Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No Dissent Please, We're New Labour

The Graun and the BBC both report that an 82 year old man, Walter Wolfgang, was physically bundled out of the Labour Party Conference today, for daring to heckle Deputy Changemaker Jack Straw. Another conference delegate was then thrown out of the hall for protesting at Mr Wolfgang's treatment at the hands of New Lab bouncers. It didn't end there - later Mr Wolfgang was denied re-entry to the conference hall by police using Terrorist Act powers.

The Beeb says:

Walter Wolfgang, from London, was ejected from the hall after shouting "nonsense" as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw defended Iraq policy.

Police later used powers under the Terrorism Act to prevent Mr Wolfgang's re-entry, but he was not arrested.

Mr Wolfgang, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, is a member of the Stop the War Coalition.

Erith and Thamesmead constituency party chairman Steve Forrest, who was sitting next to Mr Wolfgang, was also thrown out after complaining about his treatment.

Apparently, the Labour Party is to apologise for its 'heavy handed' treatment of Wolfgang.

I am informed that in pre-New Lab days, Conference used to be a time of open and democratic political debate. Of course, it wasn't perfect - members could debate issues and pass democratic resolutions until they were blue in the face without Labour Governments actually having to act on them. However, there was at least some semblance of democracy. Now conference is almost entirely stage managed - a pathetic simulacra of a forum for democratic debate. It is clear that the party hierarchy made absolutely sure that the issue of troop withdrawal from Iraq would not be formally debated (though one brave TGWU official used the debate on 'Britain and the World' to call for an end to the occupation and, according to the Guardian, 'won a loud ovation from delegates'). The Stalinist stage management of the occasion now seems to have extended so far that New Lab audience enforcers will physically force out elderly people for shouting out a one word heckle.

Hail Changemakers!

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