In one of his diary entries in Keeping On Keeping On, Alan Bennett’s third prose collection, he writes:
2005, 29 September.
Among several things that the ejection and charging of Mr Walter Wolfgang from the Labour Party Conference demonstrates is the danger of endowing the police with any more powers than they have already. For shouting out ‘Liar’ he is charged under the Terrorism Act. The silencing of hecklers was hardly the act’s original purpose but it is just the handiest blunt instrument available. This should be remembered in the next session of Parliament, when the police are asking for yet more powers – three months’ detention for instance – which at the same time solemnly assuring the public that they will only use such powers when the occasion demands it. This is a promise soon forgotten. If they have the powers they will use them – young Muslim or Jewish old-age pension it makes no difference. ‘You’re nicked.’
Keeping On Keeping On, Profile Books, 2016, £9.99 paperback