I’m finding some of the debate over the LibDem conference attendance disappointing and not what I expected of the party.
There’s a small but significant number of people who don’t see what the fuss is about. That’s fine, but how about letting those that do care campaign on it without labelling people as hysterical or overreacting? Some of us have good reasons to be wary of the police and when statements like “your passport details… will be retained and/or passed to other police forces in the future” appear in the terms and conditions, that’s bound to set alarm bells ringing.
And secondly, should we not lead from the front? It does not do much for our argument that ID Cards were unnecessary and draconian if we are unable to protect our own conference without resorting to similarly draconian measures, particularly given that bags are already searched and, in the case of Autumn conference, X-Rayed before admission to the venue.
What has not been made clear is what happens to those that are refused? Some have said that it’s unlikely anyone will be refused. If so, why bother?
But if someone is denied entry, do they have any right of appeal? Will they even get to know the evidence against them? Even US Senators had trouble appearing on their no-fly list.
“Sorry mate, you can’t come in. You’re on our no-politics list”.
(Edited to add: For those not familiar with the issue, West Midlands Police are insisting on some quite heavy-handed vetting of attendees for “security” reasons and it looks like the Federal Conference Committee have caved in.)