFER,

Fears over plan for identity cards

ALAW-ABIDING citizen's first and logical reaction to the proposals for identity cards is to feel reassured; after all, only criminals need fear their effects.

But we ignore at our peril the fact that we are now citizens not only of the UK but also of the European Union - with its 97,000 pages of legislation, including asylum and immigration - the pretext for the introduction of identity cards - and its ever-expanding "competence" or powers. Chapter 4 of the EU constitution, under the heading of Freedom, Security and Justice, proposes a new European Public Prosecutor acting through Eurojust in Brussels, who would be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment, where appropriate in liaison with Europol, crimes affecting the interests of the Union.

Europol is the European Police Office, also created in 1992. Its tasks include not only dealing with serious crime but also preventing it, to which end it may establish the collection, storage, processing, analysis and exchange of relevant information.

However, provision of citizens' fundamental rights may be withheld, to meet "objectives of general interest recognised by the Union", which presumably means internal security.

Last month the European Commission announced the incorporation of a smart chip in EU-wide driving licences, which will replace national licences.

These together with passports are already, under David Blunkett's proposals, to feature biometric identification such as fingerprints or iris patterns and a smart chip can carry all kinds of information.

In setting up his National Identity Register, David Blunkett is laying the foundation for compulsory identity cards. All the indications are that they will be an instrument for the suppression of dissidents in a multinational megastate.

The true interests of freedom, security and justice can only be secured through honest acknowledgement by politicians and the media of the vast powers already enjoyed by Brussels and the submission of the proposed EU constitution to a national referendum.

MRS DA ROLLS, Langholm.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 18, 2003
Words:461
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