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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Heavies against the Hecklers.

So, yesterday I heard on the news that two hecklers had been removed from the Labour Party Conference during Jack Straw's speech. I raised my eyes to heaven and thought it sounded a bit heavy-handed. Whatever happened to democracy and debate, I wondered.

It made me think of an incident a year or so ago, when Tony Blair was heckled when he was talking about the Iraq war, and Blair had made some glib comment to the heckler about how he was lucky to live in a free society where such things were allowed - just as the heckler was in fact being bundled out of the hall surrounded by stewards... Poignant and telling moment, I thought.

Then later on yesterday I heard more. I heard that one of the hecklers was actually 82 years old. Blimey, I thought. More heavy-handed than I had even realised! He must have said some pretty bad things to have been man-handled out of the room.

Then even later on last night, I heard the actual facts.

Jack Straw had been speaking when he was interrupted by Walter Wolfgang, a Jewish escapee from the Nazis who is now 82 and has been a Labour Party member for 48 years.

Jack Straw had just said, "We are in Iraq for one reason only: to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation".

So, what was this interruption which caused such aggressive behaviour from 'security' staff? Which led to this 82 year old man being threatened with terrorism charges?

He shouted, Nonsense. Nonsense! That's it! One word.

When he got 'removed' from the conference as a result, his neighbour said, "You must be joking!", for which he was duly evicted too!

I mean, if it wasn't so obscene it would be funny. (Edited to add, see the photo here).

This government has become less and less democratic, and erode our freedoms more and more and more. ID cards, the appalling terrorism bills. When something happens like someone being held captive in Iraq, they won't enter into any talks because they say that we "shouldn't negotiate with terrorists", but when it suits them they will do anything and everything and use the threat of terrorism to justify their actions.

They will react to terror when it suits them. They will happily ignore it or sneer at the idea when that suits them better.

That day in February two years ago, when 2 million people marched against the war in London and the government and Blair carried on as if nothing had happened, was the day I realised that any pretence of democracy in this bloody country is a myth and a legend.

In other news:
GPs to stop prescribing antidepressants blamed for suicidal feelings in under-18s.

The Future's Not Bright If You're Orange.

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Taarna said...

That's appalling. I can't believe that old man was treated that way!

Anonymous said...

But of course we live in a democracy. Come the next general election we can all vote between two major parties, who try to outdo each other with more and more rabid right wing policies. How is that not democratic?