Saturday, 1 May 2010

Brown Heckler Manhandled from Hall: Is This What They Have Done to Free Speech?

I seem to remember hearing about days when politicians addressed public meetings in town halls and market squares and members of the audience heckled them. Going to a political meeting, especially at election time wasn’t like going to a concert of the Scottish National Orchestra where you sat still and clapped at the end. It was an interactive deal... the politicians and the public alike expected it.

I guess it was the 'ordinary' man’s opportunity to show his approval or disgust in front of his MP, whom he probably had little other opportunity to speak to during the parliament.

So it worried me a little, or maybe even a lot, when I read today that a heckler at Mr Brown’s campaign was dragged from the audience and taken away by the police.

The incident occurred when Brown was making a speech in Sunderland. A member of the audience which largely comprised Labour Party members, shouted out (not unreasonably) “What about that bigoted woman?”

OK, you may say that the prime minister apologized for that. We’ve all done that kind of thing. It is now over and done with. But it’s not really.

He has been telling us he was going up and down the country listening to people, and we caught him out. He’s not listening at all, unless it’s what he wants to hear. Anyone who has tried to get their concerns over to him is worse than ignored; they are denigrated by him behind their backs. So please note constituents of Gordon Brown. When you go along to the surgery and tell him your problems, he calls you names the minute you go out the door.

But I digress. The heckler said: “It’s been such a controlled campaign. Mr Brown needs to see real electors, not just hand-picked people.”

He’s right. Everything in Brown’s programme has been stage managed; photo opportunities, meetings with hand-picked members, and the first time he meets an ordinary person... and not a Tory or a nationalist, not a Liberal or a Ukipper, but a lifelong Labour supporter, they whole thing goes pear shaped.

So, we are not going to just forget it happened.

The guy had every right to heckle Brown about it. The fact that it is not a huge issue in Scotland doesn’t take away from the fact that in some English towns immigration is a problem. He needs to address that fact.

The worrying thing is that the man who said this.... not in a rude or threatening way was dragged from the room by Labour activists.... Why? Were they worried Brown would lose it completely and bury Labour for 2 generations?

Not too long ago an elderly Labour supporter was dragged from the room at the Labour Party conference when Jack Straw was making a speech because he called Jack the Lad a liar. Lord knows it’s one of the mildest things you could say about Straw. He should have been thanking the old man.

What kind of place has the UK become when you are dragged from the room for criticizing a cabinet minister? Not one I feel safe in. The sooner we are no part of it the better I’ll like it.


  1. There's aye been that streak in the Labour party, it brooks little discussion, comrades bound tae the mast. It wis the same wi the unions. Things were awfy strict an' ye werenae popular if ye voiced ony dissent, or stepped oot o' line. Kennin' an' speakin' the Party line gied ye entry tae respectable society. See the fuss there wis when ah sent ma man oot tae his work yin mornin' wi' a flask o' coffee instaed o' tea? Ah wis pit oan the cloakroom fer the union's bairn's Christmas pairty three years runnin'. Thae were hard-faced thae Labour wifes, ah dinnae suppose much has changed. Sarah Broon's nice, but ye widnae turn yer back oan her, or gie her yer stall at the steanie, she widnae return the favour.

  2. An dinnae get me startit oan Jack Straw, the whinin' sleekit, duplicitous wee toad (honest ah wis gaun tae sweer but ah couldnae)

    Oh! He gets me mair wound up than any o' them, fer his excusin' o' them. Judas.

  3. They sound a truly dreadful bunch of bounders Sophia.

    You must have had a terrible time. You all sophisticated with your coffee and all. I bet you gave him away a slice of Swiss Roll from time to time as a treat. It would be seen as you getting above your station in life.

    Aye Jack Straw really makes me want to vomit. If ever there was a poacher turned gamekeeper he's the one. More like poacher turned Laird actually!

  4. Meeting the people was just “new-speak”, he didn’t mean it. As you saw when he met that woman and called her a bigot.

  5. Trouble is that it's all like that, and Gordon isn't the only one doing it.

    Still nice to see Jack in the pokey huh? They should have grabbed him and thrown him into a cell, brutalised him a bit and seen if he would complain against their Ministry of Unjustness.

  6. That advisor-Sue?-probably thought; "Middle aged woman, Labour councillor for thirty years, he canny fuck that up...

  7. I can see why she might think that. After all for goodness sake, with all respect to the lady (she doesn't like being called a woman apparently), she's not a towering intellect.

    But just shows you how even Sue, who has been with him a long tme, can overestimate him... or underestimate his powers for being at home to Mr Cock-up.

  8. God Dean, they did, and he looks like a walking ghost, a tanned one mind, you don't earnall that money without getting a tan.

    It did occur to me that at least Tony's tan was a 'brown' tan, rather than the orange one that the Welsh Secretary has. The sun in the middle east must be different from the sun in Wales... well duh Tris!

  9. Dr Liam Fox told me yesterday "defeat for Labour is not sufficent, we must grind them into the dirt" HERE HERE HERE! After what they have done to our civil liberties, to our national debt, to our economy, to our constitution!

    cut labour out!!!!!

  10. Dean. I think it is always a bad idea to wipe out the opposition. Good opposition is important, if not at least some opposition is better than none. We can't agree with that in Scotland and disagree with it for London.

    As for Fox, frankly Dean, I spit on him. He is a horrible old bigot.