Today the former Labour minister, Peter Hain MP, bemoaned how he and fellow Labour MPs were monitored by Special Branch during their time in Government because of their radical activities in youthful years. Well, Mr Hain, there are at least several thousand people in the UK who are blacklists maintained by the various police special units – as well as several hundred on the Government’s extremism database – most of whom simply want a more just and equal society. Indeed, Mr Hain and his fellow disgruntled MPs should perhaps regard the interest that was paid to them by Special Branch and the Special Demonstrations Squad as a badge of honour! Over the years successive Governments – including the one Mr Hain and his colleagues were part of – contributed to the criminalisation of radical thought and in doing so not only “conflated serious crime with political dissent” (to quote Hain)…

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