24 OCTOBER 1958, Page 6

A Spectator's Notebook THE ROW OVER the Blackpool affair has

been befogged by side-issues. The right to heckle, for instance, seems to me to have nothing to do with it. The League of Empire Loyalists do not heckle. Presumably because they are incapable of fol- lowing an argument, their interruptions bear no relation to what the speaker is saying but take the form of blowing a hunting horn or shouting some meaningless slogan which has been learned by heart beforehand. The question whether they had any right to be at the meeting or were merely trespassers seems to me equally irrelevant. Quite plainly they had no right to be there but that in no way excuses the violence they were subjected to. Part of the trouble, I think, is due to the fact that the meeting at which the leader of the Con- servative Party makes a speech after the Con- ference proper has finished is no longer a political meeting. It has become more like a religious cere- mony when the god is shown to the people, and obviously to make noises and interrupt the cere- mony is a form of sacrilege, which the faithful • will not tolerate.

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