Walter Wolfgang

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Walter Wolfgang (born 1923) is a German-born British socialist and peace campaigner, and a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. He is a survivor of the Kindertransport programme of the 1930s, whereby German Jewish children were evacuated to 'safe' countries'.

Wolfgang came to prominence in 2005, when, aged 82 and slight in build, he was violently dragged from the annual Labour Party conference by a number of much larger Labour Party security guards, for the 'offence' of interjecting "nonsense!" during a speech by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw; they also took away his conference pass. When Wolfgang subsequently tried to reenter the conference, he was arrested and held by police under anti-terrorist legislation. Questioned about why Mr Wolfgang had been briefly arrested under the Terrorism Act, Mr Blair said: "My understanding is that his delegate's credentials showed he had been ejected before and he had to wait while that was checked out." Shadow home secretary David Davis said civil liberties and security should not be confused.[1]

The Wolfgang case provoked a storm of outrage against the Labour Party's stifling of dissent and its misuse of police powers. The Labour Party Chairman and the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, were forced to make public apologies to Mr Wolfgang. However, the episode has not reduced the tendencey of the socialists to misuse police powers to stifle dissent, a recent example being the arrest in November 2008 of the Conservative Party spokesman on immigration, Damian Green, after Green had repeatedly embarrassed the government and minister by revealing its incompetence in controlling immigration and the lies told by ministers to the House of Commons.

Notes

  1. Hero's return for Labour heckler
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