Mark Seddon is the Director of The People’s Pledge. He is a former editor of Tribune and member of Labour’s National Executive Committee.
The other day I was stopped by police officers as I was going through security at the House of Commons. Astonishingly they took me to one side and confiscated a handful of leaflets I was carrying that called for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. I was sat down in a room with two police officers and was quizzed as to who I was, who I was going to see and why.
Now before anyone gets too carried away at this glaring assault on civil liberties, I should say that the offending leaflets depicted the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, dressed as the TV character Vicky Pollard, best known for her studied line in indecision; “Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no....” We had used what we were calling ‘Cleggy’ Pollard to demonstrate that Nick Clegg’s Manifesto promise to hold an EU referendum didn’t amount to very much at all, and had spent the past few days touring Sheffield with an actor dressed as ‘Cleggy’ Pollard to get that message over. This image, I was informed, could cause offence – especially if I were to stick any of the posters up. When I said I was going to give them to my old friend, John Cryer MP and suggested to the Officer that he could phone him if he liked, the policeman said “How would I know that it would be John Cryer?”