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"an 82 year old man, a member of the Labour Party since 1948, a refugee from Nazi Germany, a candidate for the Labour Party - was effectively manhandled out of the conference hall for "heckling" Jack Straw"

(Other media reaction "Blair says Sorry" etc)


http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today1_straw__20050929.ram September 29 2005 The Today Programme

Norman Smith "Yes. We had that rarity at Labour Party conferences now, a full head-on public relations catastrophe whereby an 82 year old man, a member of the Labour Party since 1948, a refugee from Nazi Germany, a candidate for the Labour Party - was effectively manhandled out of the conference hall for heckling Jack Straw - and I have to say, watching the debate,that "heckling" is a very grand way to describe what was going on. There was muted dissent. Anyway, poor old Walter Wolfgang shouted out "Nonsense!" whereby these huge bouncers cum wardens ushered him out. They also bundled out another member who said, "Hang on. What on earth are you doing here?"

John Humphreys And if he'd been very provocative he'd have said Hear hear?

NS (laughs) It doesn't end there though because when poor old Mr Wolfgang tried to come back into the conference hall after lunch the police wouldn't allow him back in - wait for it - UNDER THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT. And then, I mean then the labour Party grudgingly issued an apology about four or five hours later. To compound all this they are now saying that Mr Wolfgang can come back into the conference hall today "provided he gives a reassurance that he won't cause another disturbance" I mean it is utterly Orwellian almost in its grotesqueness.

JH "cause another disturbance" And the disturbance was to shout out "Nonsense!"?

NS He shouted Nonsense paradoxically as Jack Straw was saying that the Government's aim in Iraq was to establish democracy. I mean it was utterly, utterly obscene.

JH You describe it as a PR disaster, which obviously it is. Is there more to it than that, do you think?

NS I do, actually. Yes. I don't want to overstate it but I think in the current climate when we are looking at security, when we are looking at anti-terror measures, when we are looking at controversial offences like "glorifying terrorism", possibly detaining people for up to three months, maybe introducing ID cards- I think it does factor into that and make people think about the sort of mindset we're getting into in terms of security. As I say, I don't want to overstate it but I do think it plays into that and I certainly think opponents of the sort of measures that the government are looking at will highlight this sort of thing and say, "Hang on a second. Aren't we getting too authoritarian?"
So I do think actually it does go beyond a mere public relations shamble; it doe have some sort of political ramifications and perhaps more broadly you know we do need to sit down and reflect calmly about exactly what sort of society we are becoming.

ends

Google's list of Media Reaction

(Thursday 29 September 2005)



Telegraph.co.uk
Walter Wolfgang slams 'hired heavies'
Channel 4 News, UK - 2 hours ago
Walter Wolfgang, the elderly man who was strong-armed out of the Labour Party conference, has returned as a delegate. Mr Wolfgang ...
Blair apology to ejected heckler CNN International
Blair says sorry for roughing-up of Walter, 82 Daily Mail - UK
PM says sorry to OAP heckler bundled out of conference Scotsman
Telegraph.co.uk - Times Online - all 171 related 

MegaStar.co.uk
PEACE MOVEMENT'S `OUTRAGE' OVER EJECTION
Community Newswire, UK - 3 hours ago
... The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has expressed its anger over the "manhandling" of 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang from the event after he shouted ...
Waltered Down Protest Anorak.co.uk (satire)
all 3 related 
Wolfgang highlights deeper disquiet
BBC News, UK - 33 minutes ago
... The picture of veteran peace campaigner Walter Wolfgang - "Wolfie" as he is now universally known - is far more powerful, some here describing it as a ...
The ugly face of New Labour
Daily Mail - UK, UK - 1 hour ago
An 82-year-old Jewish fugitive from Nazi Germany who lost family in the Holocaust, Walter Wolfgang knows a thing or two about how freedom of speech is ...
Blair says sorry to ejected heckler
Daily Snack, UK - 13 minutes ago
... to the 82-year-old activist expelled from Labour's conference for heckling Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over the Iraq war - offering Walter Wolfgang his "full ...
Hero's return (and Wikipedia entry) for OAP heckler
Scoopt.org, Italy - 11 minutes ago
... Less than 24 hours after being bundled out of the auditorium and left shivering on Brighton promenade in a thin blue cotton suit, Walter Wolfgang was escorted ...
HECKLER, 82, GETS HERO'S WELCOME
Mirror.co.uk, UK - 18 minutes ago
... Labour veteran Walter Wolfgang, 82, was bundled out by stewards yesterday after shouting "Nonsense" as Mr Straw made a speech on the war in Iraq. ...
Blair Beaten on Private Health Investment
Newsday, NY - 3 hours ago
... Walter Wolfgang, 82, was ejected Wednesday after shouting "nonsense!" during a speech by Straw. "We are really, really sorry. It ...
What the papers say
BBC News, UK - 6 hours ago
... Daily Mail. It goes on to describe the manhandling of Walter Wolfgang as "a disgraceful display of official brutality". The Sun ...
Blair apology to ejected heckler
CBBC newsround (audio), UK - 2 hours ago
Walter Wolfgang was hustled out of the conference hall by stewards after shouting out 'Nonsense!' during Home Secretary Jack Straw's speech on Iraq.