Anorak News | Waltered Down Protest

Waltered Down Protest

by | 29th, September 2005

‘THE elderly are usually invisible to all but grandchildren and vote hungry politicians at election time, the grey hairs acting as a kind of cloaking device that renders the wearer undetectable to the world at large.

‘You! Out! Go and protest about your council tax like everyone else your age?’

But in recent days a couple of the older generation have been spotted.

First we had Sylvia Hardy, who was sent to jail for non payment of her Council Tax arrears. She‘s now in the Times, complaining that she wanted to spend the duration of her seven-day sentence behind bars and not be freed in just 36 hours. She wonders if the person who paid her arrears, and so secured her release, had “malicious” motives.

Now we spot 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang, a Labour member since 1948 and, as the Times reports, a man who escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, a former vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a member of the Stop the War Coalition.

There’s Walter on the cover of the Telegraph, being thrown out of the Labour Party conference for heckling Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, on the subject of Iraq.

As Straw was telling the assembled crowd that British troops were only in Iraq to help the elected Iraqi government, Wolfgang shouted: “That’s a lie and you know it.”

What’s this? A dissenting voice! A word that goes against the message! That will never do. And with the words still moist on his lips, Walter was surrounded by security staff, or “toughies” as he calls them.

He was then physically ejected from the conference hall in Brighton. When he tried to re-enter the secure zone around the hall, he was stopped by a police officer “citing the Terrorism Act”.

This doesn’t look all that good on Labour. But it must be said that it diminishes claims that the anti-terrorism policy in any way singles out bearded Muslims – Mr Wolfgang is a clean-shaven Jew.

But there is some confusion over what was said. And while the Telegraph hears Walter say an entire sentence, albeit a short one, the Times hears him utter but a single word. In response to Straw’s defence of the war on Iraq, Walter had merely shouted “nonsense”.

But whatever the words, these are surely not the actions of a confident and likeable government.

And we are left with a growing sense of unease that all protest is being stifled – and a sense of wonder that the voice of an octogenarian should have been heard in public, let alone listened to…’

Posted: 29th, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink