Didn’t you just love the fine and stirring sight of an elderly man being roughly manhandled out of the Labour Party conference today for daring to attempt to raise an objection to Blair’s policy on Iraq? Truly our leaders and their party worship at the twin temples of Democracy and Freedom of Speech…

Even better the police used the hastily rushed through anti-terror laws to keep the 82 year old Walter Wolfgang from re-entering the conference, despite the fact he is rather obviously not a terrorist (although we know the police have great difficulty in telling who is a real terrorist – perhaps he is lucky they didn’t just shoot him) and has been a Labour Party member for several decades.

Labour have now apologised for the heavy handed removal but I’m moved to wonder if they would have made such an apology if it wasn’t for the fact that cameras caught their flunkies bodily handling an octogenerian party member from the auditorium and shown it on national television. Pretty embarassing stuff, but hardly unexpected to see that Blair’s party cannot even listen to criticism on the war (they earlier blocked on MP’s attempts to have a debate on the war – Tony showing again that he really values the opinion of the British citizens). To rub salt in the wound they also threw out another party member who dared to object to the treatment of this elderly man.

Blair ignored huge amounts of MPs and millions of those who marched against the war and now his conference flunkies stymie debate on it and bodily manhandle elderly delegates out for trying to speak. What next, Tony? Next time maybe you’ll just have the offending person arrested and held for weeks without trial? Maybe we can build a camp on one of the deserted islands of the West Coast of Scotland and hold a whole bunch of micscreants there who are a threat to security? Nah, surely not – no civilised nation would hold people without trial or lock them up without charge on an isolated island… Oh…

And as an interesting addendum to this travesty, Newsnight observed that it took five hours for Labour to apologise for Mr Wolfgang’s rough treatment but they still haven’t apologised to Steve Forrest, a local party chairman who had merely remonstrated with the overly steroidal-looking thugs for their ridiculous treatment of an old man. And watching the footage I’m also wondering – couldn’t Mr Wolfgang sue the stewards for assault? They have no right to physically handle him in that way; hell staff in stores are told not to touch shoplifters if possible because it could be taken as assault. I’d love to see him take Labour to court for assault and for denying his rights to the freedom of speech and expression. Democracy in action. What a fine example to set to the youth of Britain – if someone is bothering you get some large apes to physically deal with them on your behalf. This from the government who is committed to stamping out ‘yobbish’ behaviour…

Labour shows its anti-democratic side

So, Labour have made a humiliating climb down in the Scottish election campaign. They have been playing the independence bogey man card in their fight against the Scottish National Party, their main rivals. The SNP have promised to hold a referendum to allow the Scottish people to decide if they wish to move from a devolved parliament to full independence. Labour said that constitutional matters were a reserved power to Westminster and the Holyrood parliament could not even mount such a referendum.

Now you will notice this is London saying not only that the Edinburgh parliament does not have final say over independence, but on simply holding a referendum. Now obviously constitutional change would have to include all of the UK legislative bodies. But to threaten to block a possible referendum being held by a possible SNP government in Edinburgh? That is something else – that is effectively saying that London will not even allow the Scottish people to register their opinion. Does democracy so frighten these people?

For starters that is immoral and profoundly undemocratic. It is an action which is also very ill-considered, as this kind of thing will infuriate most Scots and drive them towards the nationalist camp and increase an anti-Westminster and possibly anti-English sentiment, neither of which are productive. Today Labour backtracked to say they would never block a referendum, but the damage is done. Labour have once more shown themselves to be a centrally-driven party who think nothing of over-riding Scottish concerns when it suits their London office. Im not making any pitch here for or against possible independence, but the right for Scottish citizens to have their say on the matter is utterly paramount. It is a matter of simple democracy and of the right of self-determination for all nations that is guaranteed under international law.