Sunday, October 2

The Sunday Quote 129

"It just seems to me that it's an attitude question about authority and authoritarianism..... These two toughies came round and wanted to manhandle me out. I said: 'Do you want me to leave? I will leave, you don't need to manhandle me.' Physically, I am not too well.''

Walter Wolfgang, 82 a Labour member of 57 years' standing, who was ejected from the Labour Party Conference last week for heckling Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Blair later said of the stewards: "It is difficult for them when someone is interrupting someone's speech, but it should be handled sensitively, particularly with an older person." He told the BBC there had to be better training for stewards in the
future. Earlier it had been claimed that all stewards were volunteers who had not undergone training of any description.

After being ejected Mr Wolfgang's pass was seized and he was amazingly detained under the Terrorism Act when he tried to re-enter the conference on Wednesday.

Questioned about why Mr Wolfgang had been briefly arrested under the Terrorism Act, Mr Blair said: "My understanding is that his delegate's credentials showed he had been ejected before and he had to wait while that was checked out."

Tory leadership campaigner David Cameron MP described the incident as "one of those moments which lays bare the full absurdity of the Orwellian New Labour project". He said the use of the Terrorism Act in preventing Mr Wolfgang's return was "profoundly depressing".

Liberal Democrat President Simon Hughes told BBC Breakfast: "Here's a conference with the foreign secretary tackling some of the most controversial issues of the day and people aren't allowed to stay in their seats if they shout any protest, even restrained protest.

Scottish National Party Leader Alex Salmond said Labour could "censure their delegates but they won't be able to gag the people". "There was a time when politicians could deal with a few hecklers," he added.

Erith and Thamesmead constituency party chairman Steve Forrest, who was sitting next to Mr Wolfgang, was also thrown out after complaining about the stewards' response.
Playwright John Mortimer, also 82, wrote in his column in today's The Mail on Sunday : ''I can not believe that a Labour Government would be so ready to destroy our law, our freedom of speech and our civil liberties.''
Mr Wolfgang should be well pleased that he has awoken a belated realisation in the essential truth of New Labour's control, who like Big Brother, we must, 'they' tell us, all learn to love.
Indeed very depressing.

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