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UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 156-xii

House of COMMONS

Oral EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE the

Scottish Affairs Committee

Blacklisting in Employment

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Jack Winder

Evidence heard in Public Questions 1678 - 1880

USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Scottish Affairs Committee

on Tuesday 5 February 2013

Members present:

Mr Ian Davidson (Chair)

Jim McGovern

Graeme Morrice

Pamela Nash

Sir James Paice

Mr Alan Reid

Lindsay Roy

________________

Examination of Witness

Witness: Jack Winder, former Director, Caprim Ltd, gave sworn evidence.

Q1678 Chair: I ask the Clerk to administer the oath. (Jack Winder was sworn) Thank you very much, Mr Winder. I welcome you to this meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background?

Jack Winder: My adult life has been spent as follows: 10 years in the British Army, 30 years with the Economic League, 15 years with Caprim, 18 months self-employed, three years and counting retired. Will that do?

Q1679 Chair: I think that encapsulates things. As well as being retired, you are now a regular correspondent to The Daily Telegraph, I understand.

Jack Winder: You noticed.

Q1680 Chair: We did indeed. In fact, I thought one of your letters was so good that I would quote it. This was in The Daily Telegraph of 4 February last year. It says: "SIR-When Chris Huhne, the former Energy Secretary, described the decision to prosecute him for an alleged perversion of justice as ‘deeply regrettable’…what he meant was that he deeply regrets it." It goes on from there. I thought it was worth while to draw that to the attention of a wider audience, and particularly appropriate today.

Jack Winder: I see you have done your research, Chairman.

Q1681 Chair: Well, there you are. I thought it was particularly appropriate today, of all days. Can we start by asking you about the Economic League and your involvement there? What was your role and function? You have already mentioned that you were with the league for 30 years.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1682 Chair: Can you tell us what you did there?

Jack Winder: I joined it out of the Army in 1963 as a training officer. That was about spreading the gospel of good economics, mostly to apprentices and that sort of thing. I did that for nine years. In 1972 I was asked to take on the role of industrial relations adviser. I was in the Birmingham office, in the midlands. This was really a matter of keeping our companies informed of the activities of the far left, which seeks to use industry as a political football and to subvert both management and the trade unions. Apparently, I did a fairly good job. I was then made understudy to the director of information and research-part time in 1974 and full time in 1976. He retired in 1977. I took over as director of information and research in 1977 and held that position until 1987. I then went back to Birmingham as the regional director for a couple of years. In the final four years of the league, as the league shrank, I combined the roles of director of information and research, and director of the midland region. That, in a nutshell, was my career at the league.

Q1683 Chair: Can I ask you a bit about the director of research role? We have been focusing mainly on issues to do with records and so on for individuals. Can I clarify what your role was in relation to that area of the Economic League’s work?

Jack Winder: The principal role of the director of information and research was to be the public voice of the league-to write everything the league wrote and to answer any inquiries that came in. To be able to do that, I had to read all the stuff that I could lay my hands on, because the other part of the role was going to companies and having meetings in various places around the country to explain what was happening in the world of what we called subversion-that is, the activities of the groups that tried to use industry for a political purpose.

Q1684 Chair: We had Ian Kerr in front of us earlier, and we are generally aware of the scanning role, in terms of collecting information on various Trotskyist and other groups, and so on, and disseminating that. I wanted to try to clarify what your role was in relation to files on individuals. Were you involved in that aspect of the league’s activities?

Jack Winder: Not directly. I had an input, if I came across information during my research that was worth keeping. I need to explain that most of the information one gets is what you call raw information, and you know that 95% of it is going to be useless. The trouble is that you do not know which 5% will be useful, so you keep it squirreled away. My role was to keep the general information that would support our publications, our public utterances, and me when I was talking. The information for the central research department, which was where the records were held that could be accessed by the member companies, if they wanted to vet potential employees, was held in the northern regions-that is to say, Scotland, the north-east and the north-west. The other regions-that is to say, the midlands and the south-west-managed to avoid holding those records and got the information straight down to the central records in Thornton Heath. Part of the reason for that was that the northern regions wanted to retain as much autonomy as they could, because someone in, shall we say, Edinburgh would rather ring the Glasgow office than ring London. Likewise, someone in Newcastle would rather ring Leeds. That was the reason for that. So they collected their information. My role in this was very limited, frankly. As I said, my role was to keep the information that supported our publications and our activities in a national sense.

Q1685 Chair: So if somebody appeared in an article in the Morning Star or one of the 57 varieties of Trotskyist newspaper, you would identify the name and then feed that on to the people who were compiling the records.

Jack Winder: No, I would keep that among my own records, because it was raw information. It would be pretty useless to have a system where people could ring in, fax in or whatever to check against something if the information you had was useless. After all, if you are ringing me to check a name, and all I have is a name and "written to the Morning Star", we do not know who he is. We have not got an address or anything about him, so it is useless information. There was an awful lot of stuff that came in from the regions that was incomplete. Then the central people had to ring back the three northern regions to check it. So the system was, frankly, imperfect. There is no doubt about that, but it erred on the side of never saying anything that you could not substantiate. That was very important.

Q1686 Chair: I am slightly perplexed, because I have been to see the Information Commissioner’s Office and have gone through some of the card indexes that the Consulting Association was using, which it had inherited from the Economic League. Some of those do refer to attendance at meetings and so on, or there was a press cutting attached about a particular meeting somebody had been involved in. If you collected this information, did you then marry it up with the names that were on the file, or did you supply that press cutting to somebody who was retaining the files? I am not quite clear about that.

Jack Winder: That is a bit of a googly. I am not quite sure how to answer that one. You collect the information. The central records department had a system of what you call Rotadex, which had little slips in referring to the cards. There may well have been cards in that system, but, if they were not reflected on the Rotadex, someone applying from outside for information would not get to that card. That was a fail-safe device, if you like, because it was not on the Rotadex. Does that explain it?

Chair: Yes, I think that explains much of it.

Q1687 Graeme Morrice: To follow on from that last response, can you describe what sounds like a very chaotic system? You said that most or much of the information you collected or collated was useless. Why were you doing it in the first place, then? What was the point of it? Why go to all the trouble?

Jack Winder: Whenever you are involved in intelligence gathering, you collect stuff because it may form part of a jigsaw. You may get more information later that enables you to identify that activity, that person or whoever it may be. Yes, chaotic is a fair description, because the league was a rather federal system. It had a central office in London, and a central council, but each region had a council, and they did like their autonomy. Although there was nominal control from the centre, the regional director would play off his own council against another council, and so on. It was chaotic, and a lot of information was gathered that was, frankly, useless in the long term. It was not until we centralised the whole thing in 1991-no, it was before then; we centralised the whole thing in the late ’80s-that we started to go through all these records and get rid of a lot of the rubbish that was there. In the end, we had a fraction of what had been there, because by that time we had been closing regional offices and could take the stuff off them. Without being too grandiose, I have often compared it to the President of the United States: he is President, but he does not control what happens in Alabama. It was a bit like that.

Q1688 Chair: I understand some of that, but I am still slightly confused. When I saw the files that the Information Commissioner held, attached to some of them were press cuttings that had presumably been compiled by your office.

Jack Winder: Not necessarily.

Q1689 Chair: Not necessarily?

Jack Winder: No. We often said that if the league had not bought the Morning Star, the thing would have collapsed.

Chair: Indeed.

Jack Winder: And Socialist Worker and other things like that.

Q1690 Jim McGovern: I am sorry, could you repeat that?

Jack Winder: It was an in-joke-that, if we in the league had not bought the Morning Star, the paper would have collapsed because its circulation was so small. It is a joke, but-

Q1691 Jim McGovern: So you were almost depending on each other-almost.

Jack Winder: It meant that people in the different regions bought the Morning Star and took something out of it that applied to that part of the country. Then it was all amalgamated nationally.

Q1692 Graeme Morrice: The Economic League ceased to exist in 1994, and then-

Jack Winder: In 1993.

Graeme Morrice: It was 1993; my notes say 1994, but that is fine. Then you and Stan Hardy went about creating Caprim. How did you go about that? What was the purpose of Caprim?

Jack Winder: The purpose of Caprim was to give Stan and me a job, basically, because we were out of work. I had the knowledge that I had accumulated over a number of years doing the job I had been doing with the league. Stan is a bit of an entrepreneur, had the gift of the gab and was good at talking to companies. We thought we had something to offer, which was to continue the part of the league’s work that I had been involved in-that is to say, warning companies about threats to their well-being from all sorts of organisations. As time went on, of course, it became much less about actual parties like the Socialist Workers and so on, and much more about single-issue campaigns, which involved all sorts of people. It did not matter what the campaign was: if it posed a threat to a company, they had a right to know about it. It may have been justified, but they had a right to know. That is what our focus was in Caprim.

Q1693 Graeme Morrice: So what was the essential difference between Caprim and the Economic League?

Jack Winder: The essential difference was that there was no vetting system supplied by Caprim. We had no personal records.

Q1694 Graeme Morrice: Who else was involved in the formation and operation of Caprim?

Jack Winder: The formation involved Stan Hardy and myself. We employed two people from the league, one very short term and one who stayed with us all the way through.

Q1695 Chair: Who were they?

Jack Winder: We started the company in May 1993 and employed Geoff Hume until, I think, March 1994, because we quickly learned we were now in the commercial world. The league was a company limited by guarantee, and people gave it money because they thought it was a good thing-pro bono publico, almost-whereas we were now a commercial company, and we quickly learned that you had to pay your way. We therefore cut our wages by 20% in the first year and got rid of a company secretary and the salesman. That left Stan and myself, a secretary in the office and Jack Bramwell, who had joined the league in the late ’80s and who was an expert on security and that sort of thing.

Chair: Jim, do you want to come in on that point?

Q1696 Jim McGovern: Yes, on the same point. Thanks very much for coming along, Mr Winder. When you say that Caprim was set up to look at organisations, was it to look at organisations or individuals?

Jack Winder: Organisations.

Q1697 Jim McGovern: Never individuals.

Jack Winder: No, never.

Q1698 Jim McGovern: So no one was on a list.

Jack Winder: No. May I explain why? The league had gone down largely because of bad publicity and leakage of some of this dreadful information, which formed the basis of all sorts of attacks on the league. That is why it had gone down. We had lost some of the biggest subscribers that used the system, so it would not have been very clever to start a company and do the same thing again, which had become discredited, however much we may have defended it. Whatever people may have said about Caprim, they could not prove it, because it was not true.

Q1699 Jim McGovern: So if this Committee used freedom of information requests to look into the records of your company, there would be no mention of individuals.

Jack Winder: No. The only thing we did do was to offer CV checks. Everybody does that.

Q1700 Jim McGovern: Of individuals?

Jack Winder: Yes. If you have applied for a job with a company, you give the company your CV. They then pass it someone to say whether it is accurate. We offered that, but hardly ever did it; I think you could count on the fingers of one hand the times when we did it. There were no records kept of people. Checking CVs is what all sorts of consultants do-"Has he got this degree?", "Did he work there?" and so on. That is a completely different thing.

Q1701 Jim McGovern: So you did look at individuals, but only very rarely. You initially said never, but now you are saying very rarely.

Jack Winder: We did not ourselves have records of individuals. We had no records of people at all.

Q1702 Jim McGovern: Okay. The other point you made that intrigued me was when you said that you started the company and paid off the secretary.

Jack Winder: The company secretary?

Jim McGovern: Yes, and the salesman. What was the salesman selling?

Jack Winder: He was selling Caprim’s service.

Q1703 Jim McGovern: Which was what?

Jack Winder: Which was going around warning companies about what was happening that might be a problem to them.

Q1704 Jim McGovern: So somebody was selling that information.

Jack Winder: Selling the service-saying, "This is what we do." One of the great problems we found, by the way-if I may expand on that point-was that when you are trying to sell a service that is information, you have to prove to people that you know what you are talking about. It can take several visits and quite a lot of information to establish that reputation. Even then, some of them say, "Thanks very much, but we’re not going to pay you." Some will say, "Okay, we’ll retain you." Once your usefulness is finished-once whatever threat it was is deemed to have gone away-they say, "Thank you very much."

Q1705 Jim McGovern: That is fine, but you can confirm that it was sale of information.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1706 Sir James Paice: Can I clarify one point? You say that you checked CVs. When you had checked a CV and reported back to the employer, did you retain from that any of the information that you had discovered in the course of your investigation?

Jack Winder: No, of course not. Can I clarify the point? I can certainly count on the fingers of two hands the number of times we did it in 15 years. It was a thing we offered, but very few people took it up because, generally speaking, if you are in a company and are in the habit of recruiting people to important positions, whether they are technical, managerial, financial or whatever, you usually have a system to check CVs-you already have people who do it for you. In that event, we were trying to break into a market that was pretty well populated. I mention it in the interests of being accurate and telling you the whole story, but we virtually did not do it, really.

Q1707 Graeme Morrice: Can I ask Mr Winder-

Jack Winder: May I say, it is pronounced "Win-der".

Graeme Morrice: I beg your pardon. Can I ask you to clarify how your company was actually funded?

Jack Winder: First of all, Stan Hardy and I put in our own money. We got an input of £10,000, which Stan got, I understand, from McAlpine, partly as a good-will gesture and partly to say, "Keep clear of Ian Kerr and all his works."

Graeme Morrice: I am sorry, what was the last thing you said?

Jack Winder: "Keep clear of Ian Kerr and all his works." I will tell you the reason for that. I had recruited Ian in 1969 as a training officer, so I knew him well. When the league was breaking up, I said, "You’re the lucky one; you’ve got a job to go to." "Yes," he said, "But I’ve been told in no uncertain terms to have nothing to do with anybody who was with the league and may start something else." He knew Stan and I were trying to set something up. We had guilt by association, of course, and they wanted to have a completely new start.

Q1708 Graeme Morrice: Roughly what would your annual turnover have been?

Jack Winder: I can tell you what it was over 15 years. It was just short of £1 million in 15 years. If you divide that, you are looking at an average of £60,000. It is minuscule. We were a very small company. The people we had were Stan Hardy, Jack Bramwell and myself. Stan spent most of his time going round to see companies, I was the engine room and Jack was the security specialist who did security work for us when requested by a company.

Q1709 Jim McGovern: We have heard evidence from Ian Kerr-unfortunately now deceased-and from Cullum McAlpine. If my memory serves me correctly-and I am sure it does-Cullum McAlpine indicated that his company put up £10,000 to start up Ian Kerr in 1993. You are saying that he also put up £10,000 to start up your company and told you to avoid Ian Kerr.

Jack Winder: I do not know anything about the £10,000 to Ian Kerr. All I know is that, as I said to you, we started this company in May 1993, and I remember-because it was such a substantial sum to a small company trying to get off the ground-that it was September or October when we got this £10,000, which was a long time after we started. I understood that Stan had spoken to, I think, McAlpine and told them what we were doing, and they had said, "For good will, we will give you a boost, on the understanding that you don’t interfere with Ian Kerr’s operation." That is how I understand it.

Q1710 Jim McGovern: You initially said, "Steer clear of Ian Kerr."

Jack Winder: Yes, that is right, because we did not want him polluted by us. It was that way round.

Q1711 Jim McGovern: Would I be reasonably correct in deducing that McAlpine was starting up two different companies with the same objects, but telling you to steer clear of each other?

Jack Winder: No, it did not start us up; we had already been running for four months. It was a one-off payment that, to the best of my memory, was partly good will and partly to say, "Don’t approach any of the companies in Ian Kerr’s operation." We did not know who they were.

Q1712 Chair: Can I clarify this £10,000? My understanding was that the Consulting Association got money from McAlpine to buy the records of the support group of the Economic League, to pay for-

Jack Winder: What is the support group?

Chair: Sorry, the services group. My understanding was that there was a £10,000 payment for the intellectual property-the files, records and so on. Is that the same sum?

Jack Winder: No, I do not think so, because the services group information was the property of the companies.

Q1713 Chair: McAlpine and Ian Kerr told us that they paid £10,000 for the files.

Jack Winder: Perhaps because they had been held by the league for so long-it started in 1973 or 1974-they felt the league was due some money for that. My understanding was always that the services group worked on the principle of the companies supplying money to a central point, which was then regurgitated for their use.

Q1714 Chair: I see. As I understand it, at the end the Economic League went bust owing money to its liquidators.

Jack Winder: I am sure that is right.

Q1715 Chair: It had debts that were unmet, and one of the assets it had was the files, or cards, for which £10,000 was paid. You seem to be telling us that that £10,000 went to yourself and Mr Hardy to set up another company, rather than to meet some of the outstanding bills of the Economic League.

Jack Winder: I do not know how many sums of £10,000 were involved; there may be more than one. All I know is that in September or October 1993 we got £10,000, which was a real windfall. I understood that it came from McAlpine and that it was for the reasons I have given you. We had nothing to sell, anyway. We had no records to sell.

Q1716 Chair: What happened to the Economic League’s records?

Jack Winder: They were destroyed.

Q1717 Chair: By whom?

Jack Winder: By Securicor. It was decreed by the chairman of the league that all these records should be destroyed. Securicor came to the Birmingham office and took away all the stuff for secure destruction. Stan and I had to sign a statement to that effect for the central council.

Q1718 Chair: That was that all the records held in the Birmingham office had been taken away.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1719 Chair: But you have already indicated to us that there were records held in other offices.

Jack Winder: I also made the point that, in the late ’80s, when the league was shrinking-

Chair: They had all been collated.

Jack Winder: They had all been collated into the centre.

Q1720 Chair: Mr Kerr told us that the services group’s initial records, which it was using to sell its service, had actually come from the Economic League. Clearly, not all the records were destroyed.

Jack Winder: No, the services group’s records were supplied by the companies.

Q1721 Chair: Let me tackle this in a slightly different way, if I can. There were file cards on individuals that the Economic League held.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1722 Chair: That is right. Some of those related to companies that were operating within the services group, and others were on other industries, groups and companies. Unfortunately, the Hansard writer does not record nodding of the head, so we will just have it recorded that you agreed with that.

Jack Winder: Okay.

Q1723 Chair: So the services group records went off with Ian Kerr, and the rest were destroyed, you say.

Jack Winder: Correct.

Q1724 Chair: Mr Kerr told us that those services group records, having been part of the intellectual property of the Economic League, were paid for with £10,000.

Jack Winder: I do not know about that. All I know is that the services group records were exclusive to the companies in the services group. You know the history; you know why the services group was set up.

Chair: No. Maybe you can help us.

Jack Winder: There was a national strike in 1972, which led to a lot of picketing, threats and goodness knows what else, largely in the north-west of England. The employers said, "We’re not going to allow this to happen again." All these companies had records of people who had worked for them and left-some of whom they wanted back and some of whom they did not want back. They decided to pool this information. Of course, no one company wanted to do the job, so they approached the league and said, "Would you do this for us?" As there was money, and the league was always strapped for cash, the league said yes. One person was put in charge of this whole operation. In each of the regions, as they were then in the early ’70s, there was one person who was the liaison man for this system. Sometimes that person doubled up as a training officer as well, because there was liaison with the companies on more general information, not simply names and so on. The services group companies therefore provided the information and added to it. It was put into the services group file, which was separate from the league file, and then regurgitated only to those companies. Nobody else had the right to have that information. That, in brief, is how it worked.

Q1725 Chair: The confusion, then, for me is that we have had evidence both from Cullum McAlpine and, if I remember correctly, from Ian Kerr that they paid £10,000 for these services group files, but you are saying that, in fact, they owned those anyway. There does seem to be a £10,000 sum that went to start up Caprim when, perhaps, it might more appropriately either not have been paid at all or have been given to the Economic League, to meet the outstanding bills that it had when it collapsed.

Jack Winder: I cannot argue with the logic of that. I can only tell you what I think happened, to the best of my knowledge. I had no knowledge whatever of a payment to the league for Ian Kerr’s records.

Q1726 Chair: So you think McAlpine paid you money just as a good-will gesture and to stop you pestering Ian Kerr.

Jack Winder: That is my recollection of it. I was not directly involved, but that is how I understood it.

Q1727 Chair: Who was directly involved in that?

Jack Winder: I think Stan Hardy was.

Chair: Right. We have tried to locate Stan Hardy, but we have not been able to do so. [Interruption.] I am sorry; I am told by the Clerk that we have now done so. It was originally our intention to have you here together, but until this very moment I was not aware that we had successfully found him. We will obviously have to pursue that further. Graeme, do you have a question?

Graeme Morrice: I have finished, Chair.

Q1728 Jim McGovern: Mr Winder, you said that the reason why you started up Caprim was that you had all this information and you thought it might be helpful, and a business opportunity. But since then you have said that all the information was destroyed. Which is true?

Jack Winder: They are both true. I had knowledge of how these organisations worked, and I was still getting all the publications. When you get things like Socialist Worker, they did not send it to the offices of the Economic League; they sent it to my house, so I still had all that sort of information coming in to me individually. I had knowledge; that is perhaps a better word than "information".

Q1729 Jim McGovern: Were you starting afresh, or were you using previous stuff, whether it was on file, up here, or wherever?

Jack Winder: The league had published booklets in the past and had published a monthly review, which was publicly available, so we had that sort of stuff for background. That is fair enough. I had written a lot of that stuff.

Q1730 Jim McGovern: So not everything was destroyed.

Jack Winder: All the personal records-all the records of individuals-were destroyed.

Q1731 Jim McGovern: But presumably you had some sort of filing cabinet at home.

Jack Winder: Yes, I had a file for Socialist Worker and-

Q1732 Jim McGovern: That answers the question: you did. You kept information and sold it.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1733 Pamela Nash: Earlier you mentioned that it was less about political parties and more about single-issue campaigns. Could you explain that a bit more?

Jack Winder: Yes. During the 1980s various Conservative Governments passed industrial relations legislation. That made it much more difficult for political extremists to gain positions in unions and to influence industrial relations. To give one example of this, I think that at one time the Socialist Workers party had a dozen of what it calls "fractions" for different industries-car workers, Post Office workers and things like that. It shut them all down in the late ’80s. I do not suppose they all went away, joined the Young Conservatives and played tennis or anything; I am sure they were all still politically the same way inclined. Neither am I saying that they established new operations-although I have no doubt that some of them got involved.

Going into the 1990s, when Caprim started, the sort of things that exercised our minds were campaigns against multinational companies. You had the Transnational Information Exchange in Amsterdam, which had offshoots in this country, and Multinational Monitor, based in Washington DC. You had campaigns against the City of London, culminating in, I think, three consecutive years of riots in London, run by an outfit called Reclaim the Streets. These were anarchists. They did not target only the financial institutions; companies with head offices in London were also targeted. We made it our business to find out what was going on and to warn the companies about that. Then you had the whole ethical industry-people who set themselves up as arbiters of what is ethical in business. They advised investors on whether they should invest in a company and on how they should vote at the shareholders meeting. There was also advice on being an ethical consumer. They would say, "Don’t buy this bun because it’s made by a company that’s part of a conglomerate involving an arms company"-all that sort of stuff. There were then three specific things: the Campaign Against Arms Trade, which is obviously tied to the arms trade; the pharmaceutical industry, which was under attack from animal rights activists; and the agro-chemical industry, which was under attack from GM activists, who actually trashed the crops and so on. As time went on, these became the main focus of our attention.

Q1734 Pamela Nash: Was that in response to your and Mr Hardy’s concerns changing, or were companies and construction companies raising concerns with you about individuals or groups of people who might be involved in these campaigns?

Jack Winder: You said construction companies.

Pamela Nash: I am sorry; I meant companies that you were using.

Jack Winder: Not construction companies. Part of intelligence is to go out and find out what is happening, and then hope that you get in there before the company that is going to be affected knows about it. Then you are bringing them news, so when you say, "Do you know that this is about to happen?" they are much more likely to prick up their ears and say, "Oh my goodness!" That is what we did. We researched and laid our hands on all the things we could read-all that sort of stuff.

Q1735 Pamela Nash: I am trying to visualise your relationship with the companies. Would it put you ahead of the game if you knew that someone was involved in a certain campaign? Rather than the companies raising these concerns with you, you would go to them.

Jack Winder: Yes. Generally speaking, we would alert the company to something. We would usually start at the top, with the managing director’s secretary, and perhaps get fobbed off with someone else. If we had something useful to say, they would say, "Come and tell us", and we would go and tell them. Then, depending on how important it was and how much of a problem they thought it might be, they might say, "We’ll retain you for a few months and see what happens."

Q1736 Pamela Nash: How did you collect this information? Did you attend campaign meetings under cover?

Jack Winder: Within our limitations, when we could, we did. For example, at one point there was the big attempt to disrupt the City. I mentioned it a moment ago-the Stop the City campaigns. They published a newspaper that looked like the Evening Standard, so you could get hold of that. That said what was going to happen. It is quite clear that the companies themselves could have done that, but they tend not to; they tend to be more concerned with their own business. We were trying to show that these companies had a little gap in their knowledge, which could affect them.

Q1737 Pamela Nash: Finally, on collection-to go back to the party political side-did you meet party members and politicians at all? Did you have a relationship with any of the political parties to gather information?

Jack Winder: No, not really. I will declare an interest: I am a member of the Conservative party, so I know my local MP and have met some people in the party. There is something else I ought to say. While I was with the league we had very good relations with certain trade union leaders, who were very concerned about the problems created and fed off by the far left.

Q1738 Chair: Will you tell us who those were? Can I remind you that you are under oath?

Jack Winder: I do not need reminding, Chairman; I am quite well aware of that. Do you want names?

Chair: Yes.

Jack Winder: Leif Mills, from the banking union; Terry Carroll, from the engineering union; Eric Hammond, from the electricians; Dennis Mills, from the midland region of the transport union; and Kate Losinska, from the Civil and Public Services Association. There are some for you.

Q1739 Chair: Are there more?

Jack Winder: You are taxing my memory-you are going back 20-odd years-but there were.

Chair: It would be helpful if you could give us a note subsequent to this. I appreciate that you will not necessarily have a whole list off the top of your head, but you could provide additional notes. We have done this with other witnesses. I appreciate that some of this happened a while ago, but there has been a certain amount of public interest in these aspects. I think we would want to have that on the record.

Jim McGovern: On a legal point, Chair, is any information that we receive in written form afterwards also under oath?

Chair: Yes.

Jack Winder: I am not sure how many more I can remember, because it is a long time ago, but I will do my best.

Q1740 Chair: I myself often remember going out of meetings and then suddenly remembering somebody, and so on. As you lie awake in bed tonight wondering what you forgot, as it were-I am sure that other names will come back to you-could you just switch on the light, scribble them down and send us a note later on?

Jack Winder: Chairman, I hope to get a good night’s sleep tonight. I shall not be worrying about this.

Chair: I did not mean that you would be worrying, just that you would be trying to remember, and trying to be as helpful as possible to us by recalling any additional information.

Jack Winder: Indeed, yes.

Q1741 Graeme Morrice: You have outlined the discourse you had previously with a whole range of people, and you mentioned your affiliation in terms of party politics. Did you have any discussion with members of the Conservative party and, in particular, elected politicians-especially Government Ministers?

Jack Winder: Yes, when the new Government came in in 1979, I had a talk once with the first Secretary of State for Employment, Jim-I cannot remember his name.

Graeme Morrice: Prior.

Jack Winder: Yes, Jim Prior. I went to see him; he invited me. Of course, I would also go to party conferences, where you would meet people and chat to them, but there was no formal relationship.

Q1742 Graeme Morrice: Just to clarify, on the election of the first Margaret Thatcher Administration in 1979, you were-if I heard correctly-invited specifically to meet the then Secretary of State for Employment, Jim Prior MP.

Jack Winder: Yes. That was the only time.

Q1743 Graeme Morrice: What did you discuss?

Jack Winder: We discussed the whole industrial relations scene. My particular expertise, if you want to use the word, was knowledge of what was happening on the far left.

Q1744 Graeme Morrice: Right. So you talked about extremist politics.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1745 Lindsay Roy: Good afternoon. As I understand it, what you have said recently is that, in terms of CVs, you could count on the fingers of two hands the number of people on whom you gave information. We have read that Caprim told potential customers that it "helps its clients by checking…bona fides". What does that mean?

Jack Winder: It meant exactly that-checking people’s CVs. That was the publicity material we did when we started, hoping to raise business from that activity.

Q1746 Lindsay Roy: But CVs could be checked by any company, I would have thought.

Jack Winder: I know they can, but consultants offer that service. We offered the service.

Q1747 Lindsay Roy: The quote continues, "whether external or members of staff. A simple CV check is often sufficient-and economical".

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1748 Lindsay Roy: If it is not, what else was required?

Jack Winder: That is perhaps slack writing.

Lindsay Roy: I am sorry, I missed that.

Jack Winder: That may have been slack drafting. When we said that a CV check is often enough, all we meant was that a CV check was what we would do. That is all I can say to that.

Lindsay Roy: A "CV check is often sufficient-and economical."

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1749 Lindsay Roy: What sort of questions would your clients ask?

Jack Winder: Can I answer this in a different way? When you start a company, you say, "What sort of things can we do?" You put it down on paper, because you can then give that to people, and so on. In this particular case, with CVs and any other sort of bona fides checks, it virtually never happened. As I said, maybe the number of times could be counted on one hand; it was very, very seldom.

Q1750 Lindsay Roy: It is therefore likely that, with all of them, you would remember clearly what kind of questions clients would ask.

Jack Winder: They did not ask any questions. They came to us with a CV.

Q1751 Lindsay Roy: So they asked no questions at all. They just said, "Can you provide a CV?"

Jack Winder: Not "Can you provide a CV?" When someone applies for a job, they provide the potential employer with a CV. The potential employer then says to the consultant, "Will you check those details for me?" The consultant looks and sees that this chap says he has a degree, so they ring up the college and ask, "Have you got a record of this chap doing a degree?" Or he says that he worked at this or that company, and you check that. That is what you do. It is completely straightforward and simple.

Q1752 Lindsay Roy: If that was the case, why were there so few? It is very easy to check up on CVs.

Jack Winder: Because companies already had people doing it.

Q1753 Lindsay Roy: So which companies did not?

Jack Winder: I do not know. As I said to you, it happened so seldom-frankly, I wish I had not mentioned it-that it was hardly worth talking about.

Q1754 Lindsay Roy: But if it happened so seldom, I would have remembered, in my own position. I just wondered why you cannot recall which companies made contact for additional information.

Jack Winder: I honestly cannot remember. We certainly have no records of it.

Q1755 Lindsay Roy: None at all.

Jack Winder: No.

Q1756 Lindsay Roy: And you did not keep records on individuals.

Jack Winder: No, we did not.

Q1757 Lindsay Roy: So what sort of clients did Caprim have?

Jack Winder: The companies in the industries I mentioned to Ms Nash. We got the clients in the industries where we identified problems.

Q1758 Lindsay Roy: Were there any sectors of business that were particularly involved?

Jack Winder: Yes. I mentioned pharmaceuticals, agro-chemicals-

Q1759 Lindsay Roy: Which companies in pharmaceuticals?

Jack Winder: GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis-people like that.

Q1760 Chair: In a sense, it is not sufficient to say "people like that". I think we want to be clear, since this is on the record: these companies were your clients.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1761 Chair: Please provide some additional names in pharmaceuticals. Which other companies were there in pharmaceuticals?

Jack Winder: Rhône-Poulenc, Zeneca-that is as far as my memory goes.

Q1762 Lindsay Roy: You mentioned other sectors.

Jack Winder: Yes: agro-chemicals.

Q1763 Lindsay Roy: Okay. Can you give us some names?

Jack Winder: Monsanto is the obvious one that comes to mind.

Q1764 Lindsay Roy: Any others?

Jack Winder: Not off the top of my head.

Q1765 Lindsay Roy: Were any other sectors of industry involved with Caprim?

Jack Winder: Yes. I have mentioned the Campaign Against Arms Trade. There were multinational companies.

Q1766 Chair: Which multinational companies?

Jack Winder: Rio Tinto, Morgan Crucible, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley-these were companies that at times were clients of Caprim.

Q1767 Lindsay Roy: So companies in the big league.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1768 Chair: Did you have any competitors in the business that you were in of selling information about various Trotskyist and other groups, malcontents, malevolent elements and so on, or were you the only people doing this?

Jack Winder: It was not so much Trotskyists and malcontents; it was organisations such as Greenpeace, which was very big in anti-GM and so on, and the Campaign Against Arms Trade. No doubt there were all sorts of elements mixed up in those. You asked about competitors. I did not know of any.

Q1769 Chair: So there was never an occasion when you went along to somebody’s door and said, "Excuse me, we would like you to buy this service," and they said, "No, we already get it from Fred Bloggs (Anti-Trotskyist)"?

Jack Winder: No, we were unique.

Q1770 Chair: Okay. So you had the market to yourselves, as far as we can ascertain, but you were not really able to make a go of it, because of your turnover. Why was that? Was it because companies did this external scanning themselves?

Jack Winder: No. I think that we were very small and could cope with only a certain amount. As time went on, and companies fell by the wayside, and we got older, it was almost always the prospect of traipsing down to London to see someone important enough in a large company, and in some cases, perhaps, spending several months persuading them that we knew what we were talking about. By this time Stan Hardy had left the company-he left in 2000-so Jack Bramwell and I merely said, "As people go, we’ll let them go." Eventually it petered out until, in October 2008, we shut up shop.

Chair: Jim, you wanted to pick up questions 8, 9 and 10.

Q1771 Jim McGovern: On the subject we have just been talking about, Mr Winder, you said you were not aware of any competition at the time. I would have thought that Ian Kerr’s company would have been regarded as competition. Were you not both working in the same field?

Jack Winder: First of all, we had no contact whatever with Ian Kerr.

Jim McGovern: That is not the question.

Jack Winder: Let me make the point. Ian Kerr’s operation was a very restricted operation. As I understood it-if it was still the same as it had been when it was the services group in the league-it was a matter of helping a certain number of companies in the construction industry avoid employing people they did not want to employ. That was his business. That was nothing whatever to do with Caprim. As I have said before, we had no interest in names, vetting or anything like that.

Q1772 Jim McGovern: If I understand you correctly, you would say that there was no similarity between what Caprim was doing and what Ian Kerr’s organisation was doing.

Jack Winder: No.

Q1773 Jim McGovern: No similarity whatsoever.

Jack Winder: As I did not know precisely what it was doing after 1993, I cannot be exact, but we had no contact with it. I did not even know where its offices were. So I have to say no, there was nothing similar at all.

Q1774 Jim McGovern: I do find it incredible that your company and Ian Kerr’s company were both set up by McAlpine and you had no links-one did not know what the other was doing

Jack Winder: No, we were not set up by McAlpine.

Q1775 Jim McGovern: Well, you were given a start-up.

Jack Winder: Right. We were given a leg-up, if you like, as I understand it.

Q1776 Jim McGovern: We have heard from Cullum McAlpine that, certainly for the organisation that Ian Kerr led, the money was a loan, and he could prove that it was repaid. Was it also a loan for Caprim?

Jack Winder: No.

Q1777 Jim McGovern: It was just a bung.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1778 Jim McGovern: That is helpful; thank you. Did Caprim have any contact or swap information with any members of the police or security services?

Jack Winder: No. When we were with the league we had contact with special branch, but not when we were with Caprim.

Q1779 Jim McGovern: What was different? Why did that stop?

Jack Winder: Because the contacts I had with the police were with the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. We were now based in the midlands, and I was there in the office.

Q1780 Jim McGovern: So it was just geographical.

Jack Winder: Yes, plus the fact that we really were trying to do something quite different-quite open and above board. We did not want to be anything that looked faintly underhand. We were quite open about what we did, so we did not want to get involved with anything like that. You mentioned the security services, and there have been suggestions that the league was in cahoots with MI5. No, it was not: we had no connections whatever with MI5.

Q1781 Jim McGovern: But if you were in cahoots with the police, presumably they were in cahoots with MI5.

Jack Winder: That may well be.

Q1782 Chair: You would not necessarily know if they were MI5, would you?

Jack Winder: I suppose that is a fair point.

Q1783 Jim McGovern: It would be naive to say that you did not think about whether the information you were passing to the police would end up with MI5.

Jack Winder: I suppose it would, so perhaps I was naive.

Jim McGovern: I don’t think so, somehow.

Jack Winder: That is kind of you. Thank you.

Chair: We have read your letters to The Daily Telegraph.

Q1784 Jim McGovern: Would you characterise Caprim as a blacklisting organisation?

Jack Winder: Absolutely not.

Q1785 Jim McGovern: Why not?

Jack Winder: Because we did not have any records of people to blacklist.

Q1786 Jim McGovern: You have already told us you had records in your filing cabinet in your bedroom.

Jack Winder: We had no records of individuals; I have told you that.

Q1787 Jim McGovern: You started up a company because you had information from a previous company, which did keep records on individuals. You kept that in your bedroom somewhere, or in your attic or wherever it was.

Jack Winder: No. As I said, the records on individuals were destroyed, on the orders of the central council.

Q1788 Jim McGovern: Yes, but you kept some in your home-or in an office somewhere.

Jack Winder: Not on individuals.

Q1789 Jim McGovern: You have already told this Committee that you started up a new company because you had information that you thought would provide a good business opportunity.

Jack Winder: Yes, information-not individual records. It depends on what you are asking me. I have already said that there were publications that we kept from the league that I and other people had written. That provided a basis. We were still getting all the current publications, so we were up to date. I had the knowledge of the background-I can say that without being too boastful-and we had the current stuff, but we did not keep individual records.

Q1790 Chair: You said to Mr McGovern that Caprim was not a blacklisting organisation. Was the Economic League a blacklisting organisation?

Jack Winder: No, not by my definition. The Economic League sourced information itself. The basis of the information-if you are talking about people-was people who were members of, avowed supporters of, or active in organisations that sought to use industry for political purposes. They ranged from the Communist party, whose strategy was to achieve a de facto communist Government under a de jure Labour Government-that was its pie in the sky-to those on the far left of the Communist party, such as the Socialist Workers party and so on. They were really impossibilists, and were just in for disruption, because they believed that the Communist party had betrayed the working class by supporting the Soviet Union, that the Hungarian uprising was one of the great things, and then the Prague spring, which led to all these splits. That is all history. The league amassed this information. As I understand it, historically-before I joined it-it was some of the companies that said, "You’re amassing this information. Can we have access to it?" That is how the thing worked, but the decision on whether someone would be given a job was not the league’s decision; it was the company’s decision.

Q1791 Chair: Yes, but you-the Economic League-supplied to individual companies information about individuals that in many cases was not likely to enhance somebody’s chance of getting a job, at the very least, and in many cases would result in their being refused a job.

Jack Winder: In many cases, some cases; I do not know.

Q1792 Chair: What do you mean by "In many cases, some cases"?

Jack Winder: You said "in many cases". It may have been in many cases-

Q1793 Chair: Okay, let’s say, "in cases". If that is not a blacklisting organisation, what is?

Jack Winder: Because we did not make the decision.

Q1794 Chair: Okay, you did not make the decision-but the decision would not have been made were it not for the information you supplied, so you were complicit in blacklisting, if not actually the blacklisters. Is that fair?

Jack Winder: I suppose that is a fair way of putting it. I would not argue with that.

Q1795 Chair: Right. When you and your colleague were in front of the House of Commons Employment Committee-in 1990, I think-you certainly were not prepared to admit that you were even complicit in blacklisting. Have your opinions changed with time?

Jack Winder: I cannot remember what we said in 1990.

Chair: Neither can I, but I have had the opportunity to look it up, so I thought I would check.

Q1796 Graeme Morrice: Following that, would you accept that companies used the information that you provided to blacklist employees or potential employees?

Jack Winder: Not to engage them for a particular post-yes, they would do.

Q1797 Graeme Morrice: On the basis of their political affiliations and beliefs.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1798 Graeme Morrice: Would you accept that that was, in effect, blacklisting?

Jack Winder: Yes. I also make the point, if I may, that it was drummed into me when I started this particular type of work-and I instilled it in all our staff whenever I could-that it does not really matter what you hold. There is nothing illegal-or there was not then-about holding records on people; it is about what you give out. The moment you give out information, you lose control of it. The person you have given it to may well turn around and say, "What’s the reason for that? What’s the back-up? How do you prove it?" And if you can’t, you’re dead.

Q1799 Jim McGovern: But you were not giving it out; you were selling it.

Jack Winder: What, the league?

Q1800 Jim McGovern: You were selling the information.

Jack Winder: Giving it out or selling it. We had already sold it, because the league worked on subscription. A company paid a subscription for a year, and you could then access this information. Giving it out or selling it-it is a matter of semantics.

Q1801 Jim McGovern: We heard from two witnesses who worked in the construction industry in my home town of Dundee. I should say that they started work in the construction industry but then could not find work in Dundee because they were on a blacklist. Unfortunately, I do not have the information in front of me just now, but it was information that was compiled by the Economic League saying, "These two are not to be trusted. This one is the mouthpiece, while this one is the brains", and so on. Do you think it is fair to keep information like that about people?

Jack Winder: I will not challenge what you are saying, because obviously-

Jim McGovern: I can send it to you.

Jack Winder: Okay-there may be a reason for it. That would have been compiled by our people in Glasgow, but they should not have compiled any information about people that was not based on a political reason.

Q1802 Jim McGovern: I do not make any apologies for repeating this one. Everybody on the Committee-and possibly members of the public, too-has heard me make this point before. A Dundee man named Syd Scroggie, a war veteran who had lost his leg and his sight in both eyes, wrote to the local press commending Dundee council for awarding the freedom of the city to Nelson Mandela, and he ended up on this list-the list that you were in charge of. Do you think that is fair?

Jack Winder: Not the list I was in charge of. That was the list that would have been held-

Q1803 Jim McGovern: It was the list you were using.

Jack Winder: I didn’t use it. Anyway, to counter that point, how old was this fellow with one leg who was blind?

Jim McGovern: He would be in his 70s by then.

Jack Winder: Well, what job would he be applying for?

Q1804 Jim McGovern: None. That is my point. Why, therefore, should he be on a blacklist?

Jack Winder: He was not on a blacklist; he was on a list of information-but no one would ask about him. If no one asked about him-

Q1805 Jim McGovern: Why should he be on a list?

Jack Winder: Because if he was supporting the Anti-Apartheid Movement-

Q1806 Jim McGovern: He lost a leg and the sight in both eyes serving this country-his country-and he ended up on a list, and you are condoning that.

Jack Winder: I know; let me finish. If he was supporting the Anti-Apartheid Movement at that time-this was in the early ’80s or something like that, I suppose-the Anti-Apartheid Movement had, from memory, a council or committee of 30, about a dozen of whom were members of the Communist party. If you have 40% of an organisation, you are going to control it. At that time, therefore, the Anti-Apartheid Movement was seen as being manipulated, at least, by the Communist party. So if someone is commending the Anti-Apartheid Movement, you put that in your raw information, because it may eventually form part of a pattern. But he is not going to be blacklisted, is he? Did we know his address?

Jim McGovern: Yes. His name and address were on the list.

Chair: He put it in the letter to the newspaper.

Jack Winder: There was nothing illegal in having that record, was there?

Q1807 Jim McGovern: Do you condone it even morally?

Jack Winder: No, I do not condone it.

Q1808 Jim McGovern: A disabled war veteran ends up on a blacklist because he writes to the local press saying, "I am glad Dundee council has awarded Nelson Mandela the freedom of this city", and you think it is correct that he should be on a blacklist.

Jack Winder: No, I do not think it is correct. Don’t put words in my mouth.

Q1809 Jim McGovern: But you are condoning it.

Jack Winder: No, I do not condone it.

Q1810 Jim McGovern: Well, you are trying to explain it, at least.

Jack Winder: No, I am trying to explain why it was done at the time-30 years ago. You have to look at the time and the context.

Q1811 Chair: To be fair, I think he is in his 70s now. He was not in his 70s when that was done 30 years ago, so he might very well have gone for jobs. Obviously, it is difficult to see in the circumstances what job he might have gone for. I presume that his letter did not necessarily say that he was blind and a war veteran. The point is that somebody who was a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, who may not have known that 40% of the leadership were members of the Communist party, was being blacklisted. It is a bit like saying that, because there are some odious people in the Conservative party, everybody in the Conservative party should be tarred with that brush. That seems to me to be somewhat excessive. They do bite off babies’ heads-I am prepared to accept that-but not everybody in the Conservative party bites off babies’ heads.

Jack Winder: That is a fair point.

Q1812 Chair: But this broad-brush approach was being used by the Economic League at that time. Jim’s point is that, apparently, it ruined a substantial number of lives, because people simply could not get employment.

Jack Winder: I do not accept that, for the reason that no one seems to put this in context. First of all, at the maximum, I think the league had something like several thousand names-let us say 10,000 names-on its records, out of a working population of 25 million. What is that-one in 2,500?

Q1813 Chair: Yes, but for anybody who was on that list, they were 100% on the list.

Jack Winder: Yes, but the other part of the context you have to look at is the size of the league’s operation. In 1984, I think, the league’s income actually reached £1 million. If you divide that by 1,000 companies, you have got companies paying £1,000, but some of them were paying £20,000. So the number of companies involved in the league was under 1,000. The engineering industry alone had 20,000 companies, so the effect of the Economic League on the overall economy and employment situation in this country was that of a gnat on the back of an elephant, frankly.

Q1814 Chair: As I understand it, you are expressing the view to us that you are regretting that you were not more effective, because you had only a small percentage of troublemakers in what was a large pool, as it were, and that if you had had more names you would have been more effective. We have already discussed how efficient and effective you were-and I think we have identified certain gaps-but for somebody who was on your files and was refused work as a result as being blacklisted, that was 100% loss of employment to them. We have already had people here-

Jack Winder: They lost a job.

Q1815 Chair: You say they lost a job.

Jack Winder: They went next door that way, next door that way and-

Q1816 Chair: No. Earlier, this Committee has heard from people who had to leave their home city and travel elsewhere in the country in order to get employment, and who were away from their wives and families for substantial-

Jack Winder: What industry were they in?

Chair: In construction.

Jack Winder: Ah, well, as I have said to you, the construction industry had its own information. It was quite separate from us.

Q1817 Chair: Yes, but it was part of the Economic League.

Jack Winder: No, it was not. The services group information was information compiled and supplied by those companies. That is much nearer to a blacklist than what the league was doing in the other industries.

Q1818 Chair: Some of this is somewhat dated; we just want to clarify things. It is clear that you do not see Caprim as a blacklisting organisation but that it was complicit in that. I think that is a fair way of putting it.

Jack Winder: No, Caprim was not.

Chair: Sorry, you are right. The Economic League was complicit in it.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1819 Graeme Morrice: Going back to Caprim, when and why was it wound up?

Jack Winder: As I think I explained before, as we lost clients and got older, and as it got more and more difficult to get new ones, we simply let the thing run down. In October 2008 we wound it up and ceased operating.

Q1820 Graeme Morrice: Was there any connection with the Information Commissioner’s raid on the Consulting Association?

Jack Winder: No, that postdated the end of Caprim.

Q1821 Graeme Morrice: Did you have any dealings with--

Jack Winder: Plus the fact that, as I have said several times, we did not know anything about the Consulting Association.

Q1822 Graeme Morrice: Are you are saying, therefore, that you did not have any dealings with the Consulting Association?

Jack Winder: Correct.

Q1823 Graeme Morrice: But you were aware of it.

Jack Winder: I did not know what it was called, and I did not know where it was.

Q1824 Graeme Morrice: So you did not know what it was doing.

Jack Winder: I knew when Ian Kerr left that he was going off to do that thing, but it was made perfectly clear to us that we should not have any contact, and we did not. Ian Kerr-poor old Ian-was a very upright and straightforward fellow. If he was told, "Don’t do this", he simply would not do it. In fact-for what it is worth, Chairman-we had known each other as families, but all contact in that regard ceased as well. He took it absolutely literally. So there was no contact at all.

Q1825 Graeme Morrice: Why?

Jack Winder: Because he was told not to have any, and he took it literally. I think he felt that even a personal contact would contaminate him in some way.

Q1826 Graeme Morrice: Why was he told that?

Jack Winder: Because it was the league that had been brought into disrepute, and the services group, being set up as a separate entity under a different name, would be doing its own thing and would not be contaminated by being stuck with the likes of me.

Q1827 Graeme Morrice: So it was toxic.

Jack Winder: That is what they thought, yes.

Q1828 Chair: So some of the personnel from the Economic League and the records from the Economic League were taken off, with funding from people who had been in the Economic League, but it was set up separately, privately and secretly, and divorced entirely from anybody else in the Economic League.

Jack Winder: This is the services group?

Chair: Yes.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1829 Lindsay Roy: Why do you think the demand for your services decreased to the extent that you wound up the business?

Jack Winder: For two reasons. First, when you are advising people on a particular aspect-a particular threat-and that threat diminishes, eventually they say, "Thank you very much, but we don’t need you any more." In some cases, they actually get their own source of information: their own staff do it. As I said before, the other reason was that we simply got to the point that we did not want to go chasing money any more. I was quite happy to put down my pick and shovel and pick up my golf club.

Q1830 Lindsay Roy: What were the last big perceived threats you were dealing with?

Jack Winder: GM crops and pharmaceuticals.

Q1831 Lindsay Roy: In what context?

Jack Winder: Animal rights and GM crops.

Q1832 Sir James Paice: I am slightly confused by something you said a few minutes ago. Graeme used the word "toxic". You gave me the impression, unless I misunderstood you, that the services group and the cadre of people from the Economic League who went into that were told to stay away from you because you were toxic-I think that was what was said. Yet earlier in the proceedings you said that McAlpine gave your business £10,000 to get started, on condition that you stayed away from them, which implies that it was they who were toxic. Can you clarify this for me?

Jack Winder: Not really. But "Don’t you come near my daughter again" is the same thing as saying to your daughter, "Don’t go near him again."

Q1833 Sir James Paice: So McAlpine gave you £10,000 because you were toxic.

Jack Winder: No. First of all, when you talk about Economic League staff, there was actually only one of them. Ian Kerr was the only member of staff in that organisation. He told me in no uncertain terms that he had been told he was to steer clear of us, but companies like that-I am saying McAlpine, as that is the name that comes to mind-had known the league for an awful long time. They knew the value of the greater work-the greater sort of monitoring-that the league did. I understand that, on that basis, they were prepared to give us help, not to start us-we had started-but to give us a leg-up to get going.

Q1834 Sir James Paice: So Mr McAlpine-or McAlpine-gave your company £10,000 to start up, on condition that you stayed away from Mr Kerr, on the basis that it would contaminate his business if he had anything to do with you. I am getting puzzled-perhaps it is just me, having come to this quite recently-as to which way round this problem existed.

Jack Winder: I think it was the league-you used the word "toxic"-that was seen as toxic. That is why it was done that way.

Q1835 Chair: That is right. The league was seen as toxic, and McAlpine then seems to have funded two separate offshoots of the league, with staff from the league, to do work that the league had been doing before. Neither of them was to work with the other, and both things were done in secret. We have some doubts about whether or not the £10,000 that you got was actually for the intellectual property that the league had held, which the services group then used, because we have evidence saying that that is what that £10,000 was for.

Jack Winder: Ah, by intellectual property, do you mean the cards-the names?

Chair: Yes.

Jack Winder: All I know is that those under my control were destroyed. I was there when it was done.

Q1836 Chair: Okay. We will have to pursue the question of why or how exactly you got this money. Do I take it that Caprim was not registered as a data controller?

Jack Winder: No, it was not.

Q1837 Chair: Because you had no data, basically.

Jack Winder: Correct.

Q1838 Chair: Can I go back a little bit, because I think we are getting towards the end now, and I want to try to sweep up some things? When Caprim was established, you and Mr Hardy were the main workers-the employees. You mentioned two other people, one who was there short term and one who came longer term.

Jack Winder: To be grandiose, we were joint managing directors.

Q1839 Chair: Of a company that had more managing directors than staff. I understand that, but were there other directors on the board?

Jack Winder: We had two non-executive directors.

Q1840 Chair: Who were they?

Jack Winder: Saxon Tate-

Chair: That is Tate of Tate and Lyle.

Jack Winder: Yes, who died last October. The other was a man called Bernard Forbes.

Q1841 Chair: Who was Bernard Forbes?

Jack Winder: He recruited me to the Economic League in 1963.

Q1842 Chair: So he was a member of staff at the league, was he?

Jack Winder: Yes, but he left in 1968. We just kept up a relationship.

Q1843 Chair: Right. You mentioned Mr Tate of Tate and Lyle. Tate and Lyle was a big funder, was it not, of the Economic League?

Jack Winder: Saxon had been chairman of the league at one point.

Q1844 Chair: So a former chair of the league was then involved in setting up an offshoot-or a phoenix that came from the wreckage of the league.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1845 Chair: Was he hands-on and involved, or was he there just to get you off the ground?

Jack Winder: No, they were non-executive directors to advise us, because we were new to running a company-the classic role of a non-executive director.

Q1846 Chair: So they were just advising you how things were done, and you were getting on with doing, as it were, the work you were undertaking. I am slightly confused about addresses and so on, because I got some stuff from Companies House and you seem to have had a number of addresses, different company secretaries, different shareholders and so on. Can you clarify matters? Did Mr Hardy leave at some point? Were you and your wife then the directors?

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1847 Chair: But your wife was not one of the original directors.

Jack Winder: No. Stan simply handed his shares, which were worthless, to my wife.

Q1848 Chair: So he gave his worthless shares to your wife. She then became co-director with you and was company secretary.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1849 Chair: In the latter years, then, Mr Hardy was not directly involved, because by then he had gone off to other things.

Jack Winder: Yes. He went part time in 1998. He got a job with the Institute of Directors up in Leeds. He also worked for Business for Sterling.

Q1850 Chair: That is right. As I understand it, he got a job with the Institute of Directors in Leeds. I believe he was also one of the leading lights in Business for Sterling in his area. He now works for, I think, Northern Defence Industries.

Jack Winder: I did not know about that.

Chair: No doubt we will clarify all of that with him when he comes.

Jack Winder: He therefore took a hefty cut in his salary in 1998, which helped the company, but he left completely in 2000.

Q1851 Jim McGovern: On the subject of the sale of information, if my memory serves me correctly, we heard that the Consulting Association would charge £2.20 for each inquiry that it received about an individual. How much did Caprim charge for each inquiry about either an individual or an organisation?

Jack Winder: We did not have any inquiries like that.

Q1852 Jim McGovern: You were just on a retainer.

Jack Winder: Exactly. They paid a retainer and we did work. If they wanted us to do specialist things-for example, one of the agro-chemical companies worried about the activists who would go and trash GM crops might ask us for security advice, and Jack Bramwell, who was the security specialist, would go and advise it on that-then they might pay us more for that specific thing, but for the overall general work they paid a retainer.

Q1853 Jim McGovern: Can you recall what sort of payment there would be for that sort of action by your company?

Jack Winder: Frankly, I cannot. It would depend on the nature of the work, how long it would take and so on, and we would negotiate a price. There was no scale; we did not have a scale of charges.

Q1854 Jim McGovern: Was it just negotiable?

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1855 Jim McGovern: For the example that you have just given of people trashing crops, or whatever it was you said, would it be five grand, 10 grand or 20 grand?

Jack Winder: No, it would be nothing like that. It would probably be hundreds.

Jim McGovern: Three and six.

Jack Winder: Yes, something like that.

Jim McGovern: Right-I don’t think.

Jack Winder: Of course not, but it was not thousands and thousands.

Q1856 Chair: Presumably the company’s accounts will still exist, so some of this will-

Jack Winder: We do not have them.

Q1857 Chair: Presumably you still have accounts.

Jack Winder: Yes, back to 2006.

Q1858 Chair: You have the accounts to 2006, so the question of who your customers and clients were and how much they were paying you will be in those books.

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1859 Chair: Fine. I take it that you have no difficulty letting us have copies of those.

Jack Winder: That is right.

Q1860 Chair: Fine. That will clarify some of that for us. Rather than you just taking a note, the staff will write to you saying what we have agreed to ask for. On green issues, one of the things that we heard when we were discussing environmental activists with Mr Kerr was that they had been keeping files on individual environmental activists, which were not seized by the Information Commissioner because they were in a different filing cabinet, and the commissioner seized only the main section. When you were collating information on green issues, were you identifying individuals in any way?

Jack Winder: No.

Q1861 Chair: So you were just discussing general trends, groups, organisations and structures.

Jack Winder: Yes-and what was happening.

Q1862 Chair: But if people were facing activists turning up at their company AGM, surely it would have made sense to let them know who might be involved as individuals, as well as the general questioning that they might want to pursue.

Jack Winder: I do not recall any occasion when we were asked that question.

Q1863 Chair: Okay. I said earlier that if there were any answers that you had prepared for questions that we have not asked, we would give you an opportunity at the end. If there are any points that you want to raise with us now, we would welcome that.

Jack Winder: You have not asked me whether blacklisting exists today.

Chair: Fine.

Jack Winder: May I quote from a blog in The Daily Telegraph on 29 January, by Dan Hodges? Dan Hodges "has worked for the Labour Party, the GMB trade union and managed numerous independent political campaigns. He writes about Labour with tribal loyalty and without reservation." He describes himself as "a Blairite cuckoo in the Miliband nest". He is writing about the British National party. He says that he holds no brief-nor do I-for the British National party. However, "When people say ‘How can we make a special case just because it’s the BNP and we don’t like them?’"-that is, how can we discriminate against them?-"they ignore the fact we already do. Membership of the BNP is prohibited amongst members of the police service and the prison service." So they operate a blacklist of BNP members. In 2007, the railwaymen’s union, ASLEF, expelled a member because he was a member of the British National party. He won two tribunals against unfair expulsion before the union took it to that august body the European Court of Human Rights, which overturned the decision. In 2008, Labour MPs were "pushing for trade unions to be given the right to expel members who belong to the BNP without penalty." That, to me, is blacklisting, because you are expelling people or not allowing them to be members of an organisation or to get a job, because they are members of a party.

Q1864 Chair: That, I understand, is open, above board and known, isn’t it? It is well known that the police will not accept somebody from the BNP, for reasons we need not go into here. Anybody who was on your files would not necessarily know that they were on them, so it would be done secretly. That is a clear distinction, isn’t it?

Jack Winder: Yes, it is, but my point was that blacklisting still exists. People are still deprived of things because of who they are.

Q1865 Chair: One of the other areas that we wanted to touch on was whether, in your understanding, industrial blacklisting still goes on. You are obviously involved in these sorts of spheres; presumably you have a hobbyist’s interests in such matters. Do you think it is still going on?

Jack Winder: I really do not know. I am well and truly retired.

Q1866 Chair: We are not clear whether you are a "don’t know" or a "won’t tell".

Jack Winder: I am a "don’t know". You did remind me I was under oath. I did not need reminding-I know what it is about. I am a genuine "don’t know".

Q1867 Chair: That is helpful. Can I go back to one point? Earlier you mentioned that, in your capacity as an employee of the Economic League, you met Jim Prior, prior to industrial legislation being drawn up. Were you the only member of the Economic League who met Mr Prior?

Jack Winder: As far as I know.

Q1868 Chair: Right. So you had an input into the industrial relations legislation that then came forward.

Jack Winder: No.

Q1869 Chair: Your conversation had no impact at all, then.

Jack Winder: I do not know. He was newly appointed and thought I might have something worth saying, so we had a brief meeting, somewhere in here, for half an hour.

Q1870 Chair: Can I go back to the Economic League and the question of links with the police? You mentioned that you had links with the Metropolitan Police when you were down here. Did you have any reason to believe that that was unique to the London area? Were your colleagues elsewhere in the country saying, "We too meet Special Branch to discuss this, that and the other"?

Jack Winder: It was not unique. I remember meeting a Special Branch man with my Scottish colleague in a pub in Maryhill. That was one example. When I was in the midlands, I also had a contact in the West Midlands police special branch. More than that I do not know.

Q1871 Chair: I just wanted to clarify that your relationship was not unique. What was the nature of this relationship? Was it an ongoing one over a long period of time?

Jack Winder: Yes.

Q1872 Chair: Was it a mutually advantageous exchange of information?

Jack Winder: I inherited Metropolitan Police contacts from my predecessor. He stressed to me, and said to me, "The one thing to remember is that these people can do you a lot of harm, so don’t ask them anything that will embarrass them." You never ask them a question about information on individuals or anything like that, because of their contacts. The door was open to those people; we had to put a foot in the door. They could do us a great deal of harm if we got on the wrong side of them and they simply said, "They’re dodgy; don’t touch them." We used to meet in the Buckingham in Petty France over a couple of pints at lunch time and just chat about what was going on-mutual discussion about what was happening and so on. There was no exchange of detailed information about people. That was absolutely forbidden.

Chair: I am sorry, but I did not catch the last bit.

Jack Winder: There was no detailed information about people-about individuals. That was the sort of thing I was schooled not to ask them about, because they would either have to refuse, which would not be good, or have to break their own rules and tell me something. It was just a useful thing-sounding boards to them and sounding boards to me.

Q1873 Chair: Presumably you were supplying them with information just about movements, organisations and groups, and having a general chit-chat.

Jack Winder: Yes, a general chit-chat.

Q1874 Chair: I think I know the Buckingham: it is just round the corner from New Scotland Yard. It is a real ale pub, and is in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, if I remember correctly. I am wondering how selective you were in Maryhill. Was there a similar alehouse in Maryhill?

Jack Winder: I think my colleague wanted me to see one of the more salubrious areas of Glasgow.

Chair: One of the more salubrious areas? Goodness me, I will bear that in mind.

Jim McGovern: I was born in Maryhill.

Chair: That is right-Jim is a Maryhill boy. I just wondered whether you could recall the name of the pub you went to in Maryhill.

Jack Winder: No, I can’t remember that.

Chair: It might boost its trade-or not, as the case might be.

Jack Winder: Yes, it could.

Chair: Are there any other points that my colleagues want to make?

Q1875 Jim McGovern: There is just one point I would like to make to Mr Winder. I disagree with most of what he has said, but I think he has been very candid. However, I think it is unfortunate that he used the comments that you invited him to make to compare people who choose to join a trade union to people who choose to join the British National party.

Jack Winder: The BNP has its own trade union, hasn’t it?

Q1876 Jim McGovern: I have no idea. I have nothing to do with the BNP.

Jack Winder: Neither have I. We can agree to disagree on that.

Q1877 Chair: Just to sweep things up, we have already heard of two offshoots of the Economic League-Caprim and the Consulting Association. Were there others?

Jack Winder: No, I am quite sure there were not.

Q1878 Chair: You would have known. You were not warned off speaking to anybody else.

Jack Winder: I think I would have known. I say no; I have no knowledge of any others.

Q1879 Chair: One of the suggestions we had was that Caprim had events as well, and that Stella Rimington, formerly of the secret service, had been involved.

Jack Winder: That is wonderful.

Chair: We have to raise these things with you.

Jack Winder: This is wonderful stuff. The name Caprim was spelled CAPRiM. I dreamed up the name: Corporate Asset Protection and Risk Management-a wonderful title. They said, "The RiM stands for Rimington." I have never met the lady; I know nothing at all about her.

Q1880 Chair: We are glad to have clarified that. Is there anything else you want to add?

Jack Winder: I do not think so, thank you.

Chair: Colleagues, I think we have had everything. Mr Winder, the staff will drop you a note saying what we have agreed that you will try to supply us with. If anything comes to us later on, I hope you do not mind if we contact you to seek clarification on it. Thank you very much for coming along this afternoon and being helpful to us.

Prepared 12th February 2013