UK Politics

Wooing Walter

I find Walter Wolfgang’s musings on the Iraq war, Kosovo, his allegiance to new millennium CND – the sick bastard child of a once noble peace movement – and membership of the Stop the War Coalition – now exposed as a front for Trotskyite supporters of fascistic child murderers in Iraq – all utterly abhorrent. In fact, so repelled am I by his views that the next time he is feted by the nation’s media and afforded an opportunity to air his obnoxious opinions, whether it be standing on Brighton front or sat on a GMTV sofa, I intend to be there shouting my disapproval with every word that drops from his lips. I believe it’s called heckling. If this should mean no-one actually gets to hear what Mr. Wolfgang has to say, then so much the better. I’ll have done my job.

And if I should be manhandled from the scene or otherwise forced to abandon my protest (I believe it’s called exercising free speech), I expect to be lauded by the nation as a stalwart defender of civil liberties.

Whether in fact I am patronized to the degree Walter Wolfgang has been (and by extension all elderly and/or infirm people), I very much doubt. For I am in my 30s, relatively fit, certainly not encumbered by illness or age, and a survivor of nothing more horrific than home counties suburbia (although Friday night in the Market Square can get a bit hairy). I simply cannot compete with walking difficulties and Hitler’s Germany.

If the Labour leadership want to apologise for something, it should be for iron fist of control that grips the Brighton conference centre for 5 days every year. The insistence that off-message opinions are barely accommodated on the stage makes heckling from the cheap seats of the kind we witnessed this week more and not less likely. The stewards – who are all volunteers rather than the “paid heavies” they have been labelled in our increasingly awful newspapers – should also be coached to adapt their behaviour in line with the tone and source of the heckling. This is nothing more than common sense; it’s about giving due consideration to the physical state of the disruptive influence and the nature of the disruption itself. Half a dozen SWPpers shrieking their support for anti-democratic forces warrant somewhat different treatment to a pensioner capable of a barely audible “Nonsense”.

But others would have us go farther. The suggestion that Walter’ Wolfgang’s dissent should have been tolerated is a case unmade without reference to his age and background. This is a display of nauseating deference; a offensive patronization of the man matched only by his undeserved canonisation.

Notwithstanding the above, I do find old people exceptionally cute.