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A Regrettable Incident

“Sorry” says Tony on the BBC this morning, obviously irked that the thing that people will most remember this week’s party conference in Brighton for is not his speech or even Gordon’s but two party thugs manhandling 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang from his seat for the crime of shouting “Nonsense” at Jack Straw over his speech on Iraq, possibly expressing what many of us feel on the same subject.

The BBC reports that Wolfgang was briefly detained by police under Section 44 of the Anti-terrorism Act. Fearing perhaps that this elderly Jewish pensioner was an Al Qaeda member who might detonate with indignation at any moment. At least he avoided being placed under house arrest or worse, being sent to a labour re-education camp in the urban wilderness of Camden.

This story illustrates my own fears over the misapplication of new legislation, a hammer to crack a nut, threatens our civil liberties and the right to shout “Nonsense” at politicians and is increasingly used in a manner which is neither necessary nor proportionate.

Mind you, was that Tony Blair or comedian Rory Bremner being interviewed this morning? I’m not sure I can tell the difference anymore!
(Photo Scott Barbour/ Getty Images)

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This week's print edition of The Economist picks up on the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act quite succintly.

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